Thursday, February 28, 2008

3 Gifts We Must Give Our Children

Parenting is the most difficult, the most challenging, and the most important job we will ever have. So many of our children's future successes and problems can stem from our success as parents. Yet fortunately we do not have to go it alone. We can learn from the successful parents around us, if we are fortunate including our own parents, and also learn from those less successful as well. In addition, we can learn many important lessons about parenting from our own children. If we only listen and pay attention they tell us so much about what they want and need from us as parents. While we can so often get caught up in the little details and daily grind of parenting, if we keep sight of three main goals then the rest will take care of itself. All our children really need from us are these three all-important gifts: our love, our care, and our time.

Love is the easiest and yet the most overlooked of the gifts we must give our children. We love our children. It is such an overwhelming emotion for us that we often forget that our children may not realize its depth and breadth. It is true for many of us that we did not realize how much our parents love us until we too became parents. Demonstrate through your actions and choices that you love your children. Show them and tell them how much you care. Do this with little gestures and big ones and do it every day. One certainty our children should possess as they grow and develop is that they are loved as this gives them a foundation and confidence that nothing else can.

Care is something we do all the time, so much so that it is often on autopilot. Folding clothes, picking up toys, packing lunches, and washing dishes. One of the ways to cope with these tasks is to put them in perspective. These boring, repetitive tasks are one of the ways we care for our children and by doing them we are showing our care. But do not neglect the emotional and cognitive care along with the physical care. It is easy while making sure our children are fed, clothed, and washed to overlook the emotional care and cognitive care children also need. Teach your child how to handle emotions like fear and jealousy by talking things through and modeling good emotional behavior. Make sure your child is challenged intellectually through conversation, games and books.

Time is the most precious of all gifts and yet so many parents short their children of their time. Time is spent at work and at various life activities from home maintenance to recreation, but simply giving your child the gift of your time and attention every day can reap tremendous rewards. Giving your child your time and attention is the surest way to demonstrate to your child that he or she is loved. You can multi-task while spending time with your child if the task is something that the child can be involved in or adjacent to -- and the task is something mindless so you can focus on the child. For example, children can help with household chores or can talk or read to you while you fold laundry or wash dishes. Simply making a point of spending time with your child every day where your primary focus is on the child can reap tremendous rewards today and tomorrow.

There are no perfect parents, so striving for perfection is setting yourself up for failure. All you can do is try your best and give your child the gifts of love, care, and time. If you do then you will be a good parent. It really is that simple.

About the Author: Renaissance Woman Deanna Mascle shares more parenting tips in her blog at http://renaissancewomanonline.com

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