From time to time our children really amaze us. Today, my daughter starting chanting an encouraging song, “Go Mommie, Go Mommie,” she sang as I cooked dinner. Was she singing because she was overjoyed that I was finally making a home-cooked meal? I don’t really know, but her song made me feel good. Just as she knows what makes my heart rejoice, I also have to uplift and cheer her up when she is least likely to expect it. I always have to be in her corner. This made me think, what does a child want from a parent anyway? It would be nice if they would spell it out, but here are 3 needs they have that we cannot ignore.
1. Our children want to be the apples of our eyes. They want us to know that they are the ones who make our days brighter. They want to know that we love them and cherish their quirky moments, intellectual prowess, unique fashion sense as well as their need to make mistakes and learn from them.
2. Our children want us to make time for them. Kid’s date night out, call it what you want, but we have to spend quality time doing something with them, regardless of whether or not it is just tossing a ball or learning something new together. More than anything our kids want to know that we are not too busy to spend some quality with them observing their likes and dislikes and enjoying their company.
3. Our children want to know that we care. They want to know that we care about their now, their past, and their future.
- Ask your child about how their day went
- What they want to be when they grow up
- What is their favorite food and color
- It doesn’t matter if the questions seem generic or not, it is opening a dialog that is on their level that does not produce stress or pressure.
4. Our children want our guidance. Why do children need to have parents? They need us because they need people to help them navigate their way throughout the world. Life is hard enough, they will stumble and fall, but if we see a hole in the road, it is up to us to tell them how to avoid it.
5. Our children need us to be good examples. The best teacher is not our words, but our actions. It is hard for us to live perfect lives, but it is up to us to live the best life that we possibly can so that others can glean from what we have learned and shared.
6. Our children need us to be their first teachers. The way they interact with others is first modeled after how we interact with them. For a couple of months and their first few years we are their own personalized GPS systems showing them which way to turn, what attractions are best suited for them, and which situations are best for them to avoid.
7. Our children need us to keep them safe. At all times we have to be their extra eyes and ears always looking out for them.
8. Our children need us to show them how to find healing when they are wounded. How to fix their cuts, what to do when they are hurt, how to bounce back when something goes wrong.
9. Our children need to learn from us, where help is located when we need it. Of course you want the absolute best for your child, so we have to teach them how to make the best decisions to find answers to their questions. In addition, children must learn what to do when their environment is no longer a safe haven.
- From an early age encourage your child to talk and not keep secrets
- Share their feelings good and bad
- Know which numbers are for emergencies and what an emergency is: (teach them how to dial 911, teach them the national number to the Poison Control Center 1800-222-1222, etc.) Here is an emergency contact list created by KidsHealth that you should print, download and laminate.
I believe every child has a chance to thrive. We as parents help nourish their futures. No family situation or circumstance is 100% perfect or ideal, but we have to do our best. That is what matters.