How many times, as a parent, have you been told that you are making a rod for your own back if you respond to your child? If you’re anything like most parents out there, then a parent or a grandparent has told you that at least once – and it’s not fun to hear. Why do we have generations of people telling us that the children we have birthed and are raising don’t need our comfort and attention?
When we become parents, we choose to do everything that we can to make our children feel comfortable and secure. We keep them in our rooms in their own cot until they are old enough to move into the nursery that we’ve furnished and decorated. We spend months making sure that every aspect of the house is safe and their little fingers won’t be trapped. We purchase large rugs to cover hard floors to ensure that skinned knees are not the result when they fall over. Parents adjust and adapt to allow a child to slot into their space. They start looking at how big is a king size bed so that they can make enough space for a child to sleep in with them if there’s a bad dream or a bad feeling. Children need our comfort and the only way that they will be secure children – and confident adults – is if we ensure that they feel as secure as possible at all times.
Children deserve your time and energy, and when you choose to have children, you choose to respond to their needs in any way. Is it making a rod for your own back to allow your six year old to sleep in your king size bed with you when she’s sick or sad? Is it making a rod for your own back when you choose to pick the baby up every time they cry? No. What it is is that you are a parent who is responding in the most positive way to their child, and you can ensure that you are only responding positively to your kids at all times – that’s how you create secure adults. You wouldn’t ignore your baby screaming to be held in the morning, so why would you ignore them at 11pm? The most important thing that parents have to remember if they want confident adults is that they need to be responsive. If you were sobbing your heart out and felt scared or worried, but the person you love the most took one look at you and shut the door, how would you feel? Exactly.
So, you need to do all that you can to ensure that your baby, your toddler or your child is feeling happy and secure in your love for them. You are their safe space, their center and their world – don’t make that image crash down because you’re too busy to be with them when they need you the most. Your children will feel safe to test boundaries and explore with you when you make them feel comfortable. With that in mind, here are some of the best things that you can do to make your child feel safe and secure.
Create A Safe Space
You will see a lot of negative conversation surrounding the “safe space” phrase. People equate it to those who are being overly sensitive, but is there really anything wrong with that? As a parent, you need to create a space in your home where your child can feel their feelings without judgement or upset on your part. Your children deserve to be in a place that makes them feel comfortable, and you can provide that space. Whether it’s extending your bedroom so that you have a family bed to sleep in, or you create a tent with cushions in their bedroom so that they have somewhere to read comfortably, you can make them a space to feel safe in. The safest place? With you.
Give Them Your Time
It’s easy to brush off a child who wants to play and wants to cuddle in bed at sleep time, but you need to realize that your child asking you to play is how they communicate with you. A secure child needs to trust you and feel that they can come to you at any time, and if you constantly turn down their offer to play, they’ll eventually stop asking. You need time with them to talk, laugh and share together without anyone feeling alone.
Show Tons Of Affection
Children growing up in the home of no hugs, no kisses, no hand-holding and no tickle fights are children who don’t know how to show affection as adults. They need the love and affection from their mothers and their fathers, so don’t hold back. Snuggle your children as much as possible. Let them lay on you for a nap. Hold hands as you walk and pat them on the back. Be tactile with your children and they will feel secure and trustworthy in your arms.
Affection isn’t the only way that you can make your children feel secure. You need to consider offering as much praise as possible when your children are doing things right. It’s easy to jump in when they’re doing things wrong, but you want to build their confidence and their self-esteem and that requires positive praise as much as possible. They worship the ground you walk on – at least until they are teenagers – and you need to give them the verbal encouragement that will make them feel happy and secure.
Keep Your Boundaries
Children require boundaries, and they will push and test them as much as possible. Children push because they want to know that you will catch them when they fall. If you don’t like the kids drawing on the furniture, then set the boundary and let them know that it’s not what you want. You need your furniture to reflect you and you need your children to learn their boundaries and stick to it. Children will continue to test your limits and when you put up the lines that they cannot cross, they respect you and feel secure. If you are consistent with your children, you’re going to make them feel safe and happy.
Are your children asking to come to your bed because they’re afraid or because they want to be close to you? Either way, listen to what they want and pay attention to their needs. Your kids will have a lot to say to you and if they are telling you what they need, so pay attention to what they’re saying. You will learn so much when you are opening your ears and your arms and are letting them in.
Laugh Together As Much As Possible
Children need kindness and fun. Have you ever smiled just because you’ve heard your children laugh? Well, make it happen. Play the silly games and joke with them, be silly and stupid and roll on the floor for fun. Children are wild and laugh without abandon, so provide them with a good time as much as possible. Your children deserve a loving and happy home, so you have to be the one to provide the joy in the house that makes it that happy home you have always wanted.
Support Their Dreams
If your child wants to be a ballerina, take them to classes and buy the outfit. If your child loves baseball, buy the season passes and the foam finger at games. We are all blessed to be talented in some way, and as a parent, you need to hone their gifts and support their talents. Children need to know that you are there for them no matter what, and they will feel confident enough to pursue their dreams when they know that you are behind them all the way.
You are the person who provides balance for your children whether they do wrong or right. Children need you to be able to experience rewards and consequences, and they need to know that you will be forgiving if they mess up at any point. You are the balancing point for your children, and you can ensure that you stay that way by teaching them right from wrong at every turn. You are their solid point in a scary world; be that anchor that keeps them still when they feel dizzy.
Children will fail, just like adults do. Children need to see that it’s okay to fall because you will be there to catch them when they do. You’ll pick them up, dust them off and start all over again once more. Children need to trust in you, and it starts with ensuring that you are offering total and unconditional love for them.
When it comes down to it, you are the person that your children will rely on for everything, from a comfortable place to sleep to a safe space in your arms. Making your children feel secure will truly make a difference in both your lives!