8 Things I Want to See Parents Doing More Frequently
I’ll admit it, I like to parent watch. You know, like how you people watch, but with parents. Don’t get me wrong I totally observe people without kids when I’m in line at the bank, at an airport, or at a doctors appointment. But my eyes are usually drawn to the people who have a kid with them. I’m fascinated by how different people respond differently to almost identical situations with their children. I like to compare those differences to what I do, and other things I’ve seen. I like to think of it as research.
A lot of the things that I saw were precious and sweet but some of what I saw was not tender. Some of what I saw was clearly dysfunctional and some of what I saw was more about what I didn’t see. All of this had me thinking about the things I want to see parents doing more often
Here are some of my thoughts:
1) I want to see parent’s explain things to their child.
Too often I hear a mother in the grocery store saying, “because I said so.” This is what I like to refer to as a non-answer. You haven’t actually given your child a valid answer when you say this common phrase. What you have done is instilled in them the terrible idea that if someone is bigger then they can set arbitrary rules that have no meaning to them. I get that usually there is meaning to what you’re telling your child they can or cannot do, or what they can or cannot have. The point is that if you aren’t explaining any of that then your point is completely moot and all you have done is declared yourself dictator. So, get on their level and explain yourself to your child. All rules are universal and you expect an explanation if someone were to just say no to you.
2) I want to see parent’s holding their child’s hand.
Of course, you hold you kid’s hands when you are in the parking lot and crossing a street. When I see parent’s holding their kids hand walking in the grass through the park, walking down the isle at a grocery store, or sitting in the seats at the movie theater, I just melt. I don’t think the holding of your child’s hand should be limited to the concept of protecting them from harm. I think the concept of holding their hand to show your love and adoration from them is simply beautiful.
3) I want to see parents listening to their children.
Our children have little voices. These little voices can become very loud but sometimes when they are trying to tell us something their voice becomes a little harder to hear. It is crucial, as a parent, that you have a very keen ear to hear the big thing their tiny voices are trying to exclaim. My heart breaks when I see the little boy on the monkey bars, say “Mom look at this.” and she doesn’t look up from her conversation. Kids are tackling new obstacles everyday and they want to share those achievements with us. Their minds run wild in the grocery stores with all of the different products on the shelves and they want to share their thoughts with us. If you are neglecting to let them share these ideas with you then you are doing your child, and yourself, a great disservice.
4) I want to see parents attending to their child that is crying.
I hate that I even have to write this one but it’s pretty common. I have seen babies, toddlers, and children crying while their mother strolls on as if she cannot hear them. I know that there is this dreadful idea that if you ignore a crying child they will somehow realize that crying is not how they get the attention they want but this is wrong. When your baby cries it is because he has no other way to express his need for something. When your toddler or child cries it is because they are overwhelmed, or hurt, and require your attention. Ignoring them teaches them that when they cry out for help they will be abandoned instead of helped. If your child is hurt, pick them up and soothe them. Take breaths with them if they are overwhelmed. Stop acting like your child isn’t there when they cry.
5) I want to see parents homeschooling.
Obviously, I want more homeschoolers! I think I made a pretty good case for why you should homeschool your child in my article titled, The A, B, C’s of Public School Hell, so I’ll just touch on a couple of things here. Your child gets minimal one on one time with a teacher when they are in public school. You have no control over what or how they are being taught. They over diagnose boys with ADHD and force medicate them. The children do mostly busy work in the classroom and then are sent home with homework. It’s basically a colossal waste of time to send them to public school. My children are a above where they would be if they were in public school an we only spend 20 hours a week homeschooling them; compared to the 40 hours a week if they were in public school. Homeschooling your child shows them that you genuinely care about what they learn, what their interests are, and most importantly their future.
6) I want to see parents taking their children on adventures.
I recently went hiking with my younger brother. Hiking is kind of our thing. I really enjoy hiking with just my brother because he moves quick and he pushes me when it’s just the two of us. Anyway, on this particular hike we took my kids with us and had a blast. We had hiked a higher mountain trail with them before and we didn’t have any problems. We noticed that we didn’t see any children on this trail and we found that to be quite odd. We ran into this couple who said they thought the hike would just be too much for their children (they were the same ages as my kids) and they left them at home. My experience has always been that taking my kids with me on my adventures enhances my excitement. Kids absolutely love being outdoors and going on adventures. They are natural explorers and, chances are, you will be ready to go home before they will. believe in your littles and give them a lifetime of experiences
7) I want to see parents taking responsibility for their actions.
Oh, how long it would take me to count the ways that parents don’t take responsibility for their own actions. You have the screaming mother who complains about her child’s temper tantrums. You have the distant father who complains that their children are more interested in their video games than in him. You have the parents who load their children up on sugar and wonder why their energy levels and emotions jump from one end of the spectrum to the other. You have the parents who refuse to apologize. Then you have the parents who think that their children are wild just to be mean to them. It’s not that I don’t get that your kid can drive you crazy on daily basis. Trust me, I absolutely understand that. I probably tell my very animated son that he is driving me bonkers several times a day. But if you genuinely think your child is antagonizing you just to be mean, then you really need to evaluate yourself to see where this behavior is originating. While your child might not be mirroring an exact behavior back to you, you might be failing in an area that is causing your child to try and get your attention. For instance: If I thought my son was making extra loud car noises just to get a rise out of me, then I would look at how much quality time I have spent with him lately, or how much one on one attention he has gotten. The dynamic of your relationship with your child is 100% your responsibility.
8) I want to see parents reading books that make them think.
I don’t understand the moms that are into 50 Shades of Gray or Twilight. Ugh, there are so many more books that are better for you, your mind, and your family. I want to see parents reading books on self-work. I want to see parents reading philosophy books. I want to see parents reading parenting books. I want parents to read books that make them think. I want parents to consider and discuss the things they read, and then come to their own conclusions. This includes when reading my blog. I don’t want people to automatically agree with everything I say because they enjoy my blog. For instance: I think Gary Chapman has a lot of wonderful points on marriage, parenting, anger, etc., but I don’t agree with everything of his that I read. I still enjoy reading his books because they make me think. I’m not saying that fantasy books are terrible and should never be read. My point is that I have yet to see a mom sitting by the pool reading a Nathaniel Branden.
I just want to see moms putting as much effort into being a good mother as she does into putting her makeup on, or how clean her house is when her friend comes over. I just want to see dads putting as much effort into being a good father as he does into sports, or working on his car. I just want to see parents treating parenthood like the marvelous journey that it actually is because one day this journey will come to an end. Why would you want to waste your adventure in a less than blissful state of dismissing it’s beauty?