Me: "Why do you listen to me?"
My Daughter: "because Mommy loves me."
My daughter is running around with her friends on the playground and she is about to do something I am not comfortable with. I say, "Please do not do that." and my daughter listens. The mom next to me is astonished, and turns to me with a questioning look, then tells me what a great listener my child is. I am always proud, and thank the mom for the compliment. This situation has happened to me many times and so I decided to write about the relationship I have with my child, and why she listens to me so well.
My parenting style is my own, as I did not read about it online or find it in a text book. I am a smart woman, college graduate with many employment positions that involved caring for or teaching children. Through my life I was always "good" with children, other people have said that many times. I definitely feel like I understand kids and relate to their needs and emotions. Also, I always wanted to be a mom, a really great mom who had great relationships with her children, and so I adapted a parenting style that allows for that kind of growth and respect.
If asked to describe the type of parent I am, I would say I am authoritative. There are a set of rules and guidelines that I expect my children to follow, however my household is democratic and everyone is listened to and responded to in a respectful manner. I do not use punishment if I am disobeyed, but rather a system that allows my daughter to learn from her wrong doing. Parenting to me involves communication, clear boundaries and guidelines, and support for each other within our family.
I believe that rules for my children should be based on their health, safety, and happiness. For example; holding hands in a parking lot, not going near the oven, and no hitting or causing harm to people or animals are some rules that I enforce strictly. I use rules to set clear boundaries for my children, so they know what is not allowed, and my daughters know that the rules I enforce are for good reason, I tell them my rules keep them safe and healthy.
Beyond the above mentioned nonnegotiable safety rules, I try to approach each situation that my daughters and I encounter during our days as if they were my best girl friends. I am not saying that I am the mom who thinks their child is their best friend, I know the difference. But, when my child is upset about something, I listen to what is bothering them and try to help them feel better. If my judgement seems unfair to my kids, I give them the open floor to tell me why they think it is unfair. That does not mean I will change my answers but I do give my children the opportunity to be listened to.
I treat my children with respect and they in turn treat me with respect. Kids learn a great deal through observation and repeating what they see other people do. If I yell they will learn to do the same; but if I use patience and kindness hopefully they will copy my behaviors. Also, I always try to put myself in their shoes before I react to anything. Trying to see the world through their eyes really helps me approach each situation with a level of fairness I believe is appreciated.
I do not believe that being a mom means being in power over my kids, but rather a role of nurturing, teaching, and guiding. Listening is a communication tool that I need to teach my children. The best way to accomplish that is by listening to them which in turn teaches my children to listen to me.