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Navigating 'Island' Parenting: Loving your children
Published on February 20, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Mutryce A Williams

“Of all things love is the most potent.” Maria Montessori

calixthe.jpg
Calixthe
“The Lord only knows that I revere the ground my beautiful sweet smelling flower Calixthe walks on. She will grow to know it. The Lord only knows how my heart overflows with love and joy at the thought and sight of her, because she is truly special. She will grow to know it. The Lord only knows how proud I am to have been chosen as her mother, and she will grow to know it. The Lord only knows that she is the “Love of My Life” and I will not hesitate to show it. Calixthe will grow to know it. I want parents to know that there is no risk or harm in loving your children, and letting them know that they are loved immensely. There is no risk, there can only be great returns.” Verema “Rosie” Douglas – Mother of Calixthe

Navigating "Island" Parenting is a submission of insights, quotes, tips and parenting advice that I have gathered over the years as a source of inspiration and as tools to deal with the daily challenges of parenting. This week’s issue focuses on loving your children. The hope is that this submission would cause you to reflect on your parenting skills and also make the journey of parenting a bit easier or brighter.

Make Loving Your Children a Daily Effort

In our culture we tend not to be very affectionate with our children. The words “I Love You” never pass some of our lips and I have often wondered how many parents actually value or view the act of love or loving their children, other than the act of providing for their children, as an important part of their role as parents. I have heard parents declare in the past that their children ought to know that they love them because they keep a roof over their heads, they feed them and they keep them safe, but as parents is this our only duty?

Isn’t it our duty to love our children wholeheartedly and show them that they we love them? Isn’t it our duty to not leave them wanting, thus preventing them from seeking love, affection or acceptance outside the comfort of our homes? Don’t you think that love, unconditional love, and showing this love can be the answer to many of our society’s ills? Don’t you think that loving your children and showing them that they are loved can be a most effective tool in your parenting tool belt?

All children want to hear is that they are loved, and accepted by the people who brought them into this world. They need this more than anything else. It gives them a strong sense of self or formidable self-esteem.

It was Mardie Caldwell who said, “Whichever way you choose to share your feelings with your children remember to do something each day. Experts agree that if children receive their nurturing inside the family they are less inclined to look outside to others. Create a home where love is shown. Any parents, whether rich or poor, can afford this.”

I wholeheartedly agree with Mardie Caldwell, as parents, we worry about providing food, shelter, clothing, an education, and the best opportunities for our children but providing an environment where those children feel loved, welcomed, accepted, and at home is even more important. As parents we often think that we have to show love in the most magnanimous forms when all it takes is a simple smile, a look of approval, a hug, a kiss, a pat on the back or just three little words, “I Love You.” These cost nothing and they are nourishment for our children’s soul.

I came across an article entitled, Twenty Free Ways to Show Your Child Love from the Bright Future Initiative and I also found some interesting tips from Disney Family.com on, How to Show Love for Your Child, I compiled a list of those points that I have found quite useful and thought that I should share with you.

• Tell your child you love her/him.

• Find out what happened during your child’s day.

• Talk to your child about school and friends.

• Pay attention to what your child is doing.

• Share your child’s little victories.

• Let your child help with what you are doing.

• Show interest in your child’s thoughts and feelings so he will be more willing to come to you with his problems and concerns.

• Respect your child’s thoughts and feelings. Her feelings are as real to her as yours are to you.

• Look at your child when you talk together.

• Catch your child being good, and praise him.

• Use plenty of positive words with your child.

• Respond promptly and lovingly to your child's physical and emotional needs and banish put-downs from your parenting vocabulary.

• Make an extra effort to set a good example at home and in public. Use words like "I'm sorry," "please" and "thank you."

• When your child is angry, argumentative or in a bad mood, give him a hug, cuddle, pat, secret sign or other gesture of affection he favors.

• Use non-violent forms of discipline. Parents should begin instituting both rewards and restrictions many years before adolescence to prevent trouble during the teenage years. Once youngsters reach adolescence, allowing them to break important rules constantly without being disciplined only encourages more rule violations.

• Carve out time just to talk with your child. No phones, no TV, just talk.

• Make plans to spend half a day alone with your young child or teen doing something he enjoys.

• As your child grows up, she'll spend most of her time developing and refining a variety of skills and abilities in all areas of her life. You should help her as much as possible by encouraging her and providing the equipment and instruction she needs.

• Your child's health depends significantly on the care and guidance you offer during the early years. By taking your child to the doctor regularly for consultations, keeping him safe from accidents, providing a nutritious diet and encouraging exercise throughout childhood, you help protect and strengthen his body.

• Regardless of whether you actively try to pass on your values and beliefs to your child, he is bound to absorb some of them just by living with you. He'll notice how disciplined you are in your work, how deeply you hold your beliefs and whether you practice what you preach. One of your most important gifts as a parent is to help your child develop self-esteem. Your child needs your steady support and encouragement to discover his strengths. He needs you to believe in him as he learns to believe in himself. Loving him, spending time with him, listening to him and praising his accomplishments are all part of this process. Don't forget to say, "I love you" to children of all ages!

Tell Your Child by Alyssa Marques

I love you.
I love you no matter what.
I love you even when you are angry at me.
I love you even when I am angry with you.
I love you when you are far way. My love for you can reach you wherever you are.
If I could pick any 4 year old (5 year old, 6 year old…) in the whole wide world, I’d pick you.
I love you to the moon and then around the stars and back again.
Thank you.
I enjoyed talking, playing or spending time with you today.
My favorite part of the day was when I was with you and we _______.

Parenting Quotes on Loving Your Children

When you look into your mother’s eyes, you know that is the purest love you can find on this earth. Mitch Albom, For One More Day

Whatever they grow up to be, they are still our children, and the one most important of all the things we can give them is unconditional love. Not a love that depends on anything at all except that they are our children. Anonymous

Children desperately need to know-and to hear in ways they understand and remember-that they’re loved and valued by mom and dad. Anonymous

Hugs can do great amounts of good, especially for children. Princess Diana, Princess of Wales

Always kiss your children goodnight - even if they're already asleep. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Mutryce A. Williams, a native of St Kitts and Nevis is the mother of 4-year-old Daniel and 3-year-old Nicholas. She not only values the many facets of West Indian parenting but also thinks that there is vast room for improvement. A former educator and a child/youth advocate, Mutryce firmly believes that children should not only be seen but heard.. She may be contacted at mutrycewilliams@gmail.com
 
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