The most Influential moment as a Parent may surprise you
Here we go again, another school year has arrived.
Pre K, fifth grade, seventh grade, High School, senior year, College prep, 1st year of College what ever the grade it is all the same…another fresh start another chance for you to influence the most precious thing in your life, your child(ren). What you say and how you say it matters so pay attention. You are being watched and most importantly you are being listened to even though at times it may not seem like so.
I am blessed to be done with that part of my parenting journey though my daughter is twenty-four years old now what I consciously began to do all those years ago continues to reap rewards for both of us today. What I did is not anything grand or new or special, all I did was TALK. Talk to her in my belly, talk to her during bath time, talk to her on our walks, talk while I drove her to school, talk while I combed her hair, talk while we got ready to go out, talk before bed, talk talk talk.
As parents all we do is talk of course but how are you talking? Are you talking at your child or to your child? Are you barking orders or are you asking questions? Are you interested in what they have to say or are you just going through the motions? Are you paying attention or are you distracted and just squeezing them in? Do you even care about how they are feeling as they are sharing with you? All these details matter they will remember and they will act accordingly each and every time you talk. You set the tone, you lay the foundation so what you give you will get.
My mother I always say did the best she could with what she knew at the time but talking was never her best thing with me I must say. She provided for me in all the ways parents think they should physically but emotionally my mother dropped the ball. I can’t recall one great conversation we ever had, with my daughter I can recall hundreds if not thousands. I can’t recall a time I walked away from talking with my mother feeling empowered. Feeling understood or supported or even feeling full of joy and love. I always walked away feeling like I was missing something, like I was surrounded by emptiness always saying to myself “there has to be more than this”. Talking with my mother never gave me answers but today I know it did give me answers just not the answers I was looking for at the time.
The most influential moment as a parent is the moment your child(ren) see you as a human being. The moment they hear you and can bond with you on what you say. The moment they feel you can empathize with what they are feeling. The moment they do not feel judged by an “adult” but nurtured by a friend. These moments are constant and abundant as long as you are paying attention. This is why talking is so important this is why your words must be delivered with clarity and intent.
We are living in a time of constant motion, in a blink of an eye things can change. Shares, likes, thumbs up or down, swipe left or right change change change but one constant thing you can offer as a parent is your words. Though children, teens, and adults alike are all on social media family and parenting is not a social media event. Parenting, good parenting requires more than a glance. If you haven’t already begun to lay the foundation of good talks here are some suggestions for this coming year…
-Put the phone down…look at your child(ren) when they are speaking. If possible share a hug or hold their hand, let them feel you are present.
-Set a date…if your work schedule does not allow for flexible quality time, set a date for your chats.
-No judgment…don’t be so quick to frown at how they handled something or how they FEEL about something, we are living in different times and what matters to them may not matter to you but be respectful. Perhaps share something similar you experienced and how you felt and dealt with it. Show you are HUMAN.
-Talk, talk, talk…remember when I shared that what I did wasn’t so special? So why don’t you give it a try? Every chance you get, every moment that arises use it as an opportunity to teach and to learn from one another not just one-sided. You may be the parent but you can always learn from your child(ren).
I am amazed daily at the things my daughter remembers from her childhood about and from both her parents. It gives me a sense of pride and joy and sometimes even brings me to tears. The other morning as I am getting ready for work we are having one of our mini chats. She knows I prefer a quiet morning but she was chatting away anyway. This is a year of transition for both of us, some chapters are closing and others are beginning to open. She has decided to move away to live closer to her father and little brothers for a while. This will be the first time we have ever lived apart for more than a few weeks.
As she is sharing her updates on her plans I see that she is crying. I see and sense all the emotions flowing through her mind and body. She shares that though she is very excited about this new step she is nervous about leaving me alone. She shares that because of my recent medical scare she is hesitant about her decision. At that moment I see my own upbringing flash before my eyes, my choices once I became a parent myself, the intent in which I set the foundation on how to parent her and I said “My job is done. I prepared you for all that is to come, that is what I set out to do, now I sit back and watch you flourish. My job wasn’t to prepare you and clip your wings. You have to go out and LIVE YOUR LIFE. I will be fine, you will be fine, we will be fine TOGETHER always, whether under the same roof or miles apart now go out and do wonderful things.”
We wiped our tears with a sigh of relief and refreshed confidence. We laughed and hugged and I finished getting ready for work leaving her to sit in peace. Knowing that she is prepared for whatever comes her way bumps and all simply because her mother talked to and with her for the past twenty-four years.
The most influential moment as a parent may surprise you but don’t most of us love surprises anyway?
What do you think? What has been your most influential moment? Looking back at your own parents when was that moment? Share your experience here…
Always stress-free xo,