To be a parent, live in the now
Published 2:08 pm Monday, April 14, 2014
Ask the Expert
Do you want to feel a connection to your children? Start by being confident in your parenting.
Children first need to feel safe and trust that their parents are capable of taking care of them. If you know you lack parenting skills or have unresolved childhood issues, seek out counseling. Your children are not here to be your friends and confidants. They are not your support system. Your children want to love you. It’s a fact.
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Respect is the foundation of all healthy relationships. Respect your children by expecting them to do as you say. Follow through with consequences. Don’t bribe your children to get them to behave. It is disrespectful to them. When you bribe your children to behave, you are saying you don’t believe they are capable. They will demand more. You likely will become frustrated and feel they are ungrateful. But you are the adult, and it all begins with you.
There are many ways to be a parent. Being real and in the moment counts for a lot. If you think reading to them is a good idea, try it. If you find this is not something you enjoy, stop doing it. Children have radar, and they won’t enjoy it if you don’t. Maybe you would prefer to sing or dance or build something. It’s all good if you are enjoying the activity with your child. Comment on their efforts, encourage them, tell them about how you were when you were their age.
Make time for your child every day. That doesn’t mean you need an hour for each child. Fifteen minutes of complete attention to them is often all they want. This means you are not doing something else. It means eye contact, smiling and interacting with them. Make sure the activity is something they also enjoy. Talk to your children about what is going on in the world. Ask them their opinions. Share how you formed opinions you have. Teach your children to be kind. Teach them to be open-minded. Be careful about supporting blaming behaviors. Help them to problem solve. Don’t be to quick to rescue.
Keeping the conversation alive builds the connection you have with your child. There needs to be order in the world. There will always be someone above them with more authority. They need to know how to function and thrive in this environment. Teaching your child to respect authority and feel content and safe begins with you.
Teresa Anderson-Krull can be reached at Teresa Anderson-Krull & Associates, 216 E. Main St. No. 4, in Albert Lea. The phone number is 377-0107.
Teresa Anderson-Krull provides counseling and therapy services for individuals, couples and families in and around the Albert Lea area.