What Do Children Need From Parents? Help Them Understand and Express Their Needs

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What do children really need besides food, shelter and protection? Have you ever wondered what your responsibility is to ensure that your child will grow up to be a contributing member of society? As a mom, foster mom and grandmother as well as a family educator and relationship coach, I have learned a few things about what children really need. Surprise, it is not the latest toy or name brand clothing.

Following are a few notes that your child would tell you if he or she could. Relax, none of them cost anything but some time and attention.

1. Spend time with me. The most wonderful present you can give me is your presence in my life. Laugh and play games with me. Take me to the park and push me on the swings. Let me help with the chores. Read to me every day so that I will develop a love of learning. I want your attention.

2. Set boundaries and guidelines that will allow me the freedom to growand develop but keep me safe and teach me right from wrong. Be consistent in your expectations so I know what my limits are. Use natural and logical consequences for unacceptable behavior. I learn better when you tell me what you want instead of what you don't want.

3. Discipline, but don't punish me. Discipline is teaching and guiding. The root of the word discipline comes from disciple and means leader and teacher. Punishment is a short-term measure and hurts my feelings. Hitting, yellingand spanking will only teach me to hit, yell and spank.

4. Respect me as a child of God, as well as your child. Listen to me without passing judgment. Talk to me without nagging or yelling. Hug me for no reason and value me for being just who I am. I will do the same for you. Respect is a two way street and I learn how to deal with others as you deal with me.

5. Tell me you love me every day. You know you love me, but I don't know it unless you tell me in words and show me in actions that your love is unconditional. Remember there is a difference between what I do (deed) and me (doer) Tell me you are proud of my progress and accomplishments. Encourage me as I learn to do better each day. Learning is a process and help me to know that you love me even if I do make a mistake or screw up occasionally.

It seems pretty simple, isn't it? I said simple, not easy. If you grew up in a negative environment, you may fall back into old patterns of behavior under stress. But, you don't have to parent that way. You have a choice.We always have options and choices. Our children deserve our best efforts.

You Can Change Old Belief Patterns
You are invited to a free teleclass and radio show each Thursday about various aspects of family relationships and communication. Check at our main website for the schedule. You will feel they have been designed just for you and they have.

Judy H. Wright is a parent educator, family coach, and personal historian who has written more than 20 books, hundreds of articles and speaks internationally on family issues, including end of life. You are invited to visit our blog at www.AskAuntieArtichoke.com for answers and suggestions which will enhance your relationships. You will also find a full listing of free tele-classes and radio shows held each Thursday just for you at www.ArtichokePress.com.

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