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We've all heard that parenthood comes with no instructions. We all make up rules as we trudge along. Not all the rules we make work out great. Not everything that worked with us as kids, is going to work on our kids. The kids have their personalities, we have ours and then there's the outside environment, aka technology.
I have learnt the importance of 'the voice in your head'. I 'hear' my dad's voice in my head often enough to realize it is real. Some of the gems that I remember are
- Notice Your Surroundings. Always be aware of what is happening around you.
- It's better to be the head of a donkey than the tail of a horse (on the job front)
- Never hide your smile/laugh.
And so many more. And I can literally hear it in his voice.
As my kids were growing up, I used to offer my own gems. I never said it with the intention of putting my voice in their heads; although I would joke about it. When college seemed a long way away, my daughter would express a desire to move to the other coast...I would always tease her and say 'Go wherever you want to, I'll just move into an apartment next door to you.' Ha ha. Or, "That's ok. I'll just sit inside your head."
On a more serious note though, it is scary to consider your child - this little human whose entire life has so far been protected under your hawk eye - will be out where you cannot be available 24/7. You know they are going to make mistakes; you know they are going to fall; you know their hearts will break - and yet, you have to stand back, watch as they stumble and hope you have given them the tools they need to not just walk but dance through Life.
When my son was in middle school, he discovered YouTube. I don't mean watching it, I mean being a YouTuber. There are gamers out there, who apparently spend their life gaming and making a ton of money. Sounds like a dream even to me...let alone a young tweenager.
When he expressed his desire to start a YouTube channel, my husband began his response (like all his responses usually are) with a resounding 'NO!'
On a side note...the NO has become a family joke now. Two years ago, my son gifted my husband on Christmas a red button that says NO in different ways.
I will also add here that you never want to start a response with No (I haven't been able to change my husband on that but maybe you will be more receptive). When my kids come to me with something that I don't want to say yes to, my response always is 'Let me think about it.' This gives me time to gather my arguments on why I don't think it is a good idea...or sometimes, I will say yes but with a caveat or condition.
Because of this, my kids are comfortable coming to me and there is better open communication. The moment you start the sentence with No, a> you have closed your mind to their idea; and b> they have shut their ears on your why.
So if you want to be the voice in your kid's head, you have to first make sure they are listening to you. And the best way to get them to listen to you, is for you to listen to them. And I mean, genuinely listen. Have conversations.
I have floundered and blundered my way through the last 20 years of parenthood. It's not been easy and it's not always been pretty. The instinct is always to protect them and to do everything we can to make Life easy for them.
However, if there is just one gem you takeaway from this mini-series, let this be your reminder - You don't want to just protect them, you want to teach them to protect themselves. In our efforts to be there for our kids, we forget that time is not our friend. One day we will not be there to protect them and so, it is our DUTY as parents to give them the tools they need and to equip them to be able to take on all the challenges that Life is going to throw their way.
And this is where the idea of being 'The Voice in Your Head' becomes so very important. While we cannot physically be with them forever, our thoughts and our guidance can. Our teachings can help them in their time of need. And to make sure that they do, you need to be consistent and repetitive.
I want to complete the story of my YouTuber-to-be son. And this is important, so pay attention. I convinced my husband (we try to show a united front to the kids) to let him try his hand at it. For one, I knew it is not easy as it looks. We told him we would support him in this venture as long as his grades did not drop (that is another voice that is always in his head - he can do whatever he wants as long as his grades do not suffer).
My kids joke that they hear my voice in their head. I smile and give myself a mental pat on the back.
Next: "You are the Safety Net" >>
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Hi, I am Richa and am super excited to see you here. I enjoy interior designing so much I went back to study it. Now armed with knowledge, passion and a vision to make 'happy homes', I hope this site will give you all the tools you need to make your kid's room happy too. Read More...