"Throughout this book, I felt Bruce had a secret window into my own life and private thoughts. Many private feelings I am currently dealing with were addressed and revealed in a manner that made me feel it is not only normal, but I am truly not alone in this. I was surprised that I cried while reading it and the comfort that the words brought me. I read tons of self-help books, among other types of books, and this book actually gives me hope and things to look forward to. My tears were from the fact that I am facing the words I read. I have been getting negative feedback from outside sources and these words reassured me not to listen, keep them out of your life and do what is right. The section on the other home/parent opened my eyes and freed me. I did not go into reading this book thinking it would help me on such a deep emotional level." ~Dorothy Justice, Vice Chair-Community Action Partnership

October 29, 2012

21 Not-So-Obvious Ways to Love and Support Your Children

There are more creative ways to support and love your children than the obvious, so they are subsequently preparing even at a young age for life ahead.
There are more creative ways to support and love your children than the obvious, so they are subsequently preparing even at a young age for life ahead.

1)    Learn to understand your child’s world - During conversation over dinner I would learn and understand my daughter's world listening to her ideas, thoughts, and imagination without judgment. This was my opportunity to show my children individually I’m vested, they are important, and I approve of them lovingly and with acceptance.

2)    Explore together, learn together, grow together - Every opportunity I had, I did my best to bring the outside world to my children through new experiences. Some would eventually become family rituals
and traditions. We were spontaneous and did road trips around our state finding and learning everything we could about our immediate surroundings. Once a year I attempted to be Colorado’s greatest outdoorsman and we camped far and wide. As they grew older we opened our boundaries and reached for every shoreline. During these excursions, we developed time for learning about our selves and each other.

3)    Create rituals - Organized efforts can transform and bring love and lasting memory. Rituals would become traditions--the more we enjoyed the more we revisited to share time and time again. Rituals and traditions alike bring family together. Family rituals provide opportunity for re-affirming and developing family values, faith, and life experiences together.

4)    Use my playground theory - When my kids were young we had a weekly ritual going to the local playground. My theory became, if I let my little ones run the gamut --always observing from afar, engaging when time warranted and letting them soar when they released me-- their confidence and happiness would shine. My confidence and beaming smile would be their inspiration. My outward and embracing arms would become a landing and launching pad for each. As they grew older, their surroundings and environment changed, though my endearing and inspiring confidence remained.

5)    Encourage activity - From the household to the playground to more structured environments such as school, organized sports, or any other set of a number of intellectual and/or physical interactive interests, new stepping stones provided would inspire my children to take larger steps.

6)    Coach them - As parent and coach, I supported and showed my kids and others how to manage emotional curves. Children can be hard on themselves or they may want to quit due to adverse situations. Helping them weigh situations objectively with facts while relaying the message--giving up on themselves or even quitting will only cheat them in the end. The hidden message is that by not giving up, your child will progress through good practical experience and lessons that will carry into their adult life. Moreover, you are teaching your child you believe in them when they don’t believe in themselves.

7)    Teach them - Beyond my own self-discipline and desire to be a wonderful dad and model in my children’s lives, came preservation, courage, and self-effacing acts of kindness. I embrace their young hearts in lieu of their experience--I know I can make mistakes too.

8)     Tough love - I love my kids even if it means being stern and stubborn for their own good. Every step I utilize has some benefit to my children even if they don’t see through it or understand it initially. I stand my ground knowing when they have their own kids, they will get it.

9)     Put them in a position of success - The responsibility I accept with each of my children is in conscious decisions to ask good pertinent and intelligent questions. Their response may in effect raise more questions, but their answer isn’t as important as much as their own insight, awareness, and perspective on the issues.

10)  Build structure - Consistent and predictable routines for your child helps them feel safe and secure. Further it allows them to focus on more important things such as: being a kid, making new friends, having fun, utilizing their imagination and creativity, being happy, school, and other kid stuff, etc…

11)  Be there when it counts - My kids success today is a testament to the consistent and predictable love, support, guidance and being a dependable and reliable person in their lives. Protect them. Be a resolute force in their lives with everything they do.

12)  Tuck them in at night - I would make the ritual of getting to their rooms just in time for an, “I love you”, share some of the highlights of the day, and maybe some thoughts and plans for the days ahead. I found during this time my kids could be engaging, would ask really important questions and they enjoyed being a part of making plans and having input. They closed their eyes on a happy note ready for a new day.

13)  Raise a champion - Raising your children with the concept of the old wise saying, “…it takes a village …”, will support your child’s overall outlook. The more people involved in your child’s life the more likely he/she will benefit from the many views, outlooks, values, and understanding. More relationships and therefore opportunity equates to more success in my opinion. If you take the outlook your child is a champion from day one, they will absorb your passion. 

14)  Play chess - Any one-one games with a child will offer your time and bonding opportunity. The more time you spend, without room for judgment or discipline, is a good thing. As an added advantage, your child may learn strategy, anticipation, advance steps from your play--incidentally I never let my kids win--I taught them how to win by modeling. Eventually one day they would win, as planned, and it marked a significant time in their lives.

15)  Don’t always run to the rescue - Perhaps the hardest part of being a parent is watching your child fail; the proverbial face plant in the midst of one of life’s critical moments. There is no guidebook on how a child should endure life’s little challenges. To leap or not to leap? Knowing when is the right time to jump in or to back away and look busy for your child’s sake is a delicate balance.

16)  Take risks -  Taking risks is ok, if your child understands and is ready to accept the consequences. Helping children feel comfortable with risk will serve worthy to further them self in life. Understanding consequences can be a remarkable tool for your teen. Sharing with him/ her and acknowledging potential risk allows your child to better plan and prepare for events. Risk can be a good word. Your child will think realistically about his/ her actions and consider what consequences lay ahead. Your child will feel empowered to make wise decisions.

17)  Participate in sports - Even at the very lowest recreational level, sports can expose a child to social interaction influenced primarily by positive situations. Some not so positive issues in sports will confront your child, though if recognized and supported properly can help build character in your child. Exposure to sports at any level will open your child to problems, which may parallel life in general--these are the influences you want for your child to help prepare them for every day life.

18)  Never reprimand -  Being a parent provides us some inalienable rights, but when raising children to be adults, you may find it challenging to get the right balance that works with your teen. As adults, we don’t reprimand each other. What would happen if you were to start reasoning with your child with good rational thinking and understanding of the issues as if you were mentoring?

19)  Make tough decisions - Decisions about discipline can be challenging, but we make choices because we love our children even if its not immediately apparent to our kids. It not only means we love our children, but that we love our self too. All together, you are raising your children to love and be loved. Giving love and accepting and being loved are equally important; loving your self supports the entire process. One day your child will reward you many times over for your undying love, recognizing not only the sacrifices, but also the tough love that can walk hand-in-hand too.

20)  Be emotionally responsive - I choose conscious decisions and emotional responsiveness because I know my children are watching. I relate with each child differently and with individuality because they are unique and wonderful human beings, but also mutually exclusive in their own right–-I know these garner strength in my child’s own responsiveness to manage challenges from their perspective. I know in my heart how I relate to each will carry over in some form to their children. 

      21)  Put stock in your outlook - It’s our passive impact on our children that generates the single most benefit. Our children are watching. While proper discipline, education, family and value systems have combined benefit, it's our impact or how we value our self, our goals, and our relationships that attribute the most success to our young.

Bruce Buccio resides in Colorado, USA,  is a Rebuilding Coach and Expert and soon to be published Author. Today, he writes primarily inspired by experiences raising his children, but also writes about inspiration, growth, and love.

-photo credit: bonavista8ker/ Flickr

© 2012 Bruce Buccio

1 comment:

  1. This is a wonderful reminder to work at connecting with kids. It takes creativity,dedication and hard work to give kids the tools and skills they will need to be successful adults. This is particularly true for kids dealing with divorce and separation. Thanks for the read!