I am currently taking the parenting class at Hope Chapel SR, and it has been a multitude of information. And the more I am taking it, two things are occuring: I am super proud of the things I am already doing with my kids, and I can see many areas that I need to work on to be a better mother.
This last week I had to play catch up with the first two courses, and was allowed to bring the videos home and view them on my own time. This of course meant that I saved them until the last minute. Last night was the class, so I watched teh first video on Tuesday, and the second just hours before the class. And along with these videos are questions to be answered by me, and by my kids. So I was really scrambling.
One section of the series really made an ipression on me. It is titled “8 Keys for Building Relationships that Bond”. These 8 Keys are:
-Unconditional Love (that your child is secure in your love, even when you are angry)
-Focused Attention (undivided)
-Scheduled Time (dates with your kids)
-at dinner together
-shared experiences (vacation, park time, sports TOGETHER instead of just watching them play team sports, etc)
-Meaningful Touching (hugs, tickling, wrestling, cuddling, etc)
-Have Fun Together
-Pray Together Often
When I read these, I could honestly say I did 4 of these things very well. My kids know I love them, as I tell them every day, as well as by the way I hug them often, etc. We do have ongoing communication by all the ways listed. We talk in the car, we read books every night. We always eat dinner as a family. And I do believe we have fun together.
But that leaves 4 of the areas that I am failing at. On the way to my parenting class, I finished up my homework by talking to Summer about these 8 keys, and what she feels I need help with. We went down the list one by one. Unconditional love-ok. Sheduled time-this is a problem. Then she stopped, and asked if she was going to get in trouble with being honest. I laughted and told her that I was taking this class to be a good mom to her. Bless her heart, she told me I already was a good mom. I told her that I just wanted to be the best mom I could for her, and this class was helping me.
So she told me that I needed more scheduled time with Lucas and her because it seemed like I was always working, or checking my email, or just busy with something else. And when I brought up the third and fourth points – focused attention and eye contact – she said that sometimes when she was talking, I was listening, but not hearing. I’d be distracted. The rest of the things were fine, until we got to “Pray Together”. I pray all the time…in my head. I have been very private in prayer, as that has been my life-long habit, as it is my mom’s. So my kids are not really learning about prayer through me. But then Summer and I got on the subject of prayer, and she let me know that she also prays all the time…in her head. So this is just a classic example that kids do learn by example. And it also surprised me that she was praying, and let me know that she is soaking up some of the things I am teaching her.
So the things I need to work on:
-Giving my kids the focused attention they deserve, and doing things with them regularly.
Of course there are going to be times when I am busy, and that’s when I need to tell them to hold on until I’m finished so that I can give them my undivided attention. Saying “Uh huh, Summer, that’s nice” while reading my newspaper isn’t going to cut it. And the times when I am on the computer when I could be with them and doing something with them needs to be curbed. Those things can wait until school time or after their bedtime.
There are the regular times during the day when we can pray: bedtime and mealtime. And these are good times to teach how to pray: Thank God, pray for others, pray for self if needed, anything else. Mealtimes are thinking God ONLY. And this gives them a guideline to follow. But we can also pray spontaneously. How neat would it be for them to witness their mommy thanking God OUTLOUD as she drives, or as she witnesses a beautiful day, etc? This would teach them so much:
-God is always there to hear us.
-God is the one responsible for all our blessings.
-We can pray anytime, anyplace.
-It can get them in the habit of praying anytime.
Loving Father, thank you for my children, Summer and Lucas. Thank you for this opportunity to learn so much more about how to raise the children you’ve placed in my care in Your loving ways. Thank you for a daughter who communicates her needs so plainly and clearly, even if I never heard her before. Thank you for placing a way for me to listen in my path. I am eternally greatful right now, and filled up with love. Thank you!