Understanding Your Child.
I think women learn instantly that being a parent is about being selfless. We instantly become the sole vessel to transfer this life growing inside of us into this world safely. Everything we eat, say and do contributes to the health of our child. Beyond things we cannot control, we are responsible the moment science takes over our bodies and creates a human. Men however realize it after the child is born and they finally get to see why you couldn't stop peeing or get comfortable for 9 months.
I've always understood how important parenting plays a role in our children's mental health. From the way we respond to them as babies until the moment they are grown. Every single thing we do affects our children negatively and positively. It's imperative that we truly take the time to think about what we are teaching our children when we open them up to experiences. There also seems to be a huge disconnect with my generation and our parents. Our parents grew up essentially in a different universe, yet oddly parallel in some cases. The reality is 90 percent of most people between the ages of 50-100 grew up in a time when child welfare wasn't a huge concern. My mother was spanked by her teach for being left handed, my father went to segregated schools with "whites only" signs as regular as hoover boards. My parents tried to break those cycles with knowledge they obtained from college, knowing they didn't want their children having the same experiences they did growing up.
I learned so much from my parents and consider myself to be extremely blessed to have been raised by them. I still found myself wanting to change habits I learned growing up and challenging ideas I was taught. This is very difficult for elders to accept, especially educated ones that believe that gave you the best knowledge and teachings. You cannot feel guilty for changing things for your own family. You have to think about what's best for your child and what will really make them grow into a better person than you. Not what will make them just like you, but what will make them better than you. Even if something was done when you were a child, think about the true effects it had on you. If it didn't contribute to you being a better person, there is no point in continuing the behavior.
This year has been extremely hard and a blessing within itself. We moved about one year ago, got engaged, got married a few days short of a year after being engaged; and we started to expand on business ventures. This holiday we were able to go back home for two weeks prior to christmas. I had to make the choice to be away from my daughter for two weeks by leaving her in Ohio or be selfish and bring her home with me when I left Christmas eve. I was one of those parents who never let anyone other than my mother watch my child until she was about five years old. I didn't spend more than one day away from her and I've pretty much never been a fan of her going over anyones house unless I was there. I will do the exact same thing with my next child because I believe it's extremely important to create safety for my child. I wanted my daughter to be old enough to at least speak for herself and be able to fully communicate to me if anything happened.
I decided to let my daughter stay with my mother and let my little sister bring her back on January 5th. I keep getting pictures from friends and family of Amirah so happy and content that I know I made the right choice. Of course I would rather have spent the holidays with my daughter, but I also know that last year she was so unhappy in California having to facetime everyone instead of being with them. She also calls me and tells me everything that happens and knows what she can and cannot do. The bond I have created with my daughter is something I am so proud of. I am not one of those people who needs to be around people all the time. I am not huge on physical contact either. I noticed early on that my daughter however has a different love language than me. So instead of me trying to force her to be just like me, I changed the way I express love towards her so she always feels complete.
The most important rule in being a parent is taking the time to understand your child. Let go of whatever ideas you have for them, and how you want them to be. As hard as it may be to accept, they are actually a human being with their own needs and wants. The way they receive or express love could be completely different than you. Instead of allowing that to keep you disconnected, use it as a way to build a bond. You want to teach your child to be flexible in life, to be able to build with those who are different than them. The greatest teacher a child ever has will be their parents.
I hope my daughter realizes that by me letting her stay, I am and will always be in support of what makes her happiest. I know she has a good heart and a good moral compass at the age of seven years old. So I pray that she continues to live her life in a way that keeps her smiling. Remember that your children are not life size dolls or robots, they have minds of their own. Take the time to understand your child and love your child for exactly who they are, and not who you want them to be.
*It's never too late to change your parenting style or to change the dynamic of your household.