by Wendy Pegan
In reflecting on my 33 years of raising six children, I realize that each child has given me a different perspective on the roles we play as keepers of hope. Life has changed, but the important things have not, like worrying about their education, health, safety, if I’m doing a good job, and upholding my core values.
What I think now is what I’ve learned from my children that have been important lessons.
- Listen to how they feel you are doing as a parent. Remember when you were a kid you thought, “I can’t wait until I’m an adult and no one can tell me what to do?” Well, life has a way of repeating itself. If you’ve ever heard yourself saying something your parents said to you – and wished you hadn’t — perhaps you are repeating unhealthy behaviors.
- Apologize to your kids. We often telling kids to apologize for behaviors we consider inappropriate, but do we apologize for blowing our cool, or saying something we later regretted blaming it on stress?
- Negotiate discipline. What works for one child doesn’t always make sense to another; kids mature differently. So discuss with them what they believe is appropriate discipline, within limits of course.
- Use quiet time. Teach your children how to quiet themselves internally. As a young mother, I needed time before the kids were awake to center myself. I still do. In a world of electronic communication and constant noise, distractions can keep us from settling down.
- Have dinner together. Today there are endless ways to connect instantly with people everywhere, but too often we are disconnected from those right in front of us. Meals are a great time to reconnect daily and learn what is happening in your children’s lives.
- Be there. Looking at the Mother’s Day cards I’ve saved for 30 years, my children viewed my counseling career as simply “talking to people all day long until it was time to come home.” Still, they remembered I loved cooking their favorite meals, getting to know their friends, and attending their concerts. They remembered being at the dinner table was important and discipline meant more than punishment. They knew I was there for the boyfriend breakups, bad dates, best friend betrayals, dead goldfish, and the confusion and sorrow of friends dying too soon. I ache for my clients who missed all this with their mothers.
I passed a sign today that read, “Everything is about relationships. The rest is just details.” It made me recall a drawing my youngest son gave me in which I was surrounded by books up to the ceiling, with the word “STRESS” written on them all. I keep it in my calendar as a reminder of what is important in my life. Happy Mother’s Day!
About the Author:
Wendy Pegan is a Relationship and Communications Expert, Mediator, and founder of Creative Relationship Center where she mediates for couples, divorces and businesses. Learn more at www.creativerelationshipcenter.com. To schedule an appointment, call 716-446-9226.