Joy in Your Children – Survey and replies
the past year, I have received by a number of counselling referrals
where parents were experiencing difficulties with their children. In
several of these situations, the parents had tried numerous other
counsellors and behavioural interventions but problems remained. It was
clear these parents were exasperated and at their wits end. Parenting was
not fun. It was not rewarding. It was difficult for several of these
parents to maintain a positive emotional investment taking care of their
children. There was no experience of joy and I felt this had to be
rekindled. Finding joy became the challenge. Upon rekindling joy many of
these parents went on to express better behavioural outcomes with their
children and they expressed greater satisfaction as parents.
sought to explore the issue and look for other people’s strategies to
finding joy in their children. I sent out an email survey to persons representing early childhood education, social
work, family therapy and those who provide supervision services to enable
access between parents separated from their children. The survey read:
this may sound corny, but I find that many parents are mired in conflict
with their children (of all ages) and as such, are unable to find joy in
them or the relationship.
Therefore, I am looking at writing an article on the topic of
"Finding Joy in Your Children".
Your comments or feedback on the topic would be appreciated.... How do you
find joy in your children?
are the responses I received.
enjoy reading them. I know I did.
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
question really intrigues me because as a mother of three, now 20,
14 and 9, I have struggled with this many times through the years
with each child. Because they are so far apart, I always have
such different issues with each. However, the one things that
I always fall back on is that I realized that each time I had a baby
a magical thing happened for me. I could instantly revisit the
baby that my then 11 year old, and 5 year old, used to be. It
somehow brought their preciousness back to life for me and I
realized that there are definitely times that it's difficult to
appreciate or feel loving toward our children until we revisit the
times that it was so easy to love them.
also learned that even if they are 5, 11, 14, or even 20, they still
want the love, affection and attention that comes from a loving
mother. They like to sometimes be showered with kisses and
reminded that they are your "baby" Oftentimes, just this
simple announcement makes them melt into me and remember a time when
it was easier for them to love me too. A time so uncomplicated
with rules and restrictions and growing pains. A time when it
was just the two of us and a perfect day for them consisted of my
undivided attention. A time long gone, even for my nine year
you know, it is impossible to keep this magic going by continuing to
give birth to new babies just as a reminder. Therefore, I take
time to look at pictures, especially if they'll look with me and
we'll giggle and bond again as we talk about how cute they were.
Or when I see a small baby, I'll secretly tell them that they
were just as cute and that the impulse they have to hug and hold
that baby is the exact same way I felt with them. This seems
to reinforce that even though we don't cuddle on the couch and read
books together, or spend every minute of every day together, we
still have a special bond that is unmistakable. It helps me
remember, and helps them remember, sweeter, simpler times.
From this foundation, we are then able to better communicate,
appreciate and listen to one another as we fondly recall the joyful
days of when we first met, and fell in love.
I hear her explaining something or just talking to her friends like
a wise sage...and her words are things we've discussed and some of
her words are actually mine!
*when I see her practicing values like forgiveness or compassion or
loyalty. She may not give her actions those words but the
values are ones I've taught to her.
*when she tells me stories of her adventures on the road to her
I should tell you my daughter is now 22 years old and while my
aforementioned examples occurred all through her life (and continue
today) I learned early on that parenting is a balancing act. Balancing
the conflicts while seeing the good and always asking "what is
to be learned by this experience--for her and I each?"
have found that raising children for the past 25 years has been both
challenging and rewarding. Having run the gamut of stages, from
birth to adulthood, I have to say that each segment of my children's
lives have been enjoyable. Oh, don't get me wrong, there are
struggles as well as successes but I think the key is to embrace
where they are at and treat your children with respect not as a
possession or a burden. For example, if your child has a sense of
humour laugh at his jokes and antics instead of demanding he grow up
and act his age. If your kids excel in school or extracurriculars,
rejoice in their accomplishments and be proud of them win or lose
instead of complaining about having to attend the events or meet
with a child's teacher. Create a memory for your child of a parent
who chose to throw a baseball, do a craft project or play a board
game instead of yelling & nagging about the messy bedroom,
overgrown lawn and dirty dishes. The work still has to be done but
do it together and it will go much easier. I truly believe that
companionship and friendship with your children is the key to
enjoying. They are each unique and will give enjoyment in different
ways. Accept those differences and you truly will find joy in them.
I wrote the following & hope you find it amusing.
Parenting to a "T"
If I had to pick a letter of the alphabet that would best describe
each stage of my parenthood, it would have to be the letter
We went from the task of being pregnant to the tiresome teething at
two in the morning. Terrible twos led us to trailing after toddlers.
Who needed a tread mill then? From terror filled trips on
toboggans in winter to traversing trails in parks in the summer.
Trips to town for shopping was tense with tantrums and
timeouts a tiring test. Trucking kids off to sports team tryouts or
scout troop activities. Tracking their talent in theatre or tap
dance. Teens talking on the telephone replaced tea parties
& tree houses. Temperaments changed and temptations led to
trouble. Teasing, & trials, weather trivial or traumatic gave us
triumph over tears and togetherness as a family. We try and we trust
demanding the truth and when it's all done we treasure the times. At
the risk of sounding tiresome I'll offer one more "T". My
years as a parent have been TERIFFIC!
for finding joy in your children: let them be themselves; meet them
where they are at; maintain regular communication and finally
sustain awareness of their current activities and interests.
find joy in my 15 month old by simply observing him! Sometimes we
need to remember that they to are often role-modeling for us -
especially the simple pleasures of pure fun!
try very hard to "catch them doing things right," which
tends to offset the times I have to correct them. It makes
them feel better, and it helps me keep in perspective the fact they
are growing and learning...they don't come out of the womb knowing
how to conduct themselves, and it's my job to teach them. Praising
them when they're doing the right thing encourages them to do it
more, so my moments of correction are fewer and further between,
ideally. So I find joy in seeing the good and watching them
bloom under my appreciation of them.
myself do not have children, however I find joy in others. Mostly
my contact with kids is at my visitation centre and let me tell you,
these kids are awesome, they are amazingly resilient.
I know this may sound corny, but these are the things that I find
joy in all children...their laughter, when they run to and embrace
their "absent" parent, their smile, when a little girl
twirls around to show off her new dress, their pride in a job well
done (while drawing, playing a game, or doing homework), their
innocence, and their unbelievable wisdom. But mostly my joy is
in the fact that they have the ability to love so openly and without
understand that you are writing an article about joy with our
children! That’s wonderful. I want to tell you about
my children, and my joy!
eleven-year-old son came to me this morning with tears in his eyes.
He said, “Mom, something awful happened.” I waited.
Nothing. Finally I said, “Did your shade fall down again?”
He said, “No, much worse…much worse.” I waited.
Nothing. I turned the page of the newspaper. I waited.
Finally he said, “You know that silly putty? Well, somehow
it got on one of the cushions on the couch….” I got up and
went and looked and, yep, there was silly putty on the couch.
I went back into the kitchen and confirmed his observation. He
said, “I’m sorry mom, I don’t know how it happened.”
after I got over the sudden surge of severe annoyance…this gave me
joy. Why? Because my son cared about what happened,
because he deeply cared about the consequences of his behaviour.
He is eleven, so for 11 years he has been developing this wonderful
conscience that he now so clearly displays. This same child
feels compelled to give money to anyone who is collecting for worthy
causes outside department stores where we may shop.
daughter, 13 (going on 18), gives me joy as well. She is
having her first boyfriends and learning to flirt. She takes
innocent pleasure in her effect on boys and likes to share this with
me. It’s such fun doing some reliving on that level.
She is also a very disciplined child who wakes herself up at 5:30 in
the morning on the days she goes to school and completes school
projects weeks in advance. My favourite time with her is when
she yields to still needing Mom and wants to just hang out.
She enjoys activities at church and complains if she doesn’t make
it to services often enough.
children have been compelling in every stage of development.
Having them in my life changed my life completely. I am no
longer self-cantered, I am no longer self-indulgent, I am no longer
lazy. My husband and I have grown and we have been forced to
grow in ways that never would have occurred without the children’s
presence in our lives.
it been easy? Never. Has it been worth it? Every
minute has been precious.
luck with your story. I know many people who find joy in their
are absolutely right. When I was mired in conflict with my ex,
I was so consumed and so stressed and so... that I was not able to
find joy in anything, including my children, who were often just
another source of stress.
I learned to appreciate them, and life again, by getting on with my
life and putting the conflict filled relationship with their father
aside. Yes, there is still no closure, we are still headed for
court, it is still nasty all around, but it does not consume me
anymore and it does not affect my relationship with my kids anymore.
I guess I started taking that often heard but seldom followed advice
and I started taking care of myself. I joined Parents Without
Partners and started having fun in my life, both with my kids in the
family events, and without my kids in the parent events. I met
other single parents who were equally as mired in their own
conflicts but had put their kids first, at least during the times
they had their kids, and enjoyed the time with them. I met
other single parents who were "survivors" and realized
people do live through this, so there was hope for me, too. I
met single parents who had little time with their kids but who made
the best of it.
And it made me see I was pretty lucky to have my kids, my great
kids, as much as I do have them. And it made me see that I was
wasting my time with them and my life being upset with their father.
I was still letting him control me, even when he wasn't there.
So I changed my reactions. I took control of my life. I got my
own house and made it a home for my children. I left a counsellor
who was not helping me and got counselling that did help me. I
changed lawyers. I decided to make the best of a job that I
don't love and start counting the ways it helps me by letting me
have more time with my kids and paying the bills for us to live.
I stopped reacting to my ex's button pushing and started
putting my kids first. Now they say, "Daddy is doing
this, or Daddy said that", and for the most part I reply,
"Oh" and drop it. No more being dragged back there,
even unintentionally by the kids. I stopped letting other
people drag me back there with their irate reactions to my ex's
dirty tricks and the flawed legal system. I started saying
"I'm not going to let this upset me anymore" even though I
was obviously upset at the time. Slowly people started
realizing what they were saying did upset me and started modifying
their comments. And, with practice, I also started really not
letting it bother me.
And, I started missing my kids when they were with their other
parent, so I started valuing the time when they were with me. We
discovered things we like to do as a family, I started concentrating
on doing things on their level and finding out how much I enjoy it.
I started listening to people tell me how wonderful my
children are and looking at them to see it myself. I fell in
love with my children again because I got myself in a place where I
could set aside my problems and focus on them and us together.
I learned a new definition of forgiveness. Forgiveness is no
longer letting the other person "get away" with hurting
me, as it was for so long. Forgiveness now, is making that
person stop hurting me by letting go of the hurt. I no longer
hang on to the hurt and replay it in my mind a thousand times.
Now I get on with it. I took practice, and time.
I have a personal scale that I have used. I can honestly say
now, that if I was standing behind my ex at the edge of a cliff, I
would walk away. I would not push him over because he is not
worth it. And despite what he has done to me and to my kids,
he is still their father and they deserve a relationship of some
kind with him.
I no longer try to prevent the damage he does. Instead I've
learned to let the bullet bounce off me and let my children
talk out their hurt and feelings in a safe environment.
And I get the help and support I need when I need it. Friends,
workshops, counselling, reading, PWP. Wherever I can find it. It
is there in spades when you stop looking inward at how terrible your
life is and start looking outward for how you can change and improve
I tell my kids many times a day how beautiful they are, how special,
how smart, how fun, how much I love them. And I hear it back. I
look at my kids and I see two little miracles. I surround
myself with the things I love about my children - their portraits,
things they have made for me, things that I have made for them. That
visually demonstrates my perspective of putting them first. And
I see it every day.
Because I left an abusive relationship, my reactions, my stories,
the scars on myself and my children, and the (for lack of a more
polite word) crap my children are still exposed to are probably more
severe than many people's. But now I work on healing and
moving on instead of holding on and letting it fester. My kids
need me. They need me to help protect them. Give them
fun. Give them a safe place to talk about what is bothering
them, especially what is bothering them with their father. They
need to have fun in their lives because when they are with their
father they spend their days plugged into the television. They
need consistency. They need to know they can count on me.
Those things are priority.
The other stuff isn't worth wasting my energy on. It obsessed
me for too long and ruled my life. For what? I let him
continue to control me and continued to lose myself in my process.
My life is what I make of it. And I like my life now. So do my
kids. Our lives aren't perfect, and we have our struggles. But we are certainly happier that we were
before. Both before we left and before I learned to let go.
find that often people will have children for selfish reasons.
i.e. To feel fulfilled or to see what a child could
bring to their lives. I must admit, to some degree, I was also
guilty of this.
Over the past few years, I find that the true joy or happiness I get
from my children is just seeing them laugh and being happy. Seeing
the joy on their faces when they accomplish something for the first
time or seeing the determination when they are unsuccessful at
certain things. I also find great joy in looking over the
years, from the day they were born until now, and seeing how quickly
they have grown and progressed.
thought this morning about why people have joy -- what it is. Bubbles
in a tub is a happy, joyful occasion. . . but doing difficult job
well provides joy at the end, too. It occurred to me that
there needs to be a mission statement as to the purpose of parenting
so that I am not so much looking for happy moments, but joyful
moments for me and my child as the mission is fulfilled.
The Bible makes a statement, "All discipline for the moment
seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have
been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of
righteousness. . ." Hebrews 12:11
The greatest, and most long range joy I have had in raising my
children is to see them become faithful friends, good citizens,
loving parents, productive workers, good financial managers,
unselfish individuals who serve their neighbours. This
long-range joy took the short-range responsibility of disciplining
my children -- which didn't seem to be joyful at the time. But
afterward -- as my son is now 30 and my
daughter 22 -- there has been peaceable fruit: no drugs, no
recklessness, no jail, no abuse, no laziness, no sexually
transmitted diseases. They are both spiritually prosperous,
highly regarded persons of integrity. This has brought
me my greatest joy, and given them joy as well.
find the little idiosyncrasies that I have passed onto her, which I
shared with my dad; like how I used to love it how he tucked
me in so tight I felt like a mummy. She says, "Mom, come
tuck me in like Bampy did when you were little!". Or, she
will say, "See you in the morning" in the same singsong
that Dad and I have in the past. There are so many of them,
but they all stem back to how much I love my dad and how
affectionate he always was. I always knew he loved me.
children are now adults but I can tell you how I especially find joy
in my grandchildren. I negotiate with the parents that I have each
of them separately. They love being the only one whether it is
something as simple as a walk or as organized as a trip. I have
heard from parents that when things start to get a bit contentious,
they use this same technique - one to one time.
3 (very headstrong) boys (men now), when they were teens, I used to
go into their bedrooms after they were asleep and just look at them
and remember when they were babes curled up in their cribs. I also
thought of times when they gave me laughter and tears of pride.
I knew down deep that they would grow into responsible adults
who not only would be my sons, but my friends. That got me
through some rough times - did not resolve conflicts, but did give
me a better perspective and some patience the next day.
just all the simple things... I often tell my children that God
blessed me with the three most incredible gifts in this world.
I take pleasure in watching Sarina sleep, playing hide
and go seek with her, marvelling at her incredible courage, making
her breakfast Saturday morning. I let her know how proud I am.
With Celia, I watch with incredible pride at the wonderful young
woman she has turned out to be. Recently I saw her graduate
from grade 8. She was radiant in a soft pink gown, a light
application of lip-gloss, her hair in an up do. I had to
chuckle that she didn't give in to complete fashion because she wore
flip-flops under the gown. With Danny my son. At the age
of 11 nothing is more important than food. I enjoy cooking
with him, and watching him eat.
I take pleasure in the simple opportunity of seeing them. I
enjoy playing outside in the rain and splashing in puddles with
them. I am grateful for each the opportunity of being a
referee, a doctor, a cook, a maid, a chauffeur and everything else a
mom should be. There are so many things that I
appreciate with my children. The greatest joy is the gratitude
for having them in your life and knowing it with every breath.
would say one of the ways to find joy is to accept the individuality
of each child; comparing children &/or demanding that one
approach life like their other siblings fuels conflict.
of the things I do to find. . . or maybe a better word is
"generate" joy between me and my granddaughter is to sing
to her. If she finds a bug, I repeat the words she has said or
exclaimed to a familiar tune such as "Old MacDonald."
When I leave her a message on the phone (she is 2) I sing it.
She loves my messages. It's not so much that it brings
me joy as the fact that joy is generated between us. I have
colourful teacups. . . the fancy ones. They can be found often
at yard sales -- so this is not out of reach for anyone. But
Paula and I would regularly have tea parties. Outside or
inside -- just mini-vacations with her and me. We learned to
talk and listen to one another during those times. They were
fun then, but the joy that has been generated is long lasting and
has spanned the years. She is a 22 year old journalist now --
has been on a mission to Amsterdam, and is a beautiful and
successful young woman. But our favourite connection is still
over a cup of coffee where the most important things are said. When
my children were little -- and now with my granddaughter, Irene a
tub full of bubbles -- and all the spoons and bowls they want in
with them was great fun. They are warm in the water, and are
getting clean, and mom can rest for a while -- as well as playfully
piling bubbles on top of the little ones head, or making a bubble
moustache. Lots of laughter is associated with bath time.
Even when they are very little -- an inch of warm water in the
tub and an infant on his back splashing around is restful for momma,
and a joyful for the baby.
don't think that your topic is corny at all! I find it highly
relevant to today's parenting.
I find joy in my children in several ways.
I find time to observe them from a distance so that I can see,
from a bird's eye view, their pleasure at play. Each day I play at
least one game with them that they enjoy (our current favourite is
an alien card game). My favourite way to connect with my kids
and find joy in them is through shared reading experiences. Reading
aloud from a vibrant picture book not only
enraptures them and engages me in a dramatic way, it also reminds me
of when I was read to as a child. Connecting the blissful
feeling I had as a child while being read to with the current joy of
sharing that with my own children is one of the best feelings I can
is an interesting concept. I have undertaken the question with
many of the parents that I deal with. I will tell you Gary it
is a question that stifles a lot of even the more concerned parents
(sorry for dividing good and bad parents). It isn't a question they
have ever really asked themselves and they kind of feel on the spot
when I ask them so their answers are usually skewed. I have noticed
a common ground for a lot of the moms. They (for the most part) find
the calm serenity of their child sleeping to be one of their biggest
joys. They often say that patting the child's back or playing with
his or her hair is a great stress reliever. The men usually enjoy
the playtime they spend with there child. wrestling, playing ball
etc. I have to pick and choose the parents I say it to but I
sometimes like to explain how the manner of play that they use with
there child is a mirror image of how the child will play at daycare.
Sometimes the wrestling transfers from the home to the daycare. Can
the child be blamed? I think that it is a touchy situation. I guess
that with some fathers any interaction time is good, but if a father
doesn't realize that it is important to teach their child
appropriate means of play then I have to educate them in a non
condescending way. then I look at the fact that it is important for
the child to be exposed to all the different elements it is god for
them to learn that there are boundaries. Home and daycare are two
separate boundaries that have a different set of rules.
a great idea...I am beginning to think that we have some kind of
strange link...Oh well, it is about "connections"!!!
I remember when I used to do "Crisis Intervention"
for the Juvenile Court System, that the issue of "joy in
children" often arose. A family (parent or parents) would
arrive with their child, full of stress and anxiety. Often the
issues were more about typical development (parent and/or child:-)).
I would ask the parent(s) to list what they "liked"
about their son or daughter. They would look at me in
shock...Couldn't I see the problems they were having; how could I
even ask such a question as what do they "like" about this
troublesome child???? My first suggestion was often an
"assignment" about remembering the joy they felt at this
child's birth; the excitement they felt when they reached those
early developmental milestones. I would attempt NOT to
minimize their concerns, but rather to get them to realize that this
"troublesome" child was that same child and simply
"liking" them was okay even if/when there were problems.
It was as though they needed this permission. In some
cases, the issues were serious, and they simply were so overwhelmed
(perhaps at Maslow's bottom rung), that they forgot what they liked
in an effort at survival (theirs and the child's). In these
instances, I would have them list their child's "favourites",
interests, talents and abilities, friends, etc. They often
would come back noting how valuable this exercise was in helping
them to 'know' their child again...
It is interesting that this same issue comes up with early childhood
professionals (caregivers and educators). They become very
stressed over the behaviour of a child and "forget" what
they liked...or to engage with that child other than around his/her
behaviour. They look for "positives" but have to be
reminded to simply attend to this child for "being".
Often their desperate call will tell me everything problematic
about this child...and nothing regarding the child's interests,
etc...I instruct them to get back with me after doing two
observations: First they are to let me know everything about
this child other than his/her behaviour; i.e. family, culture,
interests, joys, fears, favourites, pets, learning style,
personality/temperament...etc. Then I have them do this
Engaged Orders/Instructions Non-Engaged
(child's attempts which are ignored)
They are to mark when they actually engage with a child (listen,
converse, make even brief contact that is not an order or reaction
to behaviour). They mark the order column when giving an
order: Don't, Stop, No..etc. and Non-Engaged when they realize
the child has tried to talk to them or get their attention.
Of course, an "halo effect" develops but they
still "get it" usually. Some of the learning that
has taken place doing this exercise has been profound. When a
supervisor does this observation on staff, he/she has noted what
children may get the most "engagement", who gets the
orders, etc. One comment I sometimes get at the beginning is that
child is doing something "for attention". I get
really shocked looks when I suggest that this is the child who must
"need" their attention...attention not connected to their
behaviour "good or bad".
Well...I've gone astray. But, to make your point..... YES...do
something around having joy in individual children, expressing that
joy and how, perhaps...it will relate to joyful, confident
relationship has conflict to one degree or another. The key to
reducing conflict is effective, precise and respectful
communication. This is very important when it comes to our children.
I have found that I can reduce the amount of conflict I have with my
boys, ages 11 and 14, by telling them exactly what I want them to
do, as opposed to telling them what I don't want them to do.
When my instructions are clear and the positive consequences that
will come from following those instructions are articulated, I get
full cooperation from my sons. I talk to them in language that
is appropriate to their developmental level and couch the message in
a respectful tone.
It is important to remember that children (especially when they are
very young) see ideas as pictures in their minds. If we paint a
picture with our words of the ways we want our children to behave,
they see that picture in their mind and that is how they
They have to be able to picture themselves behaving in the way that
we want them to, and be able to picture the positive (or negative if
appropriate) consequences of their behaviour.
"If you guys unload the dishwasher, put the clean dishes away
and load the dirty dishes, I'll take you out for lunch," works
so much better than, "If you don't take care of the dishes,
I'll unplug your Game Cube."
By taking a positive approach, we diminish conflict and enjoy
I have an easy age to find joy in--my little boy is 3 and I find joy
in just about everything he does! Whether it is hunting for
bugs, watching his face when he discovers a frog or a tiny flower
hidden in the grass, or if it is just those moments where we lay
together and listen to the radio during a thunderstorm. This
may sound corny too, but those are some of the best times we have
a wonderful question. I find joy in my children through simple daily
conversations. I love it when they start a question with "mom,
did you know that..." and then they pass on their recently
learned tidbit of knowledge to me. It demonstrates a natural
curiosity for learning, which I consider vital to loving life. I am
also honoured that they want to share their day and learning with
me. This is said most to me during dinner, at the table as often as
we can, in the car on the way to a lesson of some sort (radio turned
off) or on the walk home from school or to the corner store for a
find below a few examples of when I find joy in my two-year-old son
When I make him laugh.
When I teach him something new and he remembers it and gets
satisfaction from putting his new found knowledge into action.
When other people tell me how wonderful he is.
When he goes to sleep as soon as I put him in his cot.
experiences as a parent, preschool teacher, early childhood centre
director, executive director of a membership organization, and more
recently grandparent, tell me that children of all ages are begging
for firm, consistent guidelines and much more individual attention
that they get from their parents, teachers, and family members.
Like adults, children are too stretched, too many activities,
too much school stress, and too little time to think.
The largest enemy of childhood is, as we have predicted for lots of
year, is the media, specifically television. Sorry, I must
run, I'm picking up my grandson from his summer school program and
taking him home to have a fabulous cooking experience, after which
we will read a book together. By the way, he is eleven years
old and still covets (more than anything) being loved for who he is
and spending time with his family. At the age of five, he
suggested that all families should live in one very large house, and
always be there for each other. What a wise idea from a very
find joy in my children... Letting them decide (what to do,
wear or eat) and then seeing how much they learn. Hearing them laugh
at really stupid humour (the only reason a sane person would watch
"Master of Disguise" is to hear their 8-year-old laugh).
Sharing their own joy, whatever sparks it. Best for last: watching
them sleep. I still love that.
a mother of five, all of whom were teenagers at one time, I learned
that in order to find joy in my children, and to keep from being
consumed by conflict...it was necessary for me to not sweat the
small stuff, and to choose my battles. I know both of those
expressions are over-worked and seem trite...but they are
never-the-less true. Your son comes home with a blue mohawk?
Ask yourself...what is this hurting? Is it permanent?
Does it affect me or my relationship with my child? Is it
worth battling about?
There were of course certain lines that couldn't be crossed without
consequences, but something as temporary as hair (colour or cut) is
not worth arguing about. (now, tattoos or piercing are another
I also found that allowing my children a voice in not only their
privileges, but also their consequences went a long way towards
keeping things calm. It is very important that these things
are discussed in advance. It is hard for a young person to
argue that "it's not fair" when the consequence is one
that he/she suggested in the first place.
do not have children of my own, but spend allot of time with the
in my family. I find that corresponding at their level, really
with them is most rewarding. They light up when they feel you
it' (what they are saying or doing). Watching them laugh,
giving a hug for no reason, making quality time count.....
divorced when I was very young and life was extremely difficult
after. I married at 18 and both of my children were born when
I was 19. I raised my children by what I thought "a good
parent" would do. As I encouraged my children they
bloomed. I found great joy seeing my children reach and exceed
their potential. My son is an attorney and my daughter is a
human resource director and they now act as consultants to their
mother. I don't often offer advise to my children, they are
highly intelligent professionals. By not offering advise, they
frequently ask, then wait to hear what I have to say.
when your adult children think you might have something wise to
share, that's finding joy in your children!
subject can be taken as 2 parts:
1 - How do I find joy in them through their eyes
2 - How do I find joy in them through my eyes
1 - There are so many examples of expressions but here is the gist
of it. Their laughter, smiles, eyes, a glow, body movements
(running, walking, biking, swimming) are all signs of joy. Their
looks of happiness after comforting and reassuring them when they
feel hurt, neglected, worthless, withdrawn, confused, insecure. Not
being afraid to talk things out. Their looks when you praise
them or when they are proud they feel they have accomplished
something. Getting a good nights rest when there's no stress within
them. Their morning wake up expressions. Their open arms for hugs
and kisses. When they use their imagination to make up happy stories
(instead of reading books) before going they go to bed When they
feel good about reading books
- happy with lots of smiles and laughter.
- jumping up and down for joy.
- when they feel good not sick.
- with their friends playing.
- with not a care in the world
- running up to me to give me lots of hugs and kisses
- when they want me to fix things (toys, clothes, bikes)
- when I can make them feel better when everything is against them
- sleeping peacefully through the night
- just saying thank you dad for everything you're doing to help us
- proud after they created artwork which expresses they're thoughts
- always reminding myself how happy they used to be and trying to
bring those times back when we're together
- all the happy memories we shared together
- hearing them read and make up stories
- having fun
- when they aren't idle but want to do things with me
- the unconditional love they give me
- the expressions and feelings when I make them feel a whole let
- when they know I'm always proud of them no matter what they do
- when I see them as being very smart and can work out a puzzling
situation and watching them as they derive a solution
Basically, How I find joy in my children;
- their joy is my joy and my joy is their joy - unconditionally
- their accomplishments are my accomplishments
- they're a part of me and I'm a part of them
- they're a part of my life and I'm a part of theirs
- when we're together
- when we can work things out together despite the odds and be
satisfied with the compromise
- when we go to each other anytime and just give hugs and kisses and
saying: I love You for just being you (and really mean it, not for
the sake of saying it) - unconditionally
How do I find joy in
My girls are considered young adults now, but I still have the
memories of when they were babies...so innocent, so adorable, so
unconditionally loving and I hold those memories of them as young
children close to my heart. So that when they're not co-operating or
they're causing me heartaches I tell them as my mother used to tell
me; they can go anywhere in this world, do anything in this world,
they can even commit murder, but I will always be their mother and
they can never wipe away my memories of them nor will anything stop
me from loving them.
Telling your children you love them in spite of conflict in every
day living is a hard thing and should never be used as a bargaining
tool, but they need to hear it not just in thought or deed.
I look at them in awe sometimes. I remind myself that I had a
hand in creating and bringing them into this world and they
fascinate me to no end. When they come up with off the wall ideas I
think to myself they're no part of me in they're thinking, but WOW!
They have brains of their own. There is a poem that I keep to
remind myself of this; it goes like this:
Our children are not our children. They are the sons and
daughters of life's longing for itself. They come through you,
and though they are with you; yet they belong not to you. You
may give them your love, but not your thoughts. For they have
their own thoughts. You may strive to be like them, but seek
not to make them like you. For life does not move backwards,
nor tarry with yesterday. It is as always, moving forward.
Never lose the fascination of your children as thinking, growing,
authentic individuals and you will always find joy in them. That's
what I think.
1. Their giggles & laughter at each
other when they play nice.
2. Spontaneous hugs that sneak up on me.
3. Their angelic peaceful faces when they sleep.
4. When they tell me "You're the best cook in the world"
for something as
simple as cereal
5. The smile with the glint in their eyes when I look in my
6. Their stories about Santa & the tooth fairy that they
still believe in.
7. Their excitement about going to visit someone/vacation
& they have their
bags all packed with favourite things (not necessarily clothes).
8. Their joy in being helpful.
How do I find joy in my children? I
look to God because they are a gift from Him! I
listen as intently as I can to them when they are speaking to me. I
value them, and they reward me with their growing sense of humor and
wit. I always try to remember to laugh at their jokes, and honor
their accomplishments no matter how small or brief.