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Love. Laugh. Listen. Three words to describe my parenting style.

February 8, 2011 Leave a comment

I first posted this on CooBabyTalk – a blog on my online store – www.coobabes.com – which I also write & edit. Thought I’d share this here as well.

February 4th, 2011

Love. Laugh. Listen.

In a recent tweet, I responded to a Parenting question to describe your parenting style in three words. My three words were: Love. Laugh. Listen.

Love.

This is almost a given. I mean, which parent, out of love, will not go out of his or her way to do what’s best, to provide the best, to make sure it’s the best for his/her child?

Recently, there was an article in the Straits Times in Singapore about how parents queued overnight to secure a place on the waiting list to enroll their pre-schoolers in a popular kindergarten. Apparently it also seems that one mother in a delivery suite even called the school to enquire about placing her about-to-be-born child on that said list.

In movies and books, we sometimes hear this phrase – a face that only a mother can love. Although meant usually to insult whoever ‘owns’ that face, it is true that to a mother, her child is the cutest, prettiest, most handsome and every other positive superlative you can imagine. Which reminds me of a Chinese proverb – “There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.”

Laugh.

We have to learn to enjoy parenthood and sometimes it means laughing off things that might otherwise upset you. You can’t fault a child for every mistake made.

Your son runs his dirty, sticky fingers through his hair? Hey, he’s just a little bloke. The dirt and grime comes off in the bath.

Your daughter raids your cosmetics and now has a clown-like face? Well, she’s just pretending to be like Mom and you know imitation is the greatest form of flattery. (It could also mean that Mom needs to touch up on her make-up application skills.)

Tearing pages off books? As long as it’s not a limited edition copy, give them unwanted magazines next time. And hey, it’s practice for scrapbooking in future.

When you laugh, your child will probably laugh with you, and who wouldn’t want a happy baby? At the end of the day, parenthood can be and is fun. How many times have your child done or said something that just made you laugh? Too many too count for most.

Listen.

Communication is two-way, and that means listening to what your child is telling (or not telling) you. Even with infants, parents can tell from the way they cry whether they need food, a diaper change, or just a good cuddle.

As babies learn to talk, it can be tough to make out their babble. Many times it is guesswork but when you listen carefully and you get it right, what a wonderful reinforcer it is.

Listening also shows you are engaged and interested in your child. All children want attention, and listening to them is a great way to give it to them and just one of the many ways to show you care.

As a parent of a non-verbal autistic teenager, listening may seem difficult but I listen with my eyes – what Lucas is trying to tell me through his gestures, his expressions, his behaviour. It’s a more active form of listening, but you hear volumes.

How would YOU describe your parenting style? I’d love to know.

~ Sharon

Categories: Autism, Coo, Family Tags: