As moms, we strive to be a good parent, to raise a healthy happy child, and to keep our sanity in the process. We do a great job at it, but we aren’t perfect.
There are days I don’t feel like a good mom. Not because of anything I’ve done, but because of things I didn’t do. Like…
- I didn’t take the first opportunity to play with my son, early in the morning, when he whispered, “Play with me?” Instead I brushed off his request.
- I didn’t encourage my daughter when she made the same mistake again, instead I frowned.
- I pretended to listen instead of really hearing my child’s heart.
- I didn’t take the extra 30 minutes to prepare a healthy, home-cooked lunch, but substituted a hasty fast food meal instead.
- I didn’t notice my son’s attempt to make his bed the “neatest ever,” but instead saw the pile of toys still scattered on the floor.
- I didn’t read my kids their favorite books, instead I allowed them a “treat” of one hour of TV.
- I didn’t cheer wildly at the end of my child’s playtime on the piano, but instead said, “Turn it down some.”
It’s not every day I get it wrong. In fact, I get it right more often than not. But what sticks out most in a child’s memory…
…broken promises or kept ones?
…harsh words or sweet ones?
…impatient tones or soothing ones?
…disapproving looks or smiles?
…being ignored or being cherished?
Yes, children are resilient, but the fact is there is a limit to that resilience. If there are more kept promises than broken ones, more sweet words than harsh ones, more times of being cherished, etc., then children may forgive and forget the occasional mistake.
But as parents, as moms, we have to establish a habit, a pattern, of “getting it right” if we want to raise healthy and happy children.
We can’t expect kids to “do as I say” when they see a louder lesson in our actions. They will imitate us…it’s how they’re wired.
So what is a mom to do?
Steps to Raising a Healthy Happy Child
There are three things moms can add to their daily actions that will help win their child’s heart and inspire good behavior: strive to be consistently 1)kind, 2)tender-hearted and 3)forgiving. These behaviors are powerful and when we practice them regularly, we will see positive results in our family.
Be Kind. Being gentle, thoughtful, helpful, and affectionate. To reach our children at the heart level, we have to practice kindness. Learn to assess what our child needs and when they need it, then proceed with kindness.
If your child accidentally breaks your favorite dish, that is not the time for the irritated lecture on being more careful. Instead it’s the time to give reassurance and comfort, and to calmly teach techniques for cleaning up.
Be tender-hearted. Being tender and being sensitive go hand in hand. When our children need correction, if we are tender and sensitive to what they are feeling, we will reach their hearts and motivate them for good way better than a hundred lectures could.
Be forgiving. If you have lost your temper with your child and you didn’t handle the situation correctly, it is the right thing to ask for our child’s forgiveness. I’ve had to do this many times, and it goes a long way in mending the relationship while modeling for them the right way to handle mistakes.
So now, I pray daily to remember to see beyond their actions, and to see and nurture their hearts. I ask for help to be kind, tender-hearted and forgiving. They are learning from me how to be a good person, how to treat others, and eventually how to parent. I want to be sure they learn the right way to do this.
I want to be sure they learn how to be kind, tender, forgiving, and to uplift and edify those who matter in their lives. So that means I must show them how that looks by my actions.
It’s a journey of a lifetime, but I’m making it every day. Want to join me?