We all have such important roles to play in the family unit. How we play our role determines the overall feeling and dynamics of the family. It is so easy for children (of any age) to feel as though their role is less important as the adults in the house. This may stem from certain things we as adults say (unintentionally) or it may seem ‘obvious’ because most of what we do is of blatant importance to our children e.g. buying and making food, paying the bills, buying clothes and generally all the care-taking jobs.
It is vital that children in the family know that they are essential to the family unit. As it is not always obvious for them, it is important that we, as parents, tell them and praise them for it openly and often. This way they will get a sense of how they contribute to their family and later to their community and society as a whole.
Giving our children this recognition and sense of pride will boost their self-esteem, can pick them up on a down day and give them a sense of value and pride. It is obvious to us how much we love and appreciate them but these things are not always clear to them unless we expressing them, often. Most children help out with chores but their worth in the family can often be unspoken so why not highlight it.
My oldest daughter (4years) is a dynamo, she is energetic, creative, kind and caring, she loves to dress up, ride bikes, play with cars, paint, run, do ballet and the list goes on. I would generally describe her as easy going, funny and having a zest for life. It was quite a shock for me when something made me look at her in a different light. I realised she was all the things I listed above but that she was also anxious, shy, uncertain, sensitive, serious and needing to feel in control. It is difficult to adjust your mindset about most things but it is never difficult to resolve to help your child. So I started to look into ways I could help her to feel more appreciated and valued.
When I was pregnant with my second born (now 7months old) I started telling my older daughter how thankful I was that she taught me how to be a mom. At first I didn’t think much of it until one day I heard her telling her sister how she had taught their mommy how to be a mommy. She said it with such authority and pride that it was hard to not be moved. Since then I have made a huge effort to tell her how she contributes in her role as daughter, big sister, friend, student etc etc. I always tell her how lucky the people around her are to have her in their lives and then give her a real reason to back it up.
It always astounds me how these simple little changes to our speech or the decision to stop, recognise and praise our children, with intention and meaning, can make such a huge change in their mood and to the overall feeling of the family.
Just a short, little thought from me today.
Be kind to each other and yourself… parenting is tough work.