Article for Today's Parent USA Magazine
You can find my article for Today's Parent USA Magazine 2013 here: http://www.todaysparentusa.com/site/2013/07/the-best-advice/#more-4719
OR read in full below.
The Best Advice
Advice is everywhere from magazines, radio, television, talk shows, internet, friends and family. We are bombarded with how to’s and which product is the best. You could try them all but you would soon be tired, broke, and frustrated. You would want to pull your hair out, but then you would have to find advice on how to grow it back again and what color and cut fits you best.
Sometimes the advice is based on what is popular in the culture at that moment. It may have been taboo to do something years before, but all of a sudden it is the thing to do. Just ask the one who is waving the “at the moment advice banner.”
I have received much advice through the years, some I wanted and some not so much. The best advice I have been given I give you now. It is communication. Communication is important between boss and employee, teacher and student, car repairman and car owner and so on. Communication is very important for any relationship. We have heard it said that it is vital to a marriage.
I don’t hear much about communication between parent and child. I feel it is also vital to communicate with your child. At first, the communication feels one sided. That new born communicates all the time in a demanding sort of way. You respond with many, “shhhh it’s okay.” Or, “are you hungry?” “Need a diaper?” If you are an affectionate parent, you kiss that sweet cheek many times, even though she is screaming that she needs food and a diaper at the same time. You are communicating even though she doesn’t understand the words. You are communicating that you are there and that you love that precious little one. You are letting her know she is safe.
When she starts talking, the communication between you changes. She is communicating to you through words. Sometimes you have to try to understand her language because it may not sound like any you have heard before. You may hear,” I wuv my wammy,” but she really said, “I love my lamby.” During this precious time, your communication needs to be direct because she is a literal thinker. Don’t promise anything you are not prepared to do, both in fun things and discipline.
As your child grows older, your communication becomes more connective. You can understand her and she understand you. She may not want to do what you want her to, but she understands you. This is when you need to communicate very well and say precisely what you mean. Not because she doesn’t understand you, but to make it clear what her action and your reaction will be. You may have to make sure she is listening by asking her to repeat it back to you. This way she knows and you know she heard you.
As she gets older, communication can become more of a challenge because hormones are raging. She may need one on one communication at all hours. You may come across your daughter not acting like your daughter. Something is troubling her, but when you ask her she says everything is fine. She needs you even though she acts like she doesn’t. I learned that sometimes the best time for her to open up is late at night when she is tired and curled up in her bed. You sneak in and sit by her and start talking about nothing in particular. Soon, words will start tumbling out of her mouth that was tightly shut just a few hours ago. Maybe your child needs to sit in front of a movie she has seen at least a bazillion times eating popcorn. The lights are out, and she feels safe. She’s pretending you can’t see her, but of course you can because you are her mom. You seize the moment and start a conversation. Then it happens, all her feelings and tears come tumbling out. It is okay, you can hand her a tissue, and she will pretend you didn’t because it’s dark. Soon, she will be in your arms and all will be right in the world.
You need to take the time with your child to read them and know when things are bad for them and talk it out. You start when they are little and continue into adulthood. Then you have grown your child into your best friend who will know it’s safe to tell you anything.
Robin Fuson is a storyteller who loves to teach. The book series Robin is writing are chapter books for grade school children. She has been teaching for over thirty years in various venues. Robin, along with her late husband, was the AWANA missionary for the Colorado Front Range. She had the great opportunity to go to Ukraine and Russia to teach teachers how to teach children by means of storytelling. Over the years, Robin has taught children and adults in small groups to groups of hundreds. Rosita Valdez and the Giant Sea Turtle is the first in a chapter book series for children. The underlining theme in the first book is telling the truth. Find out more on her web page: www.rositabook.com She also has a blog for children and young at heart at: www.kidbiblelessons.com Facebook.com/AuthorRobinDensmoreFuson and twitter: @RobinLFuson