The older I get, the more I realize how important the role of rituals play in parenting. Its true. We are all creatures of habit and I believe the early interactional patterns parents establish with their children can be a strong predictor of how these relationships unfold in the later years. The frequency and quality of the interactions determine whether this is good thing or not.
Matthieu, my oldest, just left yesterday to return to college. Im going to miss that child – terribly. This summer, he taught me or should I say, reminded me of important life lessons wrapped up in simple small gestures.
He smiled and laughed.
He helped out tons and didnt complain.
He confronted me when I entered task-completion-house-cleaning-mode on how my words and mood negatively permeated the house. Youre barking, again.
He hugged me, a lot even when I was grumpy.
He told me he loved me when ending most phone conversations, and at least once per day.
Im aware many of these behaviors are part of Matthieus hard-wiring, but I also know our early household interactions solidified them into strong habits.
If you want your children to adopt healthy habits, create them while your children are in their formative years. This is not a one-and-you-are-done type of interaction. Parents must work continuously to get into healthy and strong routines with their children so these interactions become ingrained, and thus, habitual. [FYI – It is especially helpful if these patterns are solidified prior to the teen years.]
I could type more, but alas, Micah leaves for his first college adventure in a short five days, [which is a separate, but related novel of entries] so, I must now turn my attention to child number two.