He climbed higher and higher into the air, into the sky, being pushed through the air and heading towards the sun. The breeze moved through the early evening air and he moved alongside of it. I stepped away to check on my new Cub Scout and the obstacle course he was going through. My husband was about 25 feet away and Christian, proudly flying through the air on that swing, called to his dad “Hey Dad! Look at me!!”
Huge grin. Wide eyes. Looking for adulation. Validation. Appreciation. And love.
The same thing happened with my parents recently. Christian wanted to live high in the trees on his favorite blue swing, and he wanted my father to watch it all and be amazed by his bravery.
The pace of this world fights us on consistently validating our children. Praising naturally comes to us as a parent, but we have so many text dings, ring-tones, email notifications, on top of our To Do list and laundry that mounts up to a mile high, that sometimes what comes naturally isn’t easy under stress. There’s also single parents and those parents that have multiple jobs who are trying to help their family survive, some of them members of the generationally poor that don’t have the ability to validate. There’s depression, despondency, and so much more going on there… so it’s an instinct that is being dulled.
There’s no doubt. These kids need validated, they need to be loved, they need our attention.
At our house, we’re instituting a No Phone Zone between 6-8p. This means we’re not allowed to touch or look at it, or really any other device for two hours. No, we will not make funny faces on Snapchat. No we won’t even play with the timer on the phone, since I have one that loves his numbers. This time frame is usually right after dinner until after the boys’ bedtime.
The other thing we can do is have a physical reminder of what to say. I put up at least three or four Post-It’s around my house when I was going through some serious transition last year, my husband I am SURE liked the bright pink hue. Those notes had reminders on them of what was possible in trying times. In the same way, we have the ability to put a list like on paper and in front of our face… to remind us to say something to our children when we’re in the midst of cloroxing the latest item in the laundry room or the kitchen. I found this little printout last year on Pinterest and printed it out and put it on the side of my refrigerator door.
Here is the link to the sheet, which you can size to your liking and then print out.
Sometimes, it’s little resources like that or ideas like the No Phone Zone that make a big impact. And it allows us to be a proud parent, in the midst of what can be a very demanding day and a very demanding world.