Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Sign of Great Parenting

As a young parent, I was consumed with what my children did.  Certainly some of the concern was centered around their health and safety, but much of it was centered on my need for their compliance.  A wise mentor, observing my parenting style, casually commented "You know, when they are little, we can make them do things because we are bigger and more powerful.  But as they get bigger and faster, we really can't make them do anything.  Some parents try to use baits and guilt, but in the end, we have to rely on our ability to influence them and not to control them.  That's why it's the relationship we build that truly matters."

Her wisdom deeply influenced my parenting philosophy.  Am I expressing care by my action?  "Oh, that sounds rough!  I am in the middle of cooking dinner but I can listen if you want to tell me more about it?  Am I expressing my confidence in them?  "Go ahead, climb!  I am right here!"  Am I expressing how much I value their independent thinking?  "Huh...I didn't see it that way, but explain that to me again..."

Let's not worry about what others think but wrap our hearts around the connection between us and our children.  No matter how old they are, they will always need to feel safe enough to dock back home.  No matter how successful they are, they may still need to rely on our influence.  "May" being the key let's stay connected, just in case.

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