Parents, A Child's First Teacher - Mid-Pacific Institute

Heart-to-Heart with Parents

Parents, A Child's First Teacher

Posted on August 24, 2016

by Ms. Rivera on August 24, 2016

Our previous Elementary Counseling blog has a new name! Welcome to Heart-to-Heart with Parents! For those who are new to Mid-Pacific, I am the counselor for the preschool and elementary. In previous years, I wore an additional hat and that was the CE teacher for fifth grade. This year I will be focusing on providing support and resources for enhancing, strengthening, and nurturing our children's social and emotional learning and well-being.

As we move into this new school year, I think of the many parents, grandparents, and other family members who continuously provide our children with the care and nurturing that is so important for developing and growing.

Many years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to be a "parent" and help raise my niece from a very young age of 3 years old when, for various unfortunate reasons, her parents weren't able to care for her. I would often wonder, worry, and ask myself if I was doing everything possible to help her. I spoke with friends, family members, read books and attended classes to learn about raising a young child. I'm sure you can relate to some of this!

I asked a dear friend who was knowledgeable in this area and who had worked with young children and youth for many years, "What can I do to help my niece have a good life?" Here is what she said to me. She called it, "Parenting 101."

* Walk your talk-- Live your values-- Be an example for your child in your thoughts, actions and words.

* Make your home "safe" and have some kind of stability. Make your home compassionate, courteous, consistent, loving and fun, disciplined, and clean.

* Remember what you wanted in your heart as you were growing up.

* Take time to just BE. Find quiet moments and don't always be busy. Enjoy frequent moments in nature.

* Know your child, his/her concerns and places of denial.

* Give lots of hugs, smiles, and joy! Create family memories and also family rituals for special occasions.

* Express GRATITUDE often to each other. Thank your child often for things he/she does.

* Acknowledge, Celebrate, Congratulate and Applaud your child and his/her actions.

* Hold your child ABLE and see him/her WIN in her daily experiences.

* Most of all, keep your heart open to yours and your child's feelings, dreams, and thoughts.

Being a parent is indeed rewarding, and also very challenging, maybe even difficult at times. I felt so many different feelings-- joy, sadness, anxiety, frustration, worry, excitement, and many more! A child's life is entrusted to us to guide, nurture, and love. What an awesome responsibility, as well as a blessing! In return, we learn about ourselves and our own thinking, and often become the recipient of our child's wonderful hugs, admiration, and love.

My niece is now all grown up! She is a young working mother and a caring compassionate person. She has three beautiful children, two little boys and a girl. She often called me her aunty-mom, and I called her my niece-daughter. It was such a special time in our lives! We now text, talk on the phone or do Face Time because she lives in N. Dakota. And she thanked me for how I helped her as she was growing up. I thanked her also for helping me learn about life. She said she does many of the same activities with her children as I did with her. So, I offer a deep thank you and admiration to all the parents, grandparents, and other family members who are there to help our children as they grow, develop, learn, and experience life.