Friday, February 27, 2015

20 Things To Let Your Children Know That You "Like Them."

The other day as we were tucking Chelsea into bed she asked Jon and I this question, 

"Ummm, mom, you like me, because it looks like you like Sierra, Lexie, and Noah more."

You can imagine the look on my face when she asked me that question. The look was called guilt, and I was not surprised. I wasn't surprise because I feel as if I have been somewhat focusing my attention more on the oldest, and the youngest. I looked at Jon with a sad look because we both know we haven't been doing enough for Chelsea lately. 

We've been putting our energy and focus more on our oldest daughter who is out west trying to figure out her goals in life. As parents we can't help but to worry, and so we both know that we can't coddle our almost 20 year old too much because she makes her own decisions now. We realize that we can only give her advice. That still doesn't mean she's going to listen, but we have a voice, and can still give it. And the attention that I always give to Noah is because he's the only boy, and because time is fleeting I tend to focus more on him during the day...well into the evening! And as far as Lexie goes she seems to have her life under control. She's a 15 year old with a good head on her shoulders, and so we don't meddle too much in her life. We meddle just enough to let her know we love her, asking about her day, and constantly reminding her to make wise choices in all that she does. 

But enough about those three. 

My focus right now is on Chelsea. 

She has definitely become the middle child, and don't middle children get the least attention? I would never know because I wasn't the middle child. After talking to my mom yesterday for what seemed like forever (and we could have been on the phone all day long) really got the two of us thinking. She was telling me all about the mistakes she made with me, and how ignorant she was when she found out about my molestation because she didn't do anything to stop it. Till this day she keeps apologizing to me that it happened. She didn't know how to handle it. Like she said she was ignorant and clueless as to how she could have handled that situation so it made me think that she didn't love, or care for me. Especially since she stayed with the man until the day he died. All has been forgiven, and I keep telling her that, and I'm sure there will come a point where she will stop apologizing for it. 

There's nothing like that going on in our home, but there has been a lot of stress lately. And when I focus more on that stress than our children there's an issue...especially when a child asks you if you still like them. 

Although it may seem that I do give enough attention to her through photos life isn't "all that" with me. Truth is I really haven't, and there is no excuse. And I think that is why she has been lashing out to get our attention. Constantly fighting with her brother, and picking on Lexie when she comes home from school. I am grateful that she leaves her sassiness, and drama at home and that she doesn't take it to school or church. Her teachers both at school, and church constantly praise at how well behaved she is, and how helpful she is to everyone. Sometimes those are the kids you have to watch out for. I would have never known what was bothering her had she not told us, and for that I am extremely grateful to have a daughter who is not vague. Who is bold enough to tell us to our face with respect how she feels, and what's bothering her. She loves to talk, and now I know why. She is her own personality, and because she's so bold it makes me pretty pleased. Knowing that she won't keep anything inside like I did when I was little gives me hope that she will always make the right choices in this life. Just as she did the day she was bullied at school for defending one of her friends. That's the kind of child I'm proud to be raising. But not too proud when a child tells me, and her father (out of all people) if we like her because we aren't being too attentive to her. 

Well...that is all going to change. Time is fleeting with all of our kids, and you would think because they are all five years apart that it would be easier. Well...surprise it's not. It doesn't matter how far or close apart we have kids in age. Everyone has it hard. Motherhood is hard period. It doesn't matter whether you're 20 or 40 having a child. We just have our own different way of showing it, and handling it. 

So after having my daughter ask me the "do you still like me" question, and having the long talk my mother and I had about all our sad experiences that turned into wonderful memories here are some attributes that we can develop  and things to do as parents (at least for me) that will help our children give them an assurance that we do in fact like them, and I mean truly "like" them. 

In other words LOVE them. 

Go on more date nights.
Always kiss them goodnight. 
Read them a bedtime story. 
Hug them every chance you get. 
Ask them about their day when they come home from school. 
Compliment them not only on their accomplishments, but on the little things as well. 
Constantly tell them they are beautiful (or handsome!)
Splurge and take them out for ice cream (before dinner!) 
Let them know if there is something bothering them that you will always be there to LISTEN.
If they bring home a bad grade instead of reprimanding them, tell them "it's OK" & to do better.
Always believe them when they say they are being bullied, or mishandled in a way that is not appropriate.
Make them their favorite dinner & bake them their favorite dessert. 
Focus on their positive strengths more than their weaknesses. 
Help them with their weaknesses, and reassure them that they are strong.
Be a fun parent, and go outside and play with them at the park (or in the snow!)
Stop saying, "Just a minute" and tend to their needs (especially when they say PLEASE!)
Seriously listen to what they say whether it's a story they experienced at school instead of looking bored!
Give all your kids equal time so that they see no one is a favorite.
Pay attention, stop yelling, and always say I'm sorry.
Always tell them you love them. 

Yes...the past few months have been a little rough, and I am guilty of not accomplishing some of these things. Even though I feel as if I'm doing enough for my kids I know that as a parent, and mother of four I can do better. 

We can always do better. 

Giving each of my children equal time, and focusing on them at the same time can be tough, but finding balance is key. Not worrying too much is key. Yes...I believe that I am a good mother, and I know it'll all work out so that the question "do you like me" will never be uttered in our home again. 

"The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention."
~Richard Moss

Have a happy weekend! 

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