Parenting Simply is Priceless
Parenting is the thing we are often least prepared for but have most expectations of!
Parenting requires high levels of empathy, a strong sense of being tuned into the physical and emotional needs of a child and a basic understanding of what all children need to function and grow and what it is reasonable to expect a child to be able to do and feel. Many parents have to learn these skills and this knowledge as it is not just 'in us' to know how to parent but we can all learn it so that's a relief.
One of the most crucial things for a child is to have a parent who is emotionally responsive and available to them. Hygiene standards may not be perfect, diet may be at times interesting, nappies may not always be promptly changed, homework may not always be done, school uniform variable but if a parent is focused on the emotional needs and well-being of their child then most other things can be sorted at a later stage.
Early engagement with a baby, called attachment, is the time when the baby makes a sound and some one responds with a smile, a cuddle or some baby talk and input at this stage is priceless.
The child who comes out of pre-school to have a parent not on their phone or hurrying them along but stopping to talk to them and check in with them and chat through their day on the way home
The teenager who falls through the door after a day at school and goes straight to their room but gets a gentle knock on the door and a quick chat with some one prepared to see past the scowl or seeming lack of response is priceless.
Parenting can be complex but the simple act of reconnecting every day as often as possible in a range of low key ways pays dividends for relationships and a child's sense of self worth. As I wrote in my Blog, Attachment and other squirrels, it is these simple things which make a difference, especially if relationships have been struggling.
I am a keen rugby fan and when things are not going well in a game a retired rugby commentator will often say, "they just need to do the simple things well". I could not agree more!