I Like You Just The Way You Are!
That famous quote came from children’s television personality, Mr. Rogers. Fred Rogers based his television show on the fact that if somebody cares about you, you will care about others. Think about how this applies to you and your children. When you look at your child, is it possible to overlook the flaws and love your child just the way she is? As parents, we spend much of our parenting time teaching and improving, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But I strongly believe that our children need more approval and love.
I see many parents who are chronically disappointed in their kids. When I ask parents in my workshops what would happen if they gave their children permission to be who they really are, many say they felt obligated to be disapproving. We live in an immediate society. At our fingertips, technology hands us urgent and precise answers to every question we have. Living in this world we begin to expect perfection. We must remember that this same approach does not work with our children. As parents we need to tone it down a notch when we are dealing with our kids. Parents must not focus on their children behaving perfectly just because they demand it. We all have a lifetime to work on becoming the best that we can be. Our children need that time. There are steps that must take place in a child’s life for them to grasp certain concepts. To help your children make it in the world, cut back a bit on the expectations and give our children some breathing room.
So how do we make sure our kids know we like them just the way they are?
(This advice is not only for parents, but grandparents too!)
Fun is a necessity! Spend time with your child. Relax and have fun with your children. Fun is what builds respect and strengthens your relationship. Laugh with your kids. You don’t stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop laughing.
Share your dreams and goals for your family. Too often we get caught up in the day to day happenings of our lives and forget to talk with our kids about why we do what we do. Children need to hear your stories of life experiences. That is how they will understand your values. If you share with them the goals you have for the family, they will better understand the decisions you make and your intentions.
Know your child and their capabilities. Every child has talents. Help your child excel by discovering what his are. You can’t expect your child to successfully make it into a prestigious college if they are struggling in high school. Parents set their kids up for failure and disappointments when their expectations are too high. Help them understand what they are capable of and then help them find the path to achieve those goals.
Compliment your kids. Who doesn’t need to be told good things? Notice when your child does something well. Everybody is good at something. Do they dress nicely? Get good grades? Play video games well? Does the dishes? Compliment them on small things, big things...basically anytime you catch them doing good.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we looked at people and jelly beans and we liked them all? And we didn’t just choose the people that we thought were pretty or smart, or ate just the red or black jelly beans because they were our favorite flavors, but realized that people and jelly beans come in a variety and we can enjoy something about each one and love them for what they are.