Being a parent has to be one of the most difficult jobs I have ever had to do. It also is the most rewarding job I have ever had. As a mother, I naturally want the best for my children. I want them to succeed in everything they do. I want to protect them from the pain of the world, the hurt they will have to go through, and give them everything I have. I find myself wanting to be this overbearing protective “Mama Bear”. Yet I know, if I don’t let them fall now and then, or allow them to fail at certain things, I will not be giving them the life lessons they will need as adults.
I can’t say I am always good at it, this challenging career known as parenting. In fact, most nights, I look back at how I handled things and think about all the ways I failed that day. My oldest daughter once told me when she was the wise old age of 8yrs old, “It’s okay momma, you have never had to be a mommy to an 8 year old girl before, you will get it right with sister!” GEEZ!!! Out of the mouths of babes!
I think we as parents would be fooling ourselves if we thought we get it right every time. There are going to be times where you loose your temper, you yell, you cry, you feel like pulling your hair out. It is a HUGE responsibility to raise a child, and you are going to make mistakes. If you set yourself up to be the perfect parent, you are setting yourself up for disaster! There is no such thing as a perfect parent. If you remember anything remember that!
The only examples we have of parenting is our own parents. Sometimes that is a great thing and sometimes that is an awful thing! One day you are going to say something to your child that is going to sound exactly like your own mom and dad, and it will probably scare the living daylights out of you! It is inevitable, we live our lives out of examples. The great news is, this is your chance to change things. This is your kid, you get to parent your way. The wonderful thing about this however, is that you will grow with your child, you will learn as they learn, and just when you figured out how to take care of one stage of “Parenting” the next one will start. At least we start out with babies and not teenagers!!
What do kids need and desire?
- Kids need parents who believe parenting is valuable, noble and honorable. You won’t put time and effort into this “project” unless it is viewed as important
- Kids need your “Presence” with a “C” not your “presents” with a “T”. You can’ t buy love. It has been shown that children who are hostile, angry and show rage all have perceived inaccessibility of one or both parents. There is no such things as quality time without quantity time!!! Turn the phone off, use eye contact and validate what is being communicated. Spend individual time with your child.
- Good kids have good memories. Start early! Make up traditions, capture memories in pictures, prioritize vacations, create adventures. Most importantly, write your child letters! They love to hear from their parents.
- Become a role model. Parents, you are being watched, your lives are being bugged, and your kids want to steal your identity. Kids need parental role models, but they also need outside role models. Be their parent, not their friend! Your job is to be their example, not their buddy!
- Discipline, Boundaries, and Guidance. It has been said that discipline is the greatest form of love. It isn’t always fun to do, and will often be very difficult to carry through; but it is the best thing you will ever do for your children. Avoid extremes, and never discipline in anger. If you are too angry then walk away, calm down, and try again. Children do not benefit from either a lack of discipline or harsh punishment. Children need structure and routine, whether they want to admit it or not. Kids will act out if there is no stability in their daily lives, after all negative attention is better then no attention at all.
- Encouragement/cheerleader. Praise is very important! Who better to be their cheerleader, then the one who helped create them. Encourage more then discourage, in fact encourage beyond performance!
It is a medical fact that the brain processes physical and emotional pain the same way!!! Watch what you say! Modifiers and nicknames, either positive or negative will effect how they live! Studies show that children often live up to their nicknames, both good and bad! Be careful what you call your children. What you think is “cute”, in their mind may be viewed as an expectation.
So what do we want our children to have? I call them the 5 C’s of parenthood:
CONFIDENCE= Self esteem
CHARACTER=Moral Compass, Integrity
CONVICTION=Belief System, wrong vs.right, good vs. evil
COMPETENCE=Making a difference
I challenge you as parents to take some time together and jot down the above 5 words. Write up ways in which you can instill these 5 qualities in your children. It is time to begin with the end in mind. After this exercise, it might be fun to take the new parent questionnaire. Each of you can fill it out separately, and then exchange copies to see how each other did. If anything it will open up some good conversation for you two to discuss on how to raise your child in a home that is best suited for everyone.
You may not agree on everything as a couple, just remember to have realistic expectations for you and your children. I can’t stress enough the importance of coming to some resolution and at times simply agreeing to disagree. It may be helpful to take a “time out” if need be, but commit to discuss the issue until both parents are comfortable with the outcome. Some very helpful advice given to me was to keep the extended family out of it. This is your child, your choices. Most important, remember to cut each other some slack! Parenting is new to both of you. Maybe the 6th “C” should be communication. Relax and have fun with it, and enjoy the process.
Referenced teaching materials by: Kim Green,RN, ICCE
To see a video of Danielle explaining the 5 C’s of parenting visit the following link:Parenting Tips: What Kids Need
Copyright© 2012 Danielle Gauss,IBCLC,ICCE/ JustBreastFeeding.com. All Rights Reserved