Sunday, September 25, 2011

A question parents should ask often

   Years ago I heard comedian Bill Cosby talk about playing with his grandchildren.  Apparently his son was shocked, because he grew up thinking Bill hated kids!  I suppose if we are doing our jobs as parents, our kids often wonder how much we like them.  I decided to try and change that.  I wanted my kid to know that I would always love him, even if I didn't like his attitude or behavior at a given moment.  I began to ask Matt "Are you feeling the love, son?" whenever something good happened.  When I started asking, Matt looked at me like I had two heads.  By the time I had asked him about ten times, he started to shrug, and kind of nod in agreement.  I wanted him to acknowledge how many times we happily helped him.
   Let's face it.  The early teenage years are a struggle.  Kids desperately need us to help with cash, rides, and many different favors, almost as much as they want us to be invisible.  As parents,  sometimes we feel the list is endless, so  I think we should use it to our advantage.  When my kid asked if I could drive a carload of kids to meet the schoolbus at dawn, then pick them up that same night at midnight from the ski trip.  I said ''yes".  Hey, if it made life easy, all the guys could sleep at our house both nights.  I know the kids and parents were grateful, and everyone said thanks.  I wanted my son to understand that we did stuff like that because we cared about him.  I thought it would always be obvious, and I was wrong.  Before we had a difficult or serious conversation, I'd say a quick prayer.  "Let him feel the love that I have for him".  It really works!
  I believe that when kids feel loved, they take our criticism better.  Life gets easier when kids realize that their parents like them, even though we may be angry at a particular moment.  Kids remember getting yelled at and grounded for a long time.  I think we can balance that off by having them acknowlege  the many positive things that happen.
   This is one of my personal experiences so take what you like and leave the rest.  Have a good week everyone....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.....

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