12 Ways to Be a Great Parent (and Grandparent)
Parenting is pretty scary sometimes. Grandparenting not quite so much, but it still has its moments. (More about that in future blogs!)
After all, kids hear pretty much everything you say, even if you don’t think so. And, they watch basically everything that you do, even if you’re unaware. And, then they model everything they hear and see, even if you wish it weren’t so.
And, once they can talk, the questions begin. Much of the time you aren’t sure what the answer is, or even if there is an answer–at least, an answer you want to tell them.
But, believe it or not, our parenting and even our grandparenting reflect back to us how we relate to and love ourselves. The more we love ourselves, the freer we are to love others.
So, even if you’re not parenting or grandparenting at the moment, this blog is still for you. We are going to use it to love ourselves to wellness. To connect ourselves more with each other. That means less judgment and more acceptance. Less fear and more love.
Not only do I encourage you to utilize the suggestions in it as you parent and grandparent your own children and grandchildren, but as you parent and grandparent yourself, for we are never too old for a little more loving-kindness.
And loving-kindness for ourselves and others will heal our hearts and transform our health, one step at a time.
So here goes: 12 Ways to be a Great Parent (and Grandparent)
- Love Yourself: you can’t love a child with selfless abandonment if you are too needy for love yourself. Remember you are loved infinitesimally by your Creator just as you are. And, so is your child. That’s your starting point every day. Love without reservation or exception.
- See the world from your child’s perspective: put yourself in your child’s shoes as often as you can. Remember what it was like when you were a child and an adult did not do that. How did you feel? Likely not too happy.
- Listen a lot; talk a lot less. Your opinion is never as important as your child’s, at least not at first. Give your child the respect to hear him out. Listen without distractions such as TV, internet, and texting. Look your child directly in the eye and LISTEN with your whole body to what she is saying. Then, respond as appropriate, remembering less is more.
- Lighten up; laugh whenever you can. Children laugh somewhere around 300 times daily. Adults laugh more like 30 times daily. What happened to us along the way that we lost our fun?! Laugh, laugh, and laugh some more.
- Give your child a spiritual center. That means consistently modeling your spiritual values. Start with daily family devotions and weekly worship. Show your child that quiet time daily is important by doing it yourself. Remember, talk is cheap but actions speak.
- Teach and model empathy. Help your child to put himself in the shoes of another hurting person. Talk about ways to show more loving-kindness to others. And, then model that loving-kindness first at home and then in your daily encounters with others. Remember, your child is watching and then acting upon what you do.
- Help your child to value her uniqueness as a beloved child of the Creator. There is no one else like us. We have special jobs to do on this earth that utilize our beautiful personalities and gifts. Comparing ourselves with others just brings all of us down. Love the way that you “dance,” and teach your child the same through the uplifting words that you speak over yourself and him.
- Build your child’s self-esteem through unabashed praise. We all thrive on loving encouragement. Praise even the smallest accomplishments of your child. Don’t miss an opportunity to praise yourself and her.
- Major on the majors, not on the minors of life. Let most stuff go; it’s not important. Life is too short to be in a constant fuss. Focus truly on what is important: lovingly nurturing our minds, bodies and souls. If you remember this, you can figure it out as you go along.
- Show your child how to re-center in stressful moments. That means you have to re-center first. Meditation, prayer and positive words are good starts. Find what works and then do it–with your child.
- Admit when you don’t live up to your highest self. Apologize. Ask for forgiveness. And then, vow to make more mindful choices in the future. If you do this, your child will learn to do the same.
- Love, love, love. Sacrificially. Fully. Deeply. Without apology. Be demonstrative with physical affection. Say “I love you” often. Love does make the world go ‘round, in all the right ways.
What other things have you found important in your parenting and grandparenting? Please share them below.