Sunday, February 8, 2009

Conflict / Relationship / Learning

  • Just because your child doesn't want to do what you want them to do does not make them stubborn or headstrong or anything. Maybe they just don't like your idea. It was your idea after all and we all like our own ideas.
  • There are so many limits put on us by ideas about gender and age that are cultural. It is OK for kids to do things that are not within those limits. I think of a small boy loving the color pink...
  • It's not what we say it's what we do that matters - clarification - it matters what we say, but not if what we do contradicts what we say.
  • Generosity, patience, empathy, and altruism are learned from experiencing/receiving those things, not from instruction. Instruction has the opposite effect.
  • Each child comes to this world with their own temperament, psychology, spirit - whatever you want to call it. It is our job to celebrate, embrace, and guide them, rather than try to form or alter them. Whenever I catch myself thinking "they need to learn to..." i try to rewind and start over. If they need to, they will. In their own time.
  • Children and relationships are resilient, and reparable, but the more broken the relationship, the more must be poured into it, for longer, to reclaim what's been lost. And it must be poured in almost exclusively by the adult/parent.
  • There is never a useful role for criticism in loving relationships.
  • It is always useful to presume of our children the best possible intentions and respond from that presumption to any given situation.
  • Preserving dignity is a worthwhile goal toward preserving connection. There is never a need to point out when a child is wrong. They know already.
  • Kids WANT things, it doesn't mean parents have to give children everything they want, but it's still OK for them to ask. Many times just listening to a child's desire (and the feelings about not getting all they desire) is all that's needed.
  • Children want to please adults - they are naturally sweet and cooperative, and when they are not, there is usually an unmet need or hurt somewhere that needs to be addressed.
  • Be more authentic - it's OK that things are a bit messy and chaotic, and that I sometimes "lose it" with my kids. It's OK to cry in front of my kids.
  • When children act the least lovable is precisely when they need love the most.
  • Kids are quick to forgive and understand when parents make mistakes or didn't know better, and they truly appreciate apologies.
  • It's important to presume positive intent, children (and parents) are always doing the best they can.
  • When you feel like you want to push something, it's a good idea to step back and ask yourself if it really matters and if it's going to further your parenting goals or bring you farther way.
  • Grades, behavior, manners, messes, eating habits, TV habits...all of these will not affect the kind of people your kids grow up to be.
  • Hugs, cuddles, kisses, kind words, declarations of love, questions about what they really want and think...all of these will affect the kind of people your kids grow up to be
  • It is really, really, hard to separate my child's needs from my own. But really important.

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