And why is it “special?” The young man of about 16 at the time who drew it was short of money. He had to find a piece of paper to draw it on and the best paper he could find had a hole with a bad spot on it, so with six pieces of narrow white tape, each piece about two inches in length, he taped over the hole and the bad part of the paper. Then he drew his picture. When I told his mother I had the picture, she said, “I wish I had one of his pictures. I don’t have any.”
I felt badly about that. I know she has spent years giving to that young man. I have met her and I liked her. So what happened? My guess is that somewhere in those years she lost the “relationship” with that youth.
I don’t know how she lost it, but here are things that parents do that alienate. Some parents ignore a child’s talking because they are busy with other things. Some parents talk all the time and never listen to what is really being said. Some parents issue their endless list of reminders, corrections and requests. I have seen children where the parent raises his/her voice every time they talk to the child. Some parents are absent for the child.
Dr. James J. Jones in his book Your Children Will Whistle While They Work says that parents “parent” often by the seat of their pants and not from a foundation of knowledge. “They “parent” as they were “parented” and have many bad habits and incorrect beliefs.” He said that the parents who love the most often seem the most vulnerable to the temptations of rescuing and controlling. Often they resort to control and pressure and that just doesn’t really work.
It helped me learn the importance of building relationships when I first saw Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs. It is a triangle and at the bottom is (1) Physical Needs, i.e. food, clothing, shelter, medical care. Maslow’s theory states that until our physical needs are met, we will give them our greatest focus, interest and energy to meeting those needs. Number (2) is Security Needs, which is safety from anxiety and harm, both physical and emotional. Number (3) is Social Needs, which is acceptance and belonging, having a confidential relationship with someone; trusting and sharing with others. Number (4) is Achievement Needs, which is when a child develops confidence and self-esteem. Here he is feeling needed. Number (5) is Self Actualization, which is fulfillment from achievement and self expression.
I am assuming that your children have their physical needs and security needs met, but at times families have problems with #3 Social Needs. Notice that children have a need to feel accepted and that they need a confidential relationship with someone they trust, someone they can share with. That’s the relationship we need to build with each child.
Summer time is such a great time to play with your family, and while you play with them you will want to listen to them and praise them. You will be amazed at what that does for your relationship. Know that your child will have a relationship with someone. Everyone benefits if it is with you.
Ask yourself this summer, “Do I praise five times more than I instruct or criticize?” Ask yourself and the child, “I am trying to listen more. How am I doing?”