The other day I was at my grandparent’s house with my daughter, complaining about my job. They don’t like me.. I don’t make any money there.. all the things. Suddenly my seven year old pipes in and shouts, “WELL QUIT THEN!” I got kind of embarrassed, and did something I think a lot of adults do with kids.
I immediately told her to be quiet, and that she didn’t know what she was talking about. I don’t know that she thought anything of it, but in the moment I actually felt like I was belittling her. In reality, I already had my mind set to quit. In fact I’d went job hunting just that week, and found a new position somewhere else. I was really just taken aback by her seemingly quick solution to my problem, so I gave a quick snappy response.
Respect, with a Side of Boundaries
Now, I’m not saying that we should allow our kids to talk to us like they’re the adults. We most definitely need to have set boundaries. But that moment reminded me that there’s this narrative between adults and kids. You know the one. Adults are smarter and know so much more than kids so the kids should just be quiet and listen.
And yes, it’s true that as adults we have more life experience, and may know more than our kids. But that doesn’t mean we can’t respect them and listen to what they have to say. Because if we stop to think about it, a lot of the seemingly insignificant things that our small children have to say, make a big impacts.
So while making sure that our boundaries stay respected, we can also respect that our children have thoughts and feelings of their own. And when we take the time to hear them, it can so often be the case that it’s our children, that are actually teaching us a thing or two.
Big Hearts in Small Packages
In my upcoming children’s book, There’s Something About “I Love You,” the mom expresses in sort of this fantastical way, how her daughter makes her feel. It’s not only an acknowledgement, but an expression of appreciation.
Though it’s the mom’s job as a single parent to provide for her daughter, it proves to be that the daughter takes care of her mom in return. In the very simple way of showing her love, when she needs it most.
Beyond listening to our kid’s when they speak, or hearing their ideas, we can show them they matter by appreciating who they are as people. We can express our joy when they make us, or other’s around them feel good! Something that children seem to do without even trying.
Our kids have big hearts. They automatically see the good in people, and their minds aren’t clouded by the ideas of the world. I couldn’t tell you the amount of times my road rage has been subsided by my daughter in the backseat saying something that humbles me.
Why it Matters
As I was thinking about this topic, I was reminded of the instance in the bible where Jesus lovingly invited the children to come speak with him after the adults tried to shoo them away. Can you imagine how that made them feel? It was really just a way for him to show us how God, who is so much smarter and better than all of us still allows us to approach him. He never belittles us.
Even as adults, I think we sometimes find ourselves in situations where we feel less than. I know that I have, and it never feels good. We all need to feel like we matter.
So when we listen to our kids, or express appreciation for who they are, it shows them that they’re important. It’s also a way of showing them we care!
In turn, if they know we care they’ll be more likely to come to us when they need help. If they know they matter they won’t be afraid to express their own thoughts and feelings.
Low self worth can start at such a young age. And from experience, I can tell you it leads to nothing good. So by making our kids feel important, we’re helping instill in them a measure of self love and respect.
To keep up with my children’s book and more, check out my Instagram! I’ll be going live each Monday until the book launches to give weekly updates on the progress and give you more information about the book!