I am sure by now you have figured out the secret ingredient to your child's success. If you guessed Love, you are right. You have always known it and it is the driving force that keeps you going when at times you feel like you can't go on anymore. When your therapist calls to tell you they have to reschedule your visit to another day amidst the plethora of appointments you already have; when you're told you'll need to go see yet another specialist or doctor to figure out why your child is having a particular issue; it is the deep love that you have for your child that pulls you through.
I have been blessed in my career to see what true love is on a daily basis. As a developmental therapist I am allowed to come into families' homes, support them in the development of their young children and watch the profound love and deep dedication that people have for their children unfold right in front of me. It is through the observations of the thousands of interactions I have had with families and their children that I share with you the top 4 ways that love shapes the future success of your child. Written from the perspective of your child if your child could tell you what works.
1) Love is blind
Teach others to see me as you see me. Just as before I was born, you and others had a variety of dreams for me, the possibilities for me were endless and full of delight and excitement. These dreams continue and your deep love for me helps keep those alive. By you focusing on all of the things about me that I do well and sharing those with others, they can continue to see me as a child who is full of abilities instead of focusing solely on my limitations. This way others can use my strengths to help overcome the limitations I may face. So share with people what makes me smile and giggle, what I am good at, what we like to do together and how I learn things best.
When you show me you believe in me I can begin to believe in myself, which will give me a “can do” attitude.You can show me you believe in me by giving me lots of praise, compliments and encouragement. Saying things like "I am proud of you", "you can do it" and showing me without words like a thumbs up, a high five, or a big hug help me feel proud of myself and develop my self-esteem. So point out all of those amazing things about me because they keep me motivated to keep trying and help me become a confident person!
2) Love is compassionate
Learning new things can be hard for me sometimes and I may get upset or give up quickly when I don't get things to happen the way I want them to. When this happens, comfort me first and help me calm down. When you provide me with warm and understanding physical affection it helps my brain produce chemicals and hormones that give me a sense of well-being and safety. My brain is still developing and I am quick to become upset and frustrated. By you helping me calm in an affectionate way it helps my brain develop new connections that help me handle the stress of learning new things, making it easier for me the next time I try. This will help we grow up to be a person who handles stress well and show this same type of compassion in my future relationships with others.
3) Love is responsive
Be aware of those things that are difficult for me and be sensitive, sympathetic and flexible. My individual differences are what make me unique and if certain things make me scared or confused, make adaptations to make it easier for me. You can do this by attempting to understand why I may choose to do a certain thing or why I may respond to certain situations in a particular way. Observe me and try to interpret the subtle cues I give about what I may be feeling and try to help me make it better. Don't worry that you won't always be right, but if you keep trying we will figure it out together. Try to follow my lead and join me in something I am doing because then maybe you can experience what I experience. Share in my moments of joy and excitement with me as well as those of sadness and frustration. These things teach me that you understand my differences and encourages me to keep communicating my needs to you which leads to language. It will also help me be a better problem solver, smarter and believe it or not even healthier.
4) Love is patient
Just as it took me nine long months to arrive in this world, it takes time for me to develop new skills and become the amazing person you are teaching me to be. I am learning fast but the road is long and windy, full of ups and downs. Some things I will learn very quickly and others it will take extra time. More important then when I achieve a new skill is that I develop it to the best of my ability so that I have a solid foundation for the skills that I will be developing next.
So be patient with me, dream big dreams for me, believe in me and watch me achieve!
There you have it, the top 4 ways your love for your child is helping to shape their future success. Remember, take a moment to enjoy this journey you and your child are on called childhood and take the time to create those everyday childhood memories. If while reading this blog post you found something that really resonated with you or you have another idea of how love helps shape a child's development, please share it below in the comments.