You Do Love Me

You Do Love Me

Grace,  my four year old granddaughter,   was unhappy with a painting she was working on.   I encouraged her to make some changes, or start a new one.

Instead she started whining.  This went on for a while.  She then knocked over the glass of water she had been using  to clean her brushes and water covered my phone.

I yelled at her.  

This upset  her and she started crying.     She left  the room.    

She is not used to being yelled at.  Yelling is a poor, lazy parenting technique and  I decided   years ago to stop using it.   

I gave her some time to calm  went over to the couch she was laying on.

“Grace, are we done being mad at each other so we can talk”

She turned away.

“Grace, we will talk later, but I want you to know I love you”.

She turned around, her eyes full of light,  a smile on her face, and she grabbed  my neck and hugged me hard, “Grandpa you do love me.”

My heart was crushed that I had caused her to doubt my love for her for even a moment.

I was reminded  how easy a child’s feelings get hurt.    She thought she had lost my love because I was upset.   

Four year olds see things in extremes.   An unkind word, or a raised voice, has more impact than many people  realize.   Words and tones must be chosen with care.   When  caregivers  are upset they need to careful with what they say and how they say it.  It is often  prudent to step away and calm down before dealing with a child.  

Children need to be reminded that you love them.   They need to hear it often, and see it practiced.   Make it a habit to daily tell your child how much they mean to you.  

It is also important for caregivers to own  their mistakes.  I told her I was sorry and  owned what I did wrong.   

Too often caregivers think they should not apologize.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.   When a caregiver makes a mistake a sincere apology is needed, and the sooner the better.  And it needs to be a real apology, not one coupled with what the child did wrong.  That lesson  is best reserved for a later time.

Fortunately, children are resilient, and quick to forgive.  We spent the rest of the afternoon playing, and  having a good time.  She should  soon forget that I yelled at her.

I will never forget that hug she gave me.

Children and Hot Rides

Children and Hot Rides

Many wonder how a parent could ever forget a child in the car.   As a social worker  and grandparent I provide a lot of transportion for children.  I have often worried that I might forget  and leave a child in the car.

 

People in my age bracket  say this never happened   years ago.   That may be, but years ago many children rode in the front  without a car seat.   It was not only harder to forget a child, but in the cases when it did happen the child could open the door or roll down a window.   That is not the case today.  

 

So why do we forgot?  Distraction is one reason.  

 

We often talk about multi-tasking as if it is a good thing.   It is not.  We need to train ourselves to focus on the task at hand.  When transporting a child the task at hand is taking care of them.  

 

It is easy to get distracted and forget.   In this day and age of cell phones it is even easier.   Getting a call as you pull into a parking space, with a quiet child in the car, increases the  possibility  of forgetting  a  child.  

 

 

Here are some easy things a care provider can do to help prevent this.

 

  1. Always keep something in the back seat  you have to take with you to do your daily routines.   This could be a good place for your cell phone.
  2. Put something on the passenger seat as a reminder that you have a backseat passenger.   A child’s toy is a good suggestion.  
  3. Get into the habit of always checking the back seat before locking your car.  Don’t just click the remote, look before you click.   

 

Don’t Hit That Child

Don’t Hit That Child

There is a meme which makes the  regular  rounds  showing a mother hitting a child.  Then it asks the question  if parents should be allowed to spank their child.

The answer is No.

Spanking is not  effective as a discipline tool.   In fact the opposite is true.     

Many studies show  the long term  negative effects of spanking.  But, because spanking has the short term effect  of controlling behavior these are ignored.

Hitting a child is not right.   

There are many good parenting tools.   All good ones are built on the premise  that  children are to be loved, respected, and nurtured.  

Often I have had  parents ask “what can I do to them when they don’t obey”.   The question should be what can I do for them.   

The answer:   Instill discipline.

Too often parents confuse discipline with punishment.    Nurturing discipline instills life long values in the child.  The child gains  a sense of who they are while teaching constraints.   It slowly teaches them how to handle life.  

Discipline, coupled with nurturing love, lets children know they are important to you.  

It also creates happy, successful children.   

Isn’t that what parents want for their children?