Trees in full foliage, longer days, warm weather…. summer is here! For those of us with children, it’s our best chance to relax from tightly-scheduled days of school and after-school activities, providing room to bask in summer living and enjoy precious family time together.
We all remember our childhood summers – the large chunks of time in which we were free from school, and could do by and large, what we wanted. Even going to camp as youngsters or working as teenagers didn’t mar the brilliance of summer. We may also remember them as times of greater interaction with our family members in general because of the extra free time we had. Childhood memories like these are often cemented in the memory banks of our life.
For this reason, the quality of our interactions with one another during these pivotal periods is of vital importance. As the adage goes, our children learn what they live. We parents are their primary role models, so it is our responsibility to ensure that our communication and actions make them feel worthy, loved, secure and happy.
How? It starts with being aware of your thoughts, because your thoughts translate directly into actions. And these will impact your children in positive, or less than positive ways, depending on what they experience.
Here are a few ideas to consider to be the best role model for your children:
Have a positive mental attitude. Are you generally cheerful and positive? How do you react in times of stress? If you are able to show your children a positive mental attitude, regardless of the circumstances, they learn to be naturally cheerful and positive. This develops their emotional security and self-confidence. Equally important, they learn that no matter what happens, they can handle it, just like you. Affirmation: I have a positive mental attitude and easily handle any situation.
Be gentle on yourself. If we criticize ourselves and compare ourselves to others, we enter a losing race. No one is perfect, so why should you be? Showing your children that you genuinely like and accept yourself as you are, gives them permission to do the same. They come to realize that it’s okay to be who they are, and that we can always learn and improve ourselves. This deeper understanding instills a sense of self-respect and worthiness that is more important to their happiness than anything that can be bought. Affirmation: I love and approve of myself.
Be open and willing to learn. Often we can have fixed ideas about what should or shouldn’t be, and judgemental attitudes towards others. More than likely, we inherited these from well-meaning caregivers, but they inhibit us from being true to ourselves and living to our potential. Like you, your children are unique creations from a divine source that have a special purpose. Allow them to proudly express who they are, without criticizing. Be patient with their mistakes. Encourage the goodness that you see in them, and be constructive in your communication, so that they will always feel free to talk to you. Your willingness to let them ‘be’ will bring them self-fulfilment and success. Affirmation: I am open to learning and growing with my children.
Make time for important things. A life of balance implies taking care of the needs and wants of yourself, as well as others. Apart from work time, do what brings you personal joy. Eat well, exercise, and stop unhealthy habits. All of these actions teach children that you prioritize and value yourself. They too will follow suit. Setting aside time as often as possible to talk and play with your children tells them that they are important, and fosters greater love between you. Affirmation: I love taking time for myself and my family.
You needn’t be a perfect parent to be the best parent for your child. None of us are, and that’s okay. It is your willingness to be the best version of yourself that will make you their greatest teacher. By incorporating some of these new thought patterns into your life, this is sure to be a summer that you and your children will cherish.❖