Love Before Education
Type “parenting” into Google and you’ll be presented with a slew of websites that offer advice on almost anything, toys, potty training, discipline, education – you name it and you can get advice on it. But if you’re like me, and you have actually read books and searched websites full of infant, toddler, and youngster advice, you’ll find that it’s pretty much all crap and you’ll always go back to what comes naturally to you anyway. And that’s what this article is about, doing what is natural rather than what a book or ill informed website tells you to do.
I have no patience for people who approach me to tell me what I’m doing wrong with my kids. I’ll always tell them, in quite impolite terms, that they are wasting their time if they think I give a crap what they have to say, because I don’t. This isn’t to say I don’t listen to advice, I just don’t listen to accusations. And neither should you. You love your kid and your kid loves you. Unless you’ve done something stupid to screw up that perfect harmony then your parenting is no doubt as good as it’s going to get.
Most parent/kid conflicts that I’ve seen have involved a lack of focus on either the parents part or the kids part. By focus I mean, attention to that which is of utmost importance. An example that I am familiar with is teaching my kids to read. I’ve had days that I am so intent on teaching some fine point of phonics that I am tuned out to what my child is saying and feeling I’ll try to cram the information in, and that when it ends in failure. We both become so upset that neither one of us accomplishes anything. So what’s my solution? Start every lesson by saying, “You know, Neil (or Alan), this lesson isn’t really that important. You’ll learn it if I teach well and you listen well.” If either I don’t teach well that day or they don’t listen well that day then we will just try again the next day. And my kids never want to do the same lesson over and over again (because kids naturally want to learn) so they will get it when they get it.
Mutual love, which is naturally occurring, leads to trust. Trust then spawns a desire to please, I want to please them and they want to please me. And that desire to please is what makes your attempt to educate, and their attempt to absorb information, successful. When either you or your kid is doubtful of the other’s support (love) then there will be failure. And that’s why all the advice in the world is crap. The key to your success is simply the communication of something you have already – love.