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The Journey of Parenting

The Journey of Parenting

          “Once a parent, always a parent”, “A Mother’s work is never done.”, “You will always be your child’s favorite toy”.  There are an almost endless supply of quotes and comments on parenting.  Many of them focus on the timeless, never-ending quality of parenting and what happens along that journey.

          Raising a child is an exciting journey and that like any journey includes surprises and challenges.  Along the way we may become tired, lost and temporarily lose our focus.  There are steps we can take along the parenting journey to ensure we and our children stay on track.

          - Stay healthy – Eat well, eat less, exercise more, drop any negative habits of smoking and excessive alcohol use, have regular medical checkups and then follow your doctor’s advice.   The parenting journey can be a race at times and like an athletic parents need to be prepared for the race.

          Have your own support system – Parents need to be strengthened by their friends and family.  Build a strong relationship with those who support you.  In addition to be a support to us, our friendships with other adults models for  children how to do the same in their lives.

          Listen often – Listening is an irreplaceable way to show someone you love them.  Children like it when we listen to them and try to understand their feelings. When children, are upset, sensitive listening provides needed support.  Hold back on the natural parent tendency to give advice.  Show understanding and empathy first, and then work on “fixing” the problem later.

          Include kindness and respect on a daily basis – Kindness builds relationships (remember that support system you are working on?) and brightens the lives of everyone.  A spin-off of the horrid school shooting in Connecticut was a campaign to do 26 acts of kindness.  What would happen in your family if you purposefully did an act of kindness every day?  Kindness and respect for others heals, helps and holds up a better pattern of living for our children to model.

          Routines are comforting, not boring –Routines help children know what to expect and how to behave. A bedtime routine can teach children to prepare for the next day, take care of themselves by brushing their teeth & bathing, how to enjoy some downtime and end the day peacefully. Routines help children feel safe and that they are someone you value.

          Learn from mistakes – We all make wrong turns along a journey. Children will make lots of mistakes as they learn and grow.  When our children make mistakes, by being patient and understanding we can help them think about what they have learned and know that they live in an environment safe for learning.

          Enjoy!  Parenting is one of the most thrilling, frustrating, satisfying, scary things you will do in your life – enjoy your trip! 

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