I have really amazing children. I honestly believe they came that way…
But I have been asked many times by other people, “How did you do it.”
I open my mouth to answer, and then a thousand thoughts flood my mind. I picture me holding stacks of dictionary type volumes of parenting strategies. All the wrong things crowd to the top.
But there are two simple ideas that I have condensed it to.
#1: Be present
#2: Show them how.
When do you begin? You begin when your brand new baby is handed to you after birth. You are present and hold them close and you look directly in their eyes with your eyes and you talk softly to them. And they respond to your sound. That is how you begin.
Children do not understand the world by mere words. (Most adults don’t either but they have adapted)
Children learn by their senses and how you act with them. They will pick up quickly what you value. You have to understand that their brains are not developed and they learn only by what they perceive and what centers around them, only. It is called being ego-centric.
Here is an example: A little child comes up to you and asks, “Do you know my grandma?” And you say no. And they say, “Why not? I know my grandma.” Since they know her, you should know her. Because everything they think, they think you think too.
Egocentric is completely different than egotistic because that is when you understand as an adult, but choose to have the world revolve around you.
Children do not choose to be self centered, their brains are wired that way for them to understand how the world works from their view point first. They learn by someone modeling to them first. That is why sharing, for example, is a complex concept for toddlers but seems so simple to older children and adults. What is there’s is there’s.
Many adults assume children understand when they tell them to do something when it has never been modeled for them. The words are often hard for them to understand. They need you to show them. Children do not understand abstractions except gradually when they are about eight years old. If you say, “Stop acting like a baby.” They do not understand what that means. They, first of all are babies and have every right to act like one. And second of all what does a baby act like that they should not be acting like. You see?
The reason why I say that it is important to be in their presence is because when you are away, you really do not exist in the present form. You do exist but you are not in their frame of reference because they live in the now. Whoever is with them most of the time will be the influence of what they will learn.
If you want your child to be kind, be present and show them how to be kind.
If you want your child to be a good listener, be present and show them how to listen.
If you want your child to have good manners, be present and show them how to have good manners.
If you want your child to be believe in God, be present and show them how you believe in God.
You get the picture.
Children need you around to teach them how to live and how to love.
And guess what, children are your children until you die not just when they are preschoolers!
Parents create how their children become.
It does not just happen by chance.