Tuesday was my daughter’s graduation. Did i hear someone say “what”? Yesso, it was – from Nursery to Primary, it’s not easy! lol. I was there with Deolu as we watched all of them dressed in black suits and white shirts, looking really cute and adorable.
Children grow so fast these days. The primary 6 pupils also had their graduation as well, some of the girls were already taller than me, and some as big! It was a nice outing and eye opening as the gravity of the responsibility of parenthood further dawned on me. One has to dedicate regular, undivided attention to this children to get the best out of them.
The above statement reminds me of a book i’m reading now; Five love languages of Children by John Gray. Children are God’s gifts to us and we need to understand that love is the foundation for a healthy relationship with them. Also, there might be a need to frequently remind yourself of some rather obvious things about children:
• They are children
• They will tend to act like children.
• Much childish behavior is unpleasant.
• If I do my part as a parent and love them, despite their childish behavior, they will mature and give up their childish ways.
• If I love them only when they please me (conditional love), and if I express my love to them only at those times, they will not feel genuinely loved. This will damage their self image, make them feel insecure, and actually prevent them from moving into better self control and more mature behavior. Therefore, their development and behavior is as much my responsibility as theirs.
• If I love them only when they meet my requirements or expectations, they will feel incompetent and will believe it is pointless to do their best, since it is never enough. They will always be plagued by insecurity, anxiety, low self esteem, and anger. To guard against this, I need to remind myself of my responsibility for their total growth.
• If I love them unconditionally, they will feel comfortable about themselves and will be able to control their anxiety and their behavior as they grow to adulthood.
1) Physical touch
For children whose love language is physical touch, physical touch will communicate love more deeply than with the words, “i love you”, or giving a present or spending time with them. It’s something that can be learnt even by parents who are not the touching type. Anyone can learn the language of physical touch, and if it is your child’s primary love language, it is worth your best efforts.
2) Words of Affirmation
In communicating love, words are powerful. Words of affection and endearment, words of praise and encouragement, words that give positive guidance all say, “I care about you”. Such words are like a gentle, warm rain falling on the soul; they nurture the child’sinner sense of worth and security. Even though such words are quickly said, they are not soon forgotten. A child reaps the benefits of affirming words for a lifetime.
Conversely, cutting words spoken out of short-lived frustration, can hurt a child’s self esteem and cast doubts about his/her abilities. Children think we deeply believe what we say.
3) Quality Time
Quality time is focused attention. It means giving a child undivided attention. It is the parents gift of presence to a child. About two weeks ago, i got home and my daughter said she wanted to gist with me. I was surprised but didn’t wave it off as a little child’s comment, i went ahead and gisted with her. Since then, we’ve had gisting sessions almost everyday. She loves to be spent time with.
When you spend time with your children, you are creating memories that will last a lifetime.It gives balance, stability and happiness for the rest of their lives.
Gifts should be genuine expressions of love. They should be more than material objects but rather tangible expressions of love that speak deeply. My daughter flaunts whatever gifts she’s given telling everyone who cares to listen, “My Daddy/Mummy bought it for me”. They are assured that they’re loved and thought of.
5) Acts of Service
The ultimate purpose for acts of service is to help them emerge as mature adults who are able to give love to others through acts of service. This includes not only being helpful to cherished loved ones, but also serving persons who are in no way able to return or repay the kindness.
As children live with the example of parents who serve the family and those beyond the walls of their home, they too will learn to serve.