Look back to move forward

Small changes in your parenting approach can yield great results, says columnist Kita Szpak


Flipping the calendar to a New Year can bring mixed emotions – everything from regret and wistfulness to excitement and anticipation.  Where are you on the spectrum? Are you judging, or celebrating yourself for what’s happened in the last 12 months?

Let’s ease off on any criticism here and take a look at some of what I consider key elements in the past Happiness Formula articles. Perhaps one of these may be of value to you and your family in 2019.

You have to want to make time for your children

No one else is going to tap you on the shoulder and say, “Listen, I’ll take care of the errands and you go play with your daughter.” The reality is you have kids: stop fighting this, accept your situation and psychologically, you’ll be ahead of the game.  

Listen to what your child is saying

Kids are like sponges and will pick up words and phrases easily – even the ones they don’t understand. Being attentive to what your daughter is saying can help you spot vocabulary that can be explained and corrected so she understands what is acceptable at home. There is an opportunity for intervening and explaining why a particular phrase is not nice to use. It’s not so much being a policeman, but being a parent who cares what her child is saying.

Set a context so your children feel safe and secure

“How come I’m here, Dad?” or “Why am I made the way I am?” These questions may cause some stumbling or hesitation on your part because you may be grappling with the answers yourself. The important aspect here is to set a context within which your children can feel safe and secure.  Your beliefs and values play a role in building the framework for your child.  You then have something to reference for your son when these types of questions start coming your way.  The greatest disservice you can do for your kids is to leave them in a vacuum with no sense of life markers to understand the bigger questions of life that they – like you did before them – will inevitably ask.

Your child is a gift to you


I may be waxing poetic here but the thought of your child as a gift to you – a profoundly special gift – may give you pause for thought to not take your kids for granted. Taking anything for granted invites sloppy behaviour – where “not caring” has an easy entry if you are not careful. Being an example to your child by rote instead of experiencing them from your heart can be the difference to them of feeling ignored instead of feeling loved.

If you were going to choose any one of these as a point of reference on how you want to conduct yourself as a parent, what a wonderful way to enter into the New Year. There is no need to “do” all of them, but to strive to do one well. The rest will follow naturally as you will have opened the door with the one choice already. Congratulations! Rest easy with your decision; it is a good one.