Any time a new movement hits the Internet, conversation inevitably erupts about the soundness of said advice. When the #banbossy campaign hit Facebook, I saw chatter on both sides of the argument, but what I saw most of all was a disconnect about what, exactly, our boys AND our girls need from their parents.
While my motto is “Parenting: You’re doing it,” there are 5 things children need from their parents, regardless as to sex or orientation. In fact, this is basically just a list of how to be a good human, and who doesn’t want to raise a few good humans, you know?
5 Things Children Need From Parents
I’m tired of hearing the phrase “if you want my respect you have to earn it.” That might work in the business world, but how is that supposed to apply to children?
How can children give respect if they don’t know what that is in order to give it in the first place? The answer is they can’t. But they can be taught respect by having it modeled for them. Let them see you respect other people, and then show that same respect to them.
Respect their boundaries. Respect their bodies. Respect their minds and hearts.
Will they always get things their way? Not at all, but that’s not really what respect is anyway, and deep down, you probably know that.
Trust is a gift. The nature of gifts is that they are given freely. Giving some children an inch means they’ll take a mile, squandering the gift of your trust along the way.
Give them the inch anyway.
Give them your trust and let them know that it’s theirs to lose. They might just surprise you.
I saw a comment last week that said that discipline and punishment should be painful in order to work and recoiled. The root of discipline is disciple, someone who follows a mentor.
Mentors teach. Parents teach.
Teaching moments abound in parenting, and those moments often come with consequences. But those consequences need to be logical in order to be effective, and effective doesn’t have to mean physically painful.
In other words, the punishment needs to fit the crime.
Learning shouldn’t be painful. Teaching lessons shouldn’t be painful.
Will the child’s heart break sometimes through discipline? Sure. But the goal should never be to break the child’s spirit.
They aren’t wild animals. You don’t have to break them to teach them.
One of the difficult parts of parenting for me has been sitting on the sidelines with Joshua. I so desperately want him to stretch his proverbial wings a little bit and fly because I know he’ll soar. I know he’ll love whatever it is he says he can’t do, but what I want him to know more than anything is that there’s nothing he can’t TRY to do.
I spend a lot of that time on the sidelines waiting, knowing that eventually he’ll give whatever it is a shot and that he’ll probably like it. Sometimes I’m right.
Encourage your children to try, to learn. Tell them that there are things worth doing even when they’re scared, but don’t force them. (Remember respect?)
Sometimes a gentle nudge is all it takes to get them to try something new.
Kids need love. And not just any love. They need unconditional love.
They need to know that there is nothing they can ever do to lose their parents’ love. Ever. Full stop.
Love is a basic foundation of human connection. When children feel loved they learn how to show love. Teach them to love others by loving them more than life itself.
Love never fails.