How to raise happy, well adjusted kids – or so I hope.
Through interactions with my children, I’ve learned something about myself… I really do need to become more pleasant. I’m always asking them to modify their tone when they speak to each other, but I now realize they get it from me. I set the tone.
In trying to fulfill the duties of training, teaching, and molding character, social graces, work ethic etc. etc., its easy to sound as though I don’t approve of anything they do. Left unchecked, this would be the greatest mistake. Its no fun growing up thinking that the people who are supposed to love us unconditionally, think that we are just not good enough.
So today and every day, here are my marching orders.
- Answer their questions without my characteristic ” I can’t believe you didn’t figure that out” and my patented ” what I’m telling you is obviously the only viable option” tones. Who knows how much longer they’ll even bother to consult me. So use the opportunity for good and get off the high horse.
- Don’t criticize. Offer what may be, in my humble opinion, a better option or… just be quiet… sometimes…. (that last part is really hard for me).
- Don’t cast blame. Identify a problem without making it their personal flaw. Focus on the solution and improvement not the shortcoming.
- Stop complaining already. Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen? Really? Am I kidding myself? Everyone has baggage. Mine is no heavier, just different.
- Have no prejudice towards anyone. I really do need to walk a mile in their shoes and be open to how they might feel. This doesn’t mean accept any and all behaviors. It just means that if corrections need to be made, do it without passing judgement and condemnation.
- Give respect to everyone even if they don’t reciprocate. That’s my baseline, I don’t need to conform to someone else’s. Our children need OUR respect. How else will they learn to respect themselves?
- Actually listen until the end of their statement. Yes, they can and do teach me stuff I didn’t already know. Note to self : modify the “shoot first and ask questions later” policy. (I’ve already laid down the law. I don’t need to hammer them into the ground with it.)
- Smile – a whole lot more.
- Hug at least once a day.
- Say I love you. Say I’m proud of you. Say it everyday.
Okay, I’ve thought about. Now the important part – Just do it.