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Want to Be a Better Parent? Think Like a Kid

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Want to Be a Better Parent? Think Like a Kid

By Linda Dobson

MotherChildPlayingInSand parentLike many of you, I’ve been “suffering” the heat wave. I don’t usually suffer quietly but, lucky for me, I have a life partner who is the most understanding person I’ve ever known (as well as a quiet sufferer). Knowing these traits are gifts in my life kept me quieter than I may have been otherwise. I knew that my feelings and I were respected. And because we were going through the exact same thing, mutual empathy surrounded us, making it unimportant – and totally unnecessary – to voice the obvious.

See also “Easy Homeschooling Starting Points: Simply Be Quiet

Being a Better Parent

Respect is the only foundation upon which a healthy relationship can be built, and the gift of respect works just as well with children as it does for you and me. Trouble is, our culture doesn’t encourage a whole lot of respect for children. If it did, we wouldn’t dream of, let alone encourage, locking children away from the real world as we do with schools. Homeschooling parents find that when they don’t send their kids away to spend the majority of the best time of the day with others, they attain a high level of respect for their children as unique people. Children who are respected become respect-ful. This is one of the elements that create the maturity and politeness so often observed in homeschoolers. It also sets the stage for a healthy (which today well may be termed “different”) parent – child relationship.

Be a Better Parent By Thinking Like a Kid

Blossoming from respect, my life partner and I found understanding and empathy, in part, because we were “in the same place at the same time.” Although as a parent you will have shared experiences with your child, the nature of things is that it’s impossible to ever truly be “in the same place at the same time.” This is explained most beautifully by Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet:

   You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

What you can do as a parent is “strive to be like them.” The easiest way to do so is to consciously look back to your own childhood. Remember what it was like to be small, culturally disrespected and invisible, and everything that accompanied that, both the good and the bad. In this way you will find in your heart the understanding and empathy that can manifest the respect your child deserves. When you “think like a kid” you minimize the natural and cultural differences between generations to build the strongest, most sound foundation of a healthy relationship as a parent and child.




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4 Responses to “Want to Be a Better Parent? Think Like a Kid”

  1. Thanks for the wonderful reminder. Adults often expect respect when it has never been modeled or shared. It’s a shame when we, as a culture, invalidate the feelings of children, because those feelings and thoughts really determine what they take from an experience as well as the direction of the relationship.

  2. […] build the strongest, most sound foundation of a healthy relationship as a parent and child.” Want to Be a Better Parent? Think Like a Kid/Be a Better Parent by Thinking Like Kid by Linda Dobson of Parent at the […]

    • Thank you so very very much for picking up on this and sharing the link, Anjuelle. I can tell by reading your post that you know our culture has a problem that many of us together must work to change. Thank you for the work you are accomplishing.

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