Parenting Series 6: Reinforcing Love

Children expect us as their parents to protect them from all harm. That is our job, right? We also teach them about love AND learn from them simultaneously. Small children have no idea what it’s like to withhold love and affection aka hold grudges. They may be upset for a moment but they soon forget and they look for that affection once again. Some of us get upset with our children and we withhold affection and warmth. We do not speak, or display any kind of comfort when we are angry with our children or anyone else. However, do you realize the damage you’re doing and the lesson you’re teaching? You are teaching your child that when they do something wrong, they will be punished with silence and there will be nothing warm to look forward to. By withholding affection and conversation you are punishing your child for issues that you haven’t resolved in your life. We have boiling points and we all react differently but with children we have to self check and be mindful of how our actions train them to show up in the world.

Parents, I know that we aren’t born as parents. We were children once and perhaps our parents did some things that messed us up. I get that we are still finding our way on the journey and we may not know how to reverse some of our bad habits. The key is self awareness. While, you may know that give your child the silent treatment isn’t healthy, it’s what you do because that’s what your mum did to you. Ask yourself “Did it feel good when my mom did it to me?”, “Was I empowered when she did that?”. Really get present to the way that you felt when your parents showed up in a way that left you disempowered. Reflect on how that feels to this day. Some of us are two, three, four decades in to our lives and some childhood things still hurt us badly. If it hurts, work on releasing it because you really don’t want another generation of children growing up with the same pain.

Our parents did the best that they could. They worked with what they had and with what their parents gave to them. It’s no secret though that each generation has become a lot less scary with their children in terms of discipline. But, less scary doesn’t have to mean none at all.

Consequences are a part of life and children should be aware of what they are. However, we also do not want to raise children who are fearful of consequences. We aren’t raising children to fear us or anyone else. Children should be raised to be present to their thoughts so that they make good choices. We are teaching them to have foresight coupled with the ability to make choices based on logic AND compassion. We are teaching them how to be effective AND kind. We are also raising children that know it’s okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are to be learned from and not punishment based. We are raising the future of the world. That’s a tough job, I totally get that. What kind of world do you want to live in? Do you want leaders who believe in punishment or those who believe in learning from your mistakes? We want world leaders or are fearless but who are also fair.

Parents, the future of the world is literally up to us. We want dynamic kids, therefore we must do dynamic parenting. We have to be aware of ourselves, our tone, our actions and everything else so that we lead by example. Children hear you but watch you like a hawk. We have to be aware and be ready to apologize and admit when we just aren’t having a good day. We can show our children that it is very much okay to stumble but you can come back victoriously. We are their lessons. We are their examples of the world. We are their gauge on patience, humility, compassion, fear, forgiveness, love, trust, safety, comfort and everything else. We have the most important job in the entire world. It matters how you feel when you show up for that job. Above all else….above every part of this tedious but rewarding work is the reinforcement of love. No matter how crappy, messed up and tore up your day goes ALWAYS remember to reinforce in your children’s minds that they are loved!

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