We love them.
We love them when they are cute and cuddly and saying the most hilarious things. We love them when their clothes are clean and faces are snot-free and they aren’t screaming at us to wipe their bums. But love isn’t the first emotion we feel when they’re on the grocery store floor having the tantrum of the century.
And that’s just the way it is. We bring these amazing beings into the world and then we have to figure out how to guide them through the good, the bad and the ugly.
And we all know the ugly.
Right now my neighbors are in the home-stretch of the pregnancy with their first-child. Watching them brings me back to the memory of what it was like to become a parent.
Scary and exciting, knowing I was in over my head but not really understanding in what way.
And of course, there is no way I could understand how in over my head I was until my son was born and I realized it was simply that my whole being had been transformed by the responsibility of having brought into the world a being I loved more than life itself, and it was now that way forever.
And it’s been hard being a parent. But good hard.
Thank god, babies and children are cute, I always say. It sure helps us get through those sleepless nights. And thank god we are biologically wired to keep our children safe, because man they can be annoying…kids, I mean, and babies and tweens and teenagers, now that I think of it.
But children aren’t the only ones who can be annoying.
Parents can be pretty annoying, too. Just ask any kid. Or just think about your own parents.
One of my personal parenting goals is to be less “annoying.”
I don’t mean by stopping singing loudly off tune with the radio when we’re driving, or dancing crazy around the house during breakfast or wearing “weird” clothes when we go out (can you tell I have a 12 year old?) but by not always saying no to them, and telling them they can’t do things they want to do, and enforcing things that really don’t need to be enforced. Those are the annoying things I am trying to avoid.
I guess you could call my parenting goal an effort to be reasonable. An attempt to create a living environment for my children that isn’t about struggle but instead feels easy. Easy for my children to get their needs met which turns out to also be easier for me.
Over the years of working with children and their parents, and my children and myself as a parent, I have come up with a few one-liners to help us through this life-time journey of being tied to these little and not-so-little beings.
Below I share 10 of them with you.
Just to note, I have been told by more than one parent that number one has helped them tremendously.
10. The child’s job is to push the boundaries—the parent’s job is to set them.
9. Think before you say no, and say yes if you can say yes.
8. Know your values and discipline them every time—let everything else go.
7. Praise/Criticize the behavior not the child
6. All behaviors are based on a need.
5. All feelings are valid.
4. What made sense at two years old might not make sense at three years old—keep up with your child’s developmental needs.
3. If you don’t take care of yourself you won’t be able to take care of your child.
2. Your child learns from who you are not what you say.
1. Don’t be an asshole.
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Editor: Travis May
Photo: Nadia Romanova/Pixoto