As I wade deeper into being a parent, I feel like I’m in the middle of a learning curve. t’s like I’m “finding my voice.” At first, I was trying to follow what everyone else was doing. But nowadays, it’s more about me learning from my parenting experiences. It’s really been on ME to figure out the life that I want for my family rather than learning the life my family needs through watching others or reading books.
Granted reading parenting “self-help” books is giving me content about my daughter’s developmental stage while giving me ideas on how to build a solid family structure with my wife, But as my daughter grows, the parenting situations I find myself in are really a baptism through fire.
Yes, I’m finding my voice as a parent within these flames. I’m finding my truth. How my mom raised me will definitely be different as the way that I raise my daughter. See I say that now, but often I say things I’ve most definitely heard my mom say. Ha! And I’m always asking my mom, “Did I do this? Because Simone does that.”
I’m always thinking, where did she get this from? I can tell that my daughter has my wife’s sweet giving heart. Then my mom tells me stories and I assume Simone gets her mischievous side from her daddy.
I think it all goes back to connection before correction. I often find myself wanting to make a quick point to my daughter so she gets it: this is why that action was bad. I want her to understand why she can’t do that. But let me take a step back. I’m attempting to make a correction, but I know connection is where relationship thrives. (And she’s two, so understanding the why might mean her development needs to unfurl a bit more.) Often Simone does something awesome. Then I want to deepen my connection with her while finding out more about how her personality is forming.
Back to those moments of correction. In a world that is “go-go-go,” it’s easy to get caught up in quick fixes for our relationships. Instead, I ‘m starting to talk with my daughter, including her in my decision-making process. Instead of saying this is what’s best for her, I’m often asking for feedback. Instead of “Pick up your toys!” its “Simone, let’s throw your toys in the basket with daddy.” I am including myself in the process of what I am asking her to do.
This is just a small example that points to including children on the parenting journey. In Jane Nelsen’s book “Positive Discipline: The First Three Years,” she says “We need to encourage our children to talk back to us. No, we don’t mean that sort of back-talk. But it is important to give children the opportunity to talk to you, to other adults, and to other children.”
It’s about letting them “find their voice” through positive interactions with you. In my space, I’m speaking about a 2-year- old, but I think this speaks to a lot of situations with a child at any age. Assuming that you are being calm, cool and rational with your child, is this going to work all the time? Of course not! Still, it’s so helpful to pause and think about what to do before handling an issue with your child. Inserting this small pause before reacting to situations is definitely going to take practice. But I’m in this parenting game for the long haul, so here we go.