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Qualities Needed to Meet the Needs of a Growing Child

Aug 17, 2007
Qualities needed for raising children are quite different from qualities needed on the job. Many times parents have difficulty adjusting to the role of parents and try to run the family as they would a corporation. This can stifle the child's desire to achieve and drive them from the parent. Some of the keys for cultivating growth in you children are listed below.

A tolerance for repeated errors. Children are learning everything there is to know about life. A toddler, as they learn to walk, falls down a lot. In elementary school no child completes a year of arithmetic without errors. Teens make many mistakes in the complex arena of personal relationships. It is through these errors that they learn.

Stability. Knowing that home is a safe, nurturing environment where they can come and be loved just as they are is vital to the emotional health of children. Strive to make your home as stable and safe as possible.

Plenty of time for family activities. Doing things together as a family creates a sense of unity and solidarity among family members. Many parents are so caught up in the need to make more money, or even in their own interests and hobbies that there is no time left for family activities.

Patience. Even the best behaved child can try a parent's patience at times, and some children try a parent's patience almost constantly. Cultivating patience, while avoiding being overly permissive, is essential to a good relationship with a child.

Emphasis on process, surprises, and changes as the child matures. Fast growing children can constantly surprise and delight us with new knowledge, new achievements and different ideas. Being open to change and delighted by it, rather than bemoaning it and wishing for a previous time when"he was so sweet" will make the child feel valued.

A total commitment to others. There is no greater commitment to others than becoming a parent. The child will consume your life until they are out of your home, and a strong commitment will follow them even then. And you will be stronger for it.

A softness and willingness to bend. While the commitment you make to your child will require a strength you may not know you have, your love of them requires a softness that may be out of character. As they grow and reach the age where they begin to reason with you, even if there are many errors in their reasoning at first, you must listen with an open heart and be willing to change your stance when they have a good argument.

A tolerance for chaos. There will be times when even the most well ordered house full of children appears to be in total chaos. In the midst of the constant process of change that is growing up you cannot expect to be able to maintain order at all times. There will be times of either physical or emotional chaos that will pull the whole family in. Be aware that these are opportunities for a new way of doing or looking at things.

An understanding that failure promotes growth. If everything were perfect all the time there would be no stimulus for change and growth. Since you do not want to change the child's diaper for the rest of its life you are pleased that the child eventually realizes that a wet, messy diaper is uncomfortable. Avoid the impulse to smooth the way for a young child so that they never experience failure. Someday they will have to face the real world and you want them to learn from little, manageable failures so that they can be prepared to face the world as an adult.

A desire to promote independence in others even if their ways are not your ways. Your children will, most likely, not follow in your footsteps. Give them the opportunity to cultivate their interests, even if they are not your interests. They will have different talents than you , and if you do not give them the opportunity to develop their talents they will be stuck in a place that does not make them comfortable.

A relaxed acceptance of embarrassment. From the time they are born children will have the capacity to embarrass you. This will be exaggerated when they approach their teen years. While it is an accepted fact that teens are embarrassed by their parents, it is talked about less that teens will embarrass their parents. It is all part of growing up.

Gentleness. Infants need to be treated with exceeding gentleness physically. As children grow they will need extreme gentleness emotionally. This does not mean never confronting them over their behavior. It does mean confronting them with compassion.

A true respect for your child's activities free from comparison with your own. If you are a father who excelled in football and you have a daughter who is a high school cheerleader this is easy to do. But what if you were the star quarterback and you have a son who is a barely functional guard on the C team but enjoys it. Or what if your son prefers ballet? Look for the good things about your child's activities and respect the amount of work they put into being good at what they want to be good at.

Ability to listen patiently while the child talks. If you listen to the prattle of a preschooler, or the winding description of a movie by a six year old you will keep them talking to you. Then, if you are there and still listening without judgement, you will hear the really important things from your 14 or 16 year old. If you don't listen when they are young you will lose them and it will be really difficult to get them back when they are in their teens and beyond.

Ability to put another's needs ahead of your own. This starts even before birth. An infant will not survive if a parent does not put their own needs ahead of the infants. It continues. Many teenagers would not survive without their parents putting the teen's needs ahead of their own.

While no one can be a perfect parent, cultivating these qualities in yourself will assure that you will be a good parent. A good parent is all that you need to be.
About the Author
Lynn Doxon has had a part in raising three adopted daughters, two stepsons and 35 foster children. she has three grandsons, two of whom are being supported by their mother's at home business at www.payitforward4profits.com
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