I've been writing about parenting for almost 10 years now, and the more time that goes by, the more I'm convinced that all kids are special need kids, not only those who have a diagnose. Every day, our child needs our love and commitment as parents. The recipe is the same for all children, although we adapt it depending on their specific personalities and requirements.
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Besides the obvious differences, most parents go through the same things. All of us that worry about being really good parents and aspire to do much more than simply put food on the table, share our desire to fill the heart of our kids with love and their lives with wonderful memories that will be the base for their future.
However, since being parents is a journey of constant trial and error, during which, regardless of our efforts, we will keep making mistakes, I wanted to share some of the ones we can make out of our love for our kids.
1. It'll be my baby forever. Yes, our kids are our babies and many of us will never see them in any other way, but if you treat your child as a baby you will end up harming him or her. If you do everything for your children, they will never learn to do them themselves or will grow up waiting for somebody else to solve their problems. Think about it: You love your kid enough to give him or her the tools to be successful. This means you must allow him or her to make his or her own mistakes, and learn the value of hard work and the price of being or not responsible.
2. I don't set rules for my kids because they're too small and can't understand them. You start educating your kid from the moment she comes out of your belly, through the routines that teach the circle of feeding, resting, awake time, and do it all over again. One of your duties as a parent is to give your child guidance and teach him or her to behave properly. The best way to do it is by setting clear rules and limits. Otherwise, your kid is going to get to school and won't understand why suddenly he has to follow a schedule or listening to somebody else. A responsible parent is the one who prepare his or her child to live in the outside world and adapt to it.
3. My kid is a "good" kid and it's NEVER his or her fault. It may be hard to admit, but we all make mistakes. If your child makes one, it doesn't mean that he's a bad person, it just shows that he is a human being. The best way to deal with this situation is to face the problem and to talk about it. If your child doesn't understand that he or she made a mistake, or feels that his negative actions have no consequences, he or she won't develop empathy for others and won't learn to respect them. Think about it!
4. The best therapy is a smack in the butt or his therapist is called "la chancleta." Consequences are part of life, but it's been proven that physical punishment doesn't work. We parents are just people who make plenty of mistakes. We can be victims of our own upbringing and part of growing up and maturing is to understand that our parents also weren't perfect. It's important to leave behind the physical consequences that they saw as "normal." A child doesn't learn through pain! The way to teach him or her is to give them an immediate consequence to their actions. Nobody finds easy to control stress, but to focus on what's better for your child, instead of your anger, helps to do the right thing.
5. It scares me that my child gets hurt or that somebody hurts my baby when I'm not around. It may bring you both to tears, but it's important that your child experiences some difficult situations that are part of growing up, so they can learn to defend themselves. This will allow your kid to also learn how to be creative to resolve problems. That is the life of a parent, that is close enough lo lend a hand when needed, but far enough to allow them to grow up.
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