Our kids want to feel valued and accepted.
They want to know they are some of the most important people in our lives.
Do we always communicate this in a way they understand?
Inc Magazine recently published a great article called 10 Habits of Remarkably Charismatic People, which basically outlined how to make others feel valued.
Charismatic people are just people who make others feel significant, special, wanted, loved. That’s attractive. Some people might use these principles selfishly (faking an interest in others so they’ll be liked or gain a business edge), but as moms, we can genuinely employ this universal wisdom to help our children feel loved, and in turn to open their hearts to us as we become attractive to them.
I thought about these 10 principles and realized that there are similar ones that apply to parenting. Here’s what I came up with.
Listen, don’t lecture.
Having a conversation with a kid takes a lot of time. It is so tempting to cut them off and just give advice, but this won’t win them over. I find that when my girls are upset, sometimes I have to hold them, let them cry, and listen to their hearts for about half an hour before they actually find the words to express the real problem. I would miss that if I jumped right into into fix-it mode or advice mode.
Don’t just hear what you want to hear.
Moms, we need to truly listen to our children and seek to relate to them. Don’t brush off their thoughts and feelings even if they seem silly to you. Remember what it was like when you were a kid? Share that! Let your children know that you “get” them!
Give them your full attention.
Turn off the computer, put away your phone, stop scanning while you half-listen. Look them in the eye and focus on them.
Serve selflessly even if you don’t feel rewarded or appreciated.
Mothering can feel like a thankless task sometimes. I confess, I have been guilty at times of saying something like, “I went to all the effort of (repainting your room, cooking your favorite food, throwing you a party)—and this is the thanks I get?” I know, not my finest mom moments. But true sacrificial mothering doesn’t look for something in return. It just serves like Jesus.
Don’t lord your position over your children.
“Because I’m the mom, that’s why!” Who hasn’t said that—or at least thought it? We mamas shouldn’t lord our authority over our children. There was a time in my life when I thought good mothering was strict and adversarial. That authoritarian attitude drove a huge wedge in my relationship with my children. When I started exercising my parental authority in a gentle, sacrificial way, I saw my children’s hearts open to me.
Look for Part 2 tomorrow.