When I had my son, I was excited about the experience of sharing and stretching my love even further. Excited about the bonus, I was verbally adamant about providing equal love to each of my blessings. While in theory, I was on the right track, I never considered how "on purpose" my actions would have to become. Love, as an action, has to be a conscious effort as it changes based on who you are depositing into. I have learned to target areas and cultivate specific ways to ensure I'm providing equal love.
Age and Stage
This plays a major part in how children receive love. Babies love kisses, praise, cuddles and playtime while preteens enjoy one-on-one activities, brief yet meaningful talks and midday texts. Identifying where your child is requires attention to their likes, interests and current struggles. When you have multiple children, things can get a little tricky because it's easy to resort to a "part of the pack" approach. Each child is an individual and keeping that at the forefront of my mind when dealing with them, is always the goal.
Target Quality Time
We all have extremely busy lives and it can be quite the task trying to juggle it all; let alone rotating quality time. While I totally understand the struggle, ensuring quality time with each of your children is an amazing investment that will yield lasting love. Quality as well as individual time provides a reassurance to your children of how important they are. This time is an amazing bonding opportunity that can open doors of communication and memories that will impact your relationship forever.
Every child responds differently to triumphs and mistakes. Just as many other areas, discipline may need to be just as individual. My daughter requires firm guidance and removal of privileges while me simply saying "I'm disappointed in your choices" shakes my son's world. Each child, while all yours, has very different responses. You have to structure discipline customized to their needs as discipline is about providing guidance and not breaking their spirit. When you love equally and the way each child needs to be loved, you will find that your children will cease in comparing one another in times of teachable moments.
We love hearing how great we're doing! Whether at work or in home life, hearing someone affirm how amazing we are can make all the difference in how we view their feelings towards us. Our kids are no different! As parents, we are a broken record : "Clean up your room... Stop talking in class... Don't hit your sister... You're working my nerve..." etc. While hard at times, let's make sure we are affirming their good behavior and strong qualities just as regularly as we keep everything else on repeat. It can change your child's perspective on how you're viewing them. It determines whether they feel like a nuisance or know that you still think the world of them even though they've made a misstep. This is so imperative to restoring and/ or keeping the love circulating. There was a period of time where I was expressing my irritations and not professing praise for them as much as I should. A hard stop was need and a reset was mandatory for MY bad behavior. Balance is the name of the game. As an adult, it is OK to go back to the drawing board and regroup in areas where you've released, unhealthily. This area is so big! Praise your kids!!!!
Take the time to acknowledge them separately as well as together! Rewarding your kids randomly affirms to them that 1) you see them 2) you're paying attention and 3) that you are proud of their efforts. This encourages them to do more good and plants small seeds of support. This shows that you're always looking for ways to applaud, celebrate and champion them. Rewarding them has so many amazing benefits for you and you all's relationship. Whether you choose a reward that's simple or grand; the acknowledgement is the biggest prize!
Pass It On!
By making simple changes in your love towards your children, they become more apt to pass it along! Not feeling the competition, they will love on their each other all the more. Your actions will encourage them to look for the good in their siblings and others around them in a nurturing way. You will be so impressed with how your changes create a ripple affect. Family is a circle of love and support that our children should be passing on. Let's provide equal love to our minis and watch them flourish! It's DIY parenting at its best!