HEALTHY PARENTING BLOG
I was deeply touched when I listened to the memories the dad shared of time spent with his only son the past three years, before he tragically drowned. What stood out to me, was his words: “I know he was really happy!” We made such a lot of memories together. Fishing, going on hunting trips and so much more. There is a lot of photographs that we took as part of the fun! I do not know how I am going to cope with this loss, but I am so glad that I really know my child was extremely happy when he died.”
It made me think deeply about the unpredictability of life. How we cannot afford to create unhappy memories and live with that. How we need to repair relationships as far as we can. Not damaging children’s unique spirits for any reason. There may be a time when it is too late.
A child begged her mom to schedule a session with me, after the mom and dad had very destructive conflict in her presence. She was highly anxious and told her mom that she would pay for the session with her pocket money. She had to share her pain somewhere and knew the therapy room would be a safe place to do so.
What can parents do to make their children feel loved?
Here are five tips:
1. Do not cruch your child’s spirit with rude words, such as comparing one child to the other, having a favourite child or making use of degrading humour to prove a pont. Whenever you loose your temper, go back and repair the relationship.
2. Spend special one-on-one time with each of your children every week. Make sure you know your child’s love language and engage in your child’s world. Let your child choose the activity he/she wants to do with you. Make an effort to learn more about your child’s special interest. Build memories with funfilled activities.
3. Make the family environment a safe space for your children. Safe to express any emotion, positive and negative without being punished. Home needs to be a place without constant negative vibes. It needs to be a place where children do not have to fight for their parent’s attention. Be available for your children to share with you what’s living in their hearts – their questions, anxieties and dreams. Know your child and nurture your child’s soul.
4. Never put your child in the caregiver’s position. Children need to have parents, not to be a parent’s parent. Do not put adult stress on children’s shoulders or expose your children to conversations that belong in the spouses’ subsystem. Children need to know that there needs will be met. That include physical, social, spiritual and emotional needs. If a child is nagging constantly, it might mean that he/she has an unfulfilled need. Try to get to the real reason why your child is unhappy/unfulfilled. If necessary, take your child to a child therapist to determine the root of the unhappiness.
5. There is no “one size fits all” style with reference to raising children. Make an effort to understand and adapt to your child’s unique temperament. Children feel loved when there are consistent boundaries. They feel loved when they know where their limits are. They need to know what would be the consequence if they move beyond the limits. Limits need to be fair.
Blessings for you on the parenting journey.