I just answered one of the sweetest questions. This lovely mom wrote: "I have a question for parents who have raised older children..any advice for newer parents? Anything you wish you would have done differently? Or any parenting tips in specific that has had a positive impact on your child's life?" Turns out, I couldn't shut up!!! I LOVE this question!!!!! Here's what I wrote (in no particular order):
• People before things. No exceptions.
• Get clear about "choose to" versus "have to." Most of the things you think fall into the "have-to" category, really belong in the "choose-to" category. There are very, very, very, very few things you actually "have" to do, but the belief that you have to do certain things is joy-sucking and can ruin a perfectly good day.
• Don't believe everything you think. (In fact, don't believe 95% of the stuff you think.)
• When you're making parenting decisions, ignore everyone else outside your immediate family. Pretend they're not there, and if you can't do that, pretend they don't care.
• Whenever possible, say "yes." Or, at least find a way to say "Hmmmm.... why not?"
• Kids are learning machines, and they learn by default. You can't MAKE a kid learn, but you can interfere with learning. Kids learn best when they feel happy. (That's a hint.)
• You cannot punish away a need. All behavior is about communicating needs, so punishing behavior does nothing to address the underlying need. Become a good interpreter of your kid's behavior, and then meet the need that the behavior is communicating.
• Take care of YOURSELF. Laughter is CRUCIAL.
• Don't take ANYTHING personally.
• Be the person you want your child to become (Joseph Chilton Pearce)
• Nurture your intuition by listening to it. The more you listen to it, the louder that little voice gets. The less you listen to it, the quieter it gets. Crazy, but true.
• When a kid lies, it's because he cares about your happiness and his happiness. Hold that bit of truth in your heart when you're responding to your child.
• PLAY. All the time. Watch TV WITH your kid, even if you don't like the show, and laugh and talk about it. Get into the blanket fort with your kid. Play role-reversal games. Be silly.
• Apologize. Often. If you don't think you have anything to apologize for, you're probably missing something.
• Don't be afraid to look silly or goofy. It's actually quite beautiful.
I sure hope you've enjoyed these!!! I had fun writing them.
Of course, if you want to learn more about these things, you could consider taking a class. Maybe.
Anyway, be well...and be kind!