how to nurture your relationships
Welcome to the July Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Philosophy
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared their parenting practices and how they fit in with their parenting purpose. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
For this month’s carnival of natural parenting we’ve been asked to reflect on how we can achieve our parenting goals. The guidance read “Thinking about the qualities you’d like to see in your children and the relationships you want to have with them as adults, what parenting practices are you or can you use now to help further your goals?”
One of the most important to things to me as a mother is that my daughter can talk to me about anything.
I believe as parents, we do the best we can do at the given time, but I remember feeling very isolated and lonely as a child, and particularly as a teen because I felt I could not talk to my mother.
I had great friends, but it’s not the same as talking to someone you look up to and trust in order to find answers to all those challenging questions and experiences you go through as a child.
I think we all have a tendency to over compensate for the things we feel were / are lacking in our lives, so I’m cautious to keep in check that I do not smother. I strive towards the balance of an open, honest relationship but not one that steps over boundaries of a child’s natural desire to have a few secrets.
My daughter is now 10 and I can see how my parenting practises have definitely paid off. My husband and I have a saying which goes along the lines of ‘Never pass a ten tonne truth over a one tonne bridge”. In short, if my daughter asks questions we answer them honestly, but without too much detail. Any child will ask more questions if they want to or will be satisfied with what you tell them – let your child be your guide, don’t try and lead the conversation!
We’ve never told her that babies are delivered under hedges by storks or given her a nebulous ‘They come out of mummy’s tummy’. We’ve told her the truth with age appropriate information. When she’s asked about stories she has read in the papers, pondered where the cats go when they’ve died, why some people seem to be cruel we’ve never glossed over her curiosity, we’ve opened up the dialogue until she is satisfied with the answer.
By asking how my daughter’s day has been and by gently and openly encouraging her to talk when I sense her ‘I’m ok’ is not the full story, we’ve nurtured and are maintaining a wonderful relationship. She knows she can ask me anything, that I will be the one to tell her the truth. She knows that no matter how embarrassed, ashamed or guilty she feels about something she has done she will be met with love and respect when she chooses to talk about it. I’m on her side no matter what. I may roar and fight and give her a good dose of harsh truth but I will never let her down. If there is gossip going around the playground she is invited to check in with me to see that facts are correct. When she has confusing feelings that cannot be put into words I will listen without judgment regardless of how little sense it makes to either of us.
My belief is that by building this strong foundation there will never be anything my daughter feels she has to face alone. I guess as they grow up the risks of our children getting involved with the wrong crowd, of experimenting with things you rather they didn’t and of them experiencing things you wish you could protect them from increases. But at least by knowing they can come to you to talk about things you can take away the risk they have to go through things alone….
As one of my favourite sayings goes – sometimes what kids need is a jolly good listening to.
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