To be honest, I’m kind of a late bloomer when it comes to learning healthy parenting. Beginning as a parent myself many years back, I’d to overcome my own “parent wounds” so I can better parent my own children.
Still, along the way, I made mistakes that I need to learn from. And I’m glad I’ve been able to do some makeups these recent years despite my self and my past mistakes. I praise God for the gift of days I spend with my children together and the opportunity to learn to be a “healed” better father to them.
Among other things, here is one big practical parenting lesson I realized along the way: a child’s thinking is more emotional than cognitive. I learned the hard way that a child’s memory is much more strongly affected by feelings than by facts. Being more cognitive than emotional myself, I somehow felt that I “lectured” and disciplined too much during my earlier parenting years.
So now, I do what I can to make time to build warm memories and be a friend to my children. It’s a struggle at times for there are other variables outside of me influencing the mind and heart of my kids. But this time, I make intentional efforts to care for and nurture them emotionally by having “fun” taking walks, eating out, doing things together, watching movies, hanging around, going to church and places, buying stuffs etc.
Yes, our children do experience emotions about us parents each day. Feelings of love, joy, security. Or, feelings of pain, sadness, anger. And they will carry those feelings in their inner being for a lifetime. If you are a parent like me, what can you do to develop memories with your kids where emotions are warm and pleasant, when there is a sense of excitement, discovery, and fun?
We parents need those golden memories and moments to plant life lessons, warm feelings, a rich sense of God’s presence and love into the hearts and lives of our children. Isn’t that the best preventive mental health care ever?