25 Feb Love Month Blog Series Week 3-Loving Your Kids
I recently came across a post on social media that reminded me of how many changes and challenges our kids have had to face this past year and how we haven’t given them enough credit. Especially when we as parents are feeling stressed or overwhelmed it can be difficult to be present enough to really see them and understand them through their behaviours. That’s why now more than ever, it is important to show up for our kids. While boundaries and discipline are important for our kids, they are just part of strong, healthy attachment which is why you won’t find much about discipline and boundaries in this post.
- Know yourself – To really be present with our kids and to understand things from their perspective, we must first know ourself well enough to know when our own thoughts, feelings and memories prevent us from being present. This awareness is the necessary first step to being present with our kids and responding in ways that communicate love. Once we are aware of our own internal experiences, we can take steps to turn down our own noise a little bit and be more present with our kids.
- Know your kids – This is a lifelong journey! First, we must have some understanding about their development so we can adjust our expectations accordingly. Sometimes I catch myself expecting even more of my kids than what I would expect of myself! Next, understanding how their brains develop helps us understand their behaviour. Sometimes, they simply aren’t able to do what we are asking of them and we may need to step in and help them by lending them a part of our brain to help them calm their own emotional storm. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses helps us to be appreciate them and encourage them. Because we want the best for our kids, we can very easily criticize and correct them. Reflecting on the things we enjoy about our children can help to change our perspective of them. Speaking these things out loud and acknowledging them to our children communicates love, and strengthens our relationship with them.
- Show interest in them – I find this one is especially helpful in the teen years. As parents, we won’t always agree with the hobbies, choices of music, friends or latest styles as our teens, and so we make clear our disapproval or disgust. But, seeing these things as meaningful to them, it is worthwhile showing interest rather than disgust. We can learn much more about them if they are willing to share their interests and choices with us, but we have to first demonstrate we care to know. It helps to build mutual trust and respect if we listen with out judging. When they feel loved, cared for, and trusted, they will be comfortable sharing with us their feelings and their struggles.