I was talking to my sister the other day about one of her five little children (5 under the age of 8) she was talking about her middle child, Jami, who is four-years-old. She was expressing frustration about how strong-willed and independent he is & how hard it is to handle him. She was at her wits end trying to figure out how to keep him from just leaving the house and going to the neighbors to play, not listening & just doing whatever he wants. We began talking through ideas and solutions that will help guide his independent, little personality.
Our conclusion—each child is different, you can’t teach them the exact same way, you can’t reward or give the same incentives, you can’t compare children, each child has their own unique strengths and challenges, so as a parent, you have to figure out what is the best fit for each individual child.
So what are some tips to help lead and guide you through parenthood…
TRUST YOU GUT: You have personal guiding values that help guide and direct you as a parent. You have good and bad feelings about certain friends your child spends time with, the television shows they like to watch, the clothes they wear, the games they play, their attitude, their influences, etc. …
Let me share a story with you that illustrates following the motherly instinct—even if your child is a teenager & doesn’t think they need your guiding protection. When I was sixteen or seventeen I was working as a demo girl at a local store. I had a man approach me & suggest that I would be a great fit for a shoe model because my feet were so small. He explained the position further, gave me his card & invited me to call him to set up an interview. I was young, flattered & thought the money would be great. That same week I called, set-up an interview & was scheduled to meet at a local parking lot (closer to my home) & then I was to follow him to the interview spot. My mom had some strong feelings & was not about to let her teenage daughter go alone. I was the typical teen, didn’t need my “mommy” to go with me, I could drive myself…My mom was not about to let me go alone. I fought her the whole way, but she did not feel good about it, so she drove me to the parking lot. It was early in the morning & the stores were not even open. No one was around. I got out of our family van & began to walk around the parking lot, looking for the man I was suppose to meet. A plain van with no windows began to slowly leave the back of the lot & was coming toward me. My mom saw the van nearing & stepped out of our family van. THe van saw her & accelerated and left the parking lot. I don’t know what could have happened, but I do know I did not have a good feeling about it & was glad my mom had the feelings she did. Trust your gut!! Moms are given guidance and gifts to help protect their children in everything they do. As a mother, have faith in knowing you are here to teach, guide, love and protect your child.
DONT LISTEN TO THE CRITIC INSIDE: Sometimes as Moms it is easy to begin to question or have self-doubts on the type of mothers we are. There may be Miss Molly next door who can do 27 types of girls hairdo’s, is president of the PTA, sings, plays the harp, is able to do a yoga handstand in her sleep & her children all look perfect every sunday in church. BUT, that is not who YOUR child needs. Your child needs the gifts and guidance that YOU can give them. Remember: You & your child will both learn from one another–you are gifts to one anothers life. Try to focus on that, see what you can learn, stretch yourself as a parent to seek the deeper needs of your children.
My daughter reminds me of different things all the time. I truly enjoy watching her say hello and hold doors open to everyone she encounters. She shines brightly & it is a constant reminder to do the same. I am sure over the years she watched me say hello to strangers & now I just let her say hello, but it does remind me that I too need to continue to smile, say hello & strive for connection with everyone I come in contact. Thanks KAte!
DO YOUR BEST: When all else fails just remember…You are trying to do your best! Motherhood doesn’t come with a manual. Each child is different. The challenges will change, so just continue on moment by moment & remember, you are trying to do the best you can.
BE IN THE MOMENT: Slow down, snuggle, hug, talk, look into your child’s eyes and share highlights from the day, things you need to teach and talk about, lessons learned, needs that need to be met….anything. Connecting with your child in the moment is a great start. The other day I asked my daughter Kate how she thought I showed her my love…we began a small list back and forth…hugs, drawing infiniti signs in the air, blowing special kisses, handshakes, special nighttime back scratches, nick names, snuggling & watching favorite shows…can you guess what Kate’s love language is?? smile. smile.
LOVE LANGUAGES: Every child is different & they come with special LOVE LANGUAGES that help parents know what each individual child needs. Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Ross Campbell created some great tools to help parents discover their child’s love language, so here are some great links to help you a little more in guiding and directing your children.
Here is a great link to the Love Languages for Children: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/resource/the-five-love-languages-of-children/
Link to the children’s Love Language Mystery test: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/children/
Well, that is all for now. I hope you have an amazing day!! Lots of LOVE to you and your children!! -Heather