I had a light bulb moment while baby-sitting last week. It is nothing revolutionary but definitely something worth remembering. If you experience that crazy moment when the kids seem to be demanding your attention all at the same time and it is confusing just trying to figure out exactly what they want, especially if they are still learning to talk, just take a moment to breathe and flash back to a time when you were a child yourself. Relive your childhood moment and treat your child the way you wanted to be treated when you were a child yourself.
Take a look back on how you were raised. Look back at how your mum and dad showed, or didn’t show, their love for you. How they disciplined you, encouraged you, criticized you, and moulded you. If you had great parents and a great childhood, now is your chance to take everything you enjoyed and learned and put it in practice.
If you didn’t have a good childhood you can still use this as the ultimate golden opportunity to make up for every parenting injustice you suffered by being to your child a much better and more sensitive, involved and loving mother or father than your parents were to you. Make a positive statement that says to the world, “This is what being a good mum/dad looks like.” Show your child the love, patience, understanding, and affection that makes up for what you wished for as a child and did not get.
Make it your goal to give your kid so much love and praise that it gives him a high-self-esteem problem. Remember that your attention is what children crave the most. They don’t care what kind of job you have, how much you make, or what kind of degree you have. What they want most is your time. They want to be with you. They want your attention, your ear, your opinion, your focus -- they just want to be around you as much as possible. This is not to say that you should be over-protective or suffocate them. Allow them to express their individuality.
Every minute you spend with your children rubs off on them. Every story, every moral, every hug, every kiss, every time you discipline them, every time you wipe away their tears and even every time they see you show compassion to someone less fortunate. Your kindness, your wisdom, your examples, your passions will all leave an impression.
Remember, you’re moulding a life here and a very impressionable little mind. Always remember that you are your child’s nearest and strongest role model. You are their super hero. Show them how it’s supposed to be done; as your child grows older, you’ll be amazed at how you wind up having so much in common. At the very least, the open communication lines you build will make it that much easier to deal with when your child begins to turn into the “alien creatures” we call teenagers. Remember them?