Thursday, January 15, 2009

My best parenting advice came from my daughter

I used to think my job as a mother meant I needed to make sure my children were perfectly perfect by the time they left home at 18. It didn’t matter that I had yet to reach perfection status, I was determined to be sure they did.


So, I instructed, cajoled, encouraged, (or in their words, criticized and nagged) with words like, “You aren’t going to wear that are you?” “Get your elbows off the table” “Be nice”, “Sit up straight” etc., etc. And when my children would ask, “Why are you always telling me what I am doing wrong? “ My ready reply was, “Because I am your mother and it’s my job.”


Then one day my daughter, Kristen, told me something that changed my life—and hers. She said she felt like all I did was tell her what was wrong with her. She told me she already had plenty of people in her life to identify her faults. There were teachers, leaders, bosses, and friends, and she was very hard on herself. What she needed from me was acceptance. She needed to know when she came home from the demands of school/work, that she was entering a safe place where she was loved and accepted for just who and how she was.
That completely shocked me and I determined I would change my parenting. I will admit it didn’t happen over night and I still have room for improvement. I am naturally just a bit of a control freak, so giving up that “control” was a bit difficult.




I do not mean to say we should never teach or give advice, we do need to do that as parents, but I have learned a valuable lesson: LISTEN more, (they usually already know what they are doing wrong) TALK less, (they also usually know how to fix it) HUG a lot and ENCOURAGE with positive words.
So I felt pretty good a few months ago when I told a daughter how great she was and she and her sister rolled their eyes and said, “That is such a ‘Mom’ comment!” I am so glad my “mom comments” are now positive words instead of critical ones. And I am so very grateful for a daughter who was open and honest with me, because my relationship with my children is so very dear to my heart, and brings such great . . . joy to my journey.

12 comments:

Becky said...

What a great reminder for me--I tend to be the critical mom way more than I should be. Thanks for sharing this!

Momza said...

:::::APPLAUSE::::
There will be a parade thrown in your honor someday!
Love the post!! Thanks a heap!

NatureGirl said...

Thank you for your comment on my blog. What a beautiful family you have. No wonder you have joy in your journey. I am one who does not do well with change either. You need to read my last weeks post "Bend and Reach"! Thank you for connecting!

Chelsea said...

That is good advice. And what cute daughters you have. I loved the pictures.

Debi (Dubs2007) said...

This was good to read - I have 4 daughters ages 0-7 and... yeah.. Good to read, I see I do tell them what they are doing wrong a lot. and noticed with my 3 year old that if I told her what she was doing right that the tantrums diminished a lot and she wanted to be my helper the rest of the day - thankyou!
Debi

Lisa said...

I discovered your blog recently (blog hopping)and have to say you have inspired me. So much so that I even retitled my blog. I saw myself in this past post and had to comment. I appreicate your posts and hearing about your family and your challenges/joys as a mom. Being a mom is truly my greatest joy.

the Eggett's said...

Thanks for the perfect advice!

MissKris said...

Wow mom- that's so sweet! And you are the best mom ever :) My favorite place on earth is home. I love you.

Me the Mom said...

I love this post! It's so true. There's great wisdom for a moms everywhere here! I'm going to try to implement this thought in my home - Best Wishes!

Kristin

RBS said...

Man I just love that we have a lifetime to fix everything we want to fix. I loved the post and the thought behind it. What a mom!
Roxanne

Marilyn said...

This is me. I hate the fact that sometimes I want "trophy kids," so I think I have to mold them into ones. I must admit I am doing better now that I did with the first few but it is a struggle to remember to be positive and uplifting. Last weekend I spent some "quality time" with my 15 yo daughter and I was AMAZED at the change in her attitude.

Aunty Em said...

I am so glad I read this Lori. what a good message for me to hear and remember. Thanks!