Though my own children are quite grown, parenting issues continue to interest me. As I have said before, I am delighted to see how much many of you are enjoying your own children and how thoughtfully you are caring for them – both when they are well and when they are not.
I was fascinated the other day by a hot debate on FB about whether or not it's a good thing for parents to apologize to their children. On another recent occasion, folks were having it out about whether or not yelling at kids is productive. Since I am convinced that modeling/demonstration is the most potent teaching technique that we possess – I would say yes to apologizing when appropriate and no to yelling, right? Good news: When we slip-up and yell, we can apologize afterward; it's a great opportunity!
These arguments about how to best parent are not new and they tend to fall into two categories. The one that makes the most sense to me might be called the "Child Development" camp. Approaches to discipline (teaching behavior) from this realm tend to focus on age-appropriate expectations and keeping children safe while helping them to feel loved – setting them up to form secure relationships as they grow - and into adulthood.
People often mistake these methods as an "anything goes" parenting style. Nothing could be further from the truth. Several accomplished authors in the field have provided excellent advice that helps parents and others guide kids toward increasingly mature behaviors and decisions. You will find some books that would be useful, if you are interested, in the Recommended Resources strand of the blog (from previous posts).
In addition to those, I would like to mention How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk (by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlisch) and How We Love Our Kids: The 5 Love Styles of Parenting (by Milan and Kay Yerkovich). I haven't read that last one yet, but my sister highly recommends it and I am eager to get to it before I pass it off to Collin and Danae. (I mentioned that I'm going to be a grandma, RIGHT?)
While "everyone is special," is somewhat cliché (and often misunderstood to mean "more special than others") at this point, your child should certainly know that he or she is special to you. Here is a poem that beautifully expresses that thought. It was posted on FB by Lindsey Poggemeyer; perhaps you saw it!
If you're still my small babe
or you're all the way grown
my promise to you is
you're never alone.
You are my angel,
my darling, my star . . .
and my love will find you
wherever you are.
All possible good wishes to you and the children in your care as this new year blasts off to its speedy start!