Saturday, December 31, 2011

Aspire to be a better parent, and you will be

It’s New Year’s Eve and this time every year we party like it’s 1999 and the next morning decide to make resolutions to be a better person for the year ahead.
I don’t really “do” resolutions. It seems to me that they are always made to be broken and that the really important ones should be thought of all year through, not just on January 1.
But with a new year ahead, it’s natural to have hope and optimism. 
Everyone can remember a “bad” year that they have had in the past where one horrible thing after another occurred in their life.
So we start 2012 with hope that it will be a good one, and this is where parenting resolutions – let’s call them aspirations instead can help.
The following words of wisdom I found written on the back of a bookmark printed by Just Kids, an early childhood organisation in Parramatta Park.
If I had my child to raise over again,
I’d finger paint more often and point the finger less.
I’d do less correcting and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less and know to care more.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious and seriously play.
I’d run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging and less tugging.
I would be firm less often and affirm much more.
I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I’d teach less about the love of power and more about the power of love.
To add to this are some of my personal aspirations which you may also recognise in your family life:
I will yell less often, and listen more.
I will read Hairy Maclary at bedtime, even though I’ve read it 50 times before.
I will cut up your dinner, even though you can probably do it yourself.
I will let you watch ABC4Kids, but I’ll watch it with you and we’ll dance together.
I will rock you to sleep, even though my arms are aching.
I will let you fill up your room with box constructions, even though I find them messy.
I will be a good role model and stop swearing in front of you.
I will try hard to stop saying “I’m busy” when you need me.
I will toilet train you.
I will not think about the housework when I’m snuggling with you.
I will continue to say “I love you” many times a day.
I will care less about the small stuff.
I will take more photos and videos of you.
I will allow you to express a range of emotions without putting a good or bad tag on them.
I will try to be more patient.
I will not say “stop crying” when you are upset and need to express your emotions.
I will not say “shut up” when you talk non-stop.
I will try to be more organised.
I will try to take each moment as it comes and not get worked up about you peeing on the floor, drawing with pen on the couch/quilt/floor/walls, or screaming at the dinner table.
I will try to be more tolerant of the chaotic times.
Being a better mother or father or grandmother or aunt or sibling  of a child is something you won’t give up on, you’ll always strive to do better.
So may 2012 be a year where all families connect, love and prosper with good health and happiness.


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