As parents, our most valuable assets are our children, and yet, so often out of our own needs and desires, we forget they are their own unique people. Out of good intentions and sometimes our own unresolved issues, we can become controlling or coercive, robbing our children of the freedoms they need for their own growth.
Parenting requires that we find the balance between loving our children, disciplining them and allowing them the necessary confusion and suffering essential for their self-discovery.
All children have some very basic needs, which when given in the correct balance, help them to develop the resiliency required for a strong sense of Self.
Some of this includes:
Every child needs love. All children deserve love. We can give our children too many “things” and we can award them “pleasures” they do not deserve, but these pleasures only serve to make them feel empty if they were not rightfully earned.
When we love with “things”, we raise entitled kids who have low capacities to experience lasting joy.
What we can never give too much of, to our children is our love. Love is simple, it is nonmaterial and is the feeling we give our children of complete acceptance. We love them because love is what they deserve.
Raising children is scary and as parents, we can get so caught up in fear we forget to have faith. Our belief in our children determines their belief in themselves. When our children feel dominated by our fears about every new little thing they want to do, explore or experience, our fears covertly communicate that we do not believe in them. This covert message undermines our children causing them to either not believe in themselves or to rebel against the controlling nature of our fears. We must have faith in our children and give them the hope they need to struggle, discover and succeed.
When our children feel we are confident in them, they are naturally more confident in themselves. When we behave contentiously towards them, showing a lack of trust in their character or ability to make wise decisions we go against them, putting us on different teams.
We have to accept, as parents, that our children are different and unique people from us.
We need to allow them the space to be different and to trust we have raised them well enough for them to make mistakes, recover and do better next time. If we respond contentiously towards their mistakes or decisions we slowly crush their own drives for self-improvement.
Parenting is challenging because we have an idea of what we think is best for our children and we can overpressure them to be the image we hold of them. However, our children need our patience, not our pressure. They need us to give them a little hope to come along at their own pace.
Each child’s development is on its own unique course. If they are not up to pace in every area of life, adding pressure and control only defeats them. Patience communicates what we believe, that in time and with enough practice, they will find their way. If we over pressure them, we kill their spirits and perhaps even their motivation.
We do not want to raise children who only feel loved if they are performing. They aren’t monkeys.
Touch is one of the most important and grounding aspects of a relationship. Touch cues our hormones for bonding, love and a sense of security and has shown to have an immediate impact on reducing stress levels. Our children are going to go through the same hell as any other human being.
When we see them struggling, it is not helpful for us to heap our own anxieties about their struggle onto them. We need to offer affection and support, letting them know that “this too shall pass.” A little affection is that spoon full of sugar that helps the pain go down.
Talk to your children, love, and snuggle them; do not shout at them.
To be continued next week Saturday…
What do you think Children need from their parents? Do share in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to this blog to not miss a post.