There’s a vile book out there and it’s being blamed (or partially given attribution) for the deaths of several small children, and I would assume, the on-going abuse of many, many more. Heaven knows that I am NO expert on parenting and totally falter in the realm of discipline (I follow through, most of the time, but sometimes I just need to give the TV privileges back) and my kids are borderline spoiled. I know.
That being said– I am wondering, you adults of the “Train Up a Child” persuasion– since when did physical torture and deprivation EVER make you more motivated to do something? Being hungry or cold or scared actually just induces the physiological fight-or-flight mechanism in our bodies; these little kids go into survival mode and their brains don’t ALLOW them to think rationally because they’re trying to preserve themselves.
Instead of making this post an angry rant (because those people have enough anger for all of us ), I wanted to write my thoughts, in no particular order, on how To Love Up a Child. It’s a prayer for myself really, to remember to always notice their incredible beauty, strength, innocence and wonder.
Praise your child for winning AND for losing gracefully. Tell them to try again next time and that no matter if they win or lose, you’ll be there to cheer. Admit when you’ve been wrong or angry or unfair or treated someone (or your child) badly. Tell them that you’re sorry, tell them how you’ll improve next time, and then do it. Rock your baby, toddler, big kid to sleep; make them feel safe by being next to you. Listen when they speak and let them know that their thoughts are so important; you will learn something but also, if you listen now, they will tell you the real stuff later. Play with your babies, get on the floor and laugh/build/sing.
That’s what I have for you, for now. I’m going to go give my babies some extra snuggles and say a prayer of thanks for them.