Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Road To Becoming A Fantastic Parent

I was recently cleaning out a couple of drawers upstairs when I ran across an old issue of Parents magazine. It was an issue from December 2008. Wondering why I had chose to save it, I began flipping through the pages when I discovered and article entitled "Let Your Child Soar - and 49 other ways to be a fantastic parent." I began reading through it and decided that I would periodically share parts of the article on my blog and then add a bit of commentary of my own.
So check back from time to time if you are wondering about how you can become a fantastic parent - as if you aren't already.

*Don't clip your child's wings.
"Your toddler's mission in life is to gain independence. So when she's developmentally capable of putting her toys away, clearing her plate from the table, and dressing herself, let her. Giving a child responsibility is good for her self-esteem (and your sanity!)"

Me: Oh if this isn't the truth. I have found on my own journey of parenting that I was so good at letting Mattea have an enormous amount of freedom when it was just Mattea. Now that I have two, I have noticed that I'm constantly on a tight schedule. When we need to get out of the house by 0900AM to get Mattea to school, I don't have time to be waiting for Paloma to figure out how to get her Tinker Bell underpants on right. I wind up doing it for her. And then I take a step back and ask Dave, why can't our 2.5 year old get dressed by herself? His response, "she can, we just don't let her." Aaaah. I am consciously making an effort to back off, slow down, and let Paloma gain that all important freedom that was granted to Mattea.

*Gossip about your kids
"Fact: What we overhear is far more potent than what we are told directly. Make praise more effectively by letting your child 'catch' you whispering a compliment about him to Grandma, Dad, or even his teddy."

Me: This is so true. And I've found out the hard way. When Dave comes home at night, I immediately begin giving him the rundown on the day's events - good and bad. Many times I've caught Mattea looking at me while I tell her father about the latest tantrum, food fight, or poop accident. I immediately can see how her face turns sad when she realizes I'm focusing on telling her all important daddy - the one she admires and adores - her faults for the day. So I've definitely tried to reverse that and offer praise and encouragement. I try and save the conversations about the 'bad behavior' until the kids are out of earshot. I highly encourage trying this tactic. It works great.

*Savor the moments.
"Yes, parenthood is the most exhausting job on the planet. yes, your house is a mess, the laundry's piled up, and the dog needs to be walked. But your kid just laughed. Enjoy it now - it will be over far too fast."

Me: Amen to that. Not much to add except that I myself need to slow down, breathe, relax, and realize that whether or not my car is cleaned, my toilet is scrubbed, or my lawn is mowed, I will never get back the precious time with my children. And so if they are asking me to play 'baby dolls' I better drop my broom, close the dishwasher and pull out a diaper bag.

Here is just a sampling of ideas listed from the article published by Barrie Gillies. I can't wait for the next edition. Also, if you'd like to include thoughts, ideas, or criticisms on these particular posts, please feel free.

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