|Start forging a strong relationship with your child when they are young.|
Nothing gets to me more than seeing disappointment in the eyes of one of my preschool children as a result of poor parenting. It cuts me wide open. And every year I have to deal with seeing it in some form or another...and the saddest part is it usually is totally preventable. Here is a list of ways I have seen my little students inadvertently hurt by their loving parents.
- Constantly bringing your child late to school. It seems like a little thing, but children like to fit in, and be like everyone else. Bringing a child late to school means that he/she has to figure out what has been missed, and get up to speed on what is going on. It is stressful enough for a young child to be separating from the parent, but throwing him/her into a class that is already in session is heaping another stressor onto the child.
- Not telling your child who will be picking him/her up. Preschool children want to understand what the day will bring. Having a relative or nanny pick up your child is necessary at times, but inform your child who will be there so he/she knows. This small courtesy means the world to a young child. A lot of parents believe that shielding children from unwelcome news is the best method. But if you know your child will be disappointed that you are not picking him/her up, deal with it rather than surprise him/her at the end of a preschool day with an unfamiliar face or the unwelcome realization that you are not there.
- Constant chaos. Young children thrive on routine. They learn from it, grow from it, and develop self confidence through it. Serving up a daily dose of chaos is not doing your children any favors. Chaos is when a child has no idea what is going on in his life. Chaos is when a child doesn't know what his/her day will look like. Chaos is shuttling your child to a range of nannies or friends or relatives to be looked after, rather than caring for him/her yourself or establishing a caregiver who your child knows and trusts. Chaos is not good for children.
- Adult Problems. Some parents have big issues on their plates; divorce, illness, poverty, unemployment, substance abuse. These big issues can steal a parent away from connecting and interacting with your child. If you are facing personal challenges that are compromising your ability to be a good parent, search for support. Support can come from extended family members, religious organizations, physicians and/or friends. Investigate ways to get the support you need in order to be able to handle your adult issues without sacrificing your child's well being.
- Distractions. Ignoring your child in favor of your cell phone causes hurt to your child. Handing your child a video game or playing a movie when you pick up your child from preschool is robbing you of establishing communication between you and your child. Make the effort to focus on your child at pick up time or when you get home from work, so that he/she understands that you care about him/her and want to hear about his/her experiences. At least act happy to see him/her. Your young child misses you while he/she is away from you. Make sure your child understands that you miss him/her as well. And make the effort to communicate with him/her each and every day.
It takes effort every single day to be a good parent, and doubly so when you are a single parent. The days are long. The job is exhausting. But you owe it to your child to be the best parent you can be and good parenting started early makes everyone's life richer and more fulfilling.
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