11 Things to do with your child instead of saying “Be nice”

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“Be nice.”

It’s a phrase well-meaning parents everywhere say to their children. I sometimes hear it fall from my own mouth, and wonder where it came from as I don’t intentionally use it. With intention, I’d address the problem specifically, and offer more guidance in making it better without blindly suggesting to my child that he isn’t nice. Although I have many problems with the phrase “be nice”, my main one is that the actual message often has nothing to do with being nice at all.

Recently at a playground, I saw a little girl sitting in a sandbox completely immersed in scooping pebbles into a bucket. A boy her same age starting pulling at the shovel she was using. The mother of the girl said, “Honey, he wants a turn with the shovel. Why don’t you share it? Go ahead, be nice.”

Was giving up her shovel and forgoing her project really the nice thing to do? Perhaps we confuse being nice with pleasing others at the expense of ourselves? Are we teaching our children this is virtuous? Avoiding conflict isn’t more important than asserting ourselves, yet that’s often the message behind “be nice”. Self-denial then becomes the nice thing to do, and rather than follow our hearts we let the expectations of others guide us. In this way, we fall out of alignment with ourselves. We forget how to honor ourselves because we are so preoccupied with external validation.

 

Read More: What Are We Subconsciously Teaching Our Kids?

 

Personally, I never wanted to be defined as nice. It’s a good start, but it’s not enough. People get called “nice” when they’re pleasant, but lack a certain oomph that makes them stand out. “Nice” people are kind, but something stands in the way of knowing them on a deeper level. That something is usually niceness itself, as truth is often sacrificed in order to appease and be non-confrontational. When we tell our children to be nice, we unintentionally interfere with their relationship with themselves and others.

Authenticity is niceness in its highest form. It’s honest, and that’s what all people want and deserve. It’s also what we owe ourselves. Let’s not unknowingly lead our children to believe otherwise through the confusing message of “be nice”. The lesson that little girl really needed is how to say, “I’m enjoying my shovel right now, but when I’m through, you can use it. ” It teaches her to assert herself while still speaking calmly. It also helps the boy develop respect of people’s time, space, and belongings. It reduces entitlement and fosters mutual respect.

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Below are 11 things to do instead of saying “Be nice”:

1.) Be specific.  “Be nice” is too vague.  Telling children the baby likes to be touched gently and the dog likes to be pet slowly is more helpful. Dr. Deborah Miller of Nemours says an important part of giving directions is to use clear action words. She says, “Use ‘Sit here quietly and wait, please’ instead of ‘Be good.'”

2.) Ask questions to evoke reflection and self-correction. When it’s not so easy to give specific directions, it might be appropriate to say, “Is what you’re saying (or doing) helpful or hurtful?”

2.) Be Non-Judgmental. Assume your child is always nice. When he or she needs more guidance, correct their behavior, not their character.

Read More: Timeless Parenting In The 21st Century

 

4.) Validate feelings. Allow children to say how they feel, even if it’s not what you want to hear. My 4-year-old sometimes says, “I hate my baby brother!” Rather than telling him not to say that, I simply say, “It’s hard to have a brother sometimes, isn’t it?” Dr. Jeffery Bernstein, a psychologist and relationship expert says, “Validating the feelings of your children helps them to feel understood. To help your child feel understood, it means you keeping your ego and desire to lecture in check. Validating your child’s feelings also means that you don’t judge him or her. Instead, you simply acknowledge his or her feelings. This takes focus and discipline as parents. As I share with my clients, the best discipline you can give your child is having the self-discipline to be patient, empathetic, and loving—especially when he or she is not acting lovable.”

5.) Have rules. Mirjam Schoning, vice president of the LEGO foundation,in her article Children in Charge, talks about a Swiss school, Villa Monte, that has no teachers, exams, or report cards. They believe in non-interference with children’s self-driven learning process and minimize praise and criticism. They follow only one rule which is, “You should not do anything to other children that they do not like.” Such a rule lets children know what it means to “be nice”, which is primarily to respect the boundaries of others.

6.) Communicate and compromise. Last night, my son wanted me to play tag with him. I told him I felt tired and wanted to relax which upset him. I said, “You really want me to play tag, and I really want to sit down. What can we do to both be happy?” He said, “I know! You can walk instead of run or we can set the timer for just two minutes.” We agreed on playing for two minutes, which honored both of our feelings. Neither of us was forced to sacrifice ourselves for the other.

7.) Teach boundaries. Dr. Shefali Tsabary, clinical psychologist and author of The Awakened Family says, “What I see as the core problem with the message, “be nice” is this: a lack of appreciation for the sacred power of boundaries.” Teach the power of boundaries by having them yourself. Say, “No, you may not play with my make-up.” “No, you may not jump on me.” “No, you may not hit.” Also, respect their boundaries. If my child doesn’t want a kiss, I don’t force it. If he doesn’t want to share his new toy, I don’t make him. (If he doesn’t want to brush his teeth, that’s another story. However, through honest communication, he generally understands the non-negotiable stuff.) Children should know having boundaries isn’t mean, but necessary.

8.) Give them tools to cope. When my 4-year-old gets frustrated he often yells, throws things, and stomps around. I’ve been teaching him to count to ten, take deep breaths, and ask for help. Of course, in order to solidify these behaviors, I must model them.

 

Read More: Why Saying “Thank You” Is Much More Than Just Good Manners

 

9.) Teach empathy. There are many ways to teach kindness without insisting they “be nice”. We often talk about how different people feel in given situations. Before we go to playgrounds we talk about how someone would feel if they were left out of a game. Before going to someone’s house for a play date we talk about how hard it can be when other people come over and play with all our toys. When we mention this Javin usually wants to bring one of his toys to the friend he’s visiting to make sharing easier.

 

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10.) Model compassion. The other day we were walking around the lake at our local park. There was a homeless man sitting on a bench, and I immediately thought of all the bananas I had in my backpack that would most likely not get eaten, but bumped and bruised, and sworn off forever. I offered one to the man. Javin was uncomfortable and confused by this exchange. I explained to him how some people don’t have a home, or enough food because they don’t have much money. This realization made him sad, but I told him that we can always do our best to help. He said, “Let’s go to the store to get more bananas to give out!”

11.) Let them know they won’t always be liked by everyone, and that’s okay. I wish I accepted this a long time ago- it’s so freeing! Dr. Shefali Tsabary says, “If nice is in the way of authentic, it’s not a true relationship.”

We don’t need to tell our children to be nice, because they already are, and they should trust that. If their behavior needs redirection or they’re lacking consideration, they need more specific guidance. If we insist they “be nice” to avoid conflict or please others, then it’s our behavior that needs redirection.

Although I trust my children will be kind and generous, these qualities don’t come from denial of their true feelings. Good-doing comes when we are aligned with ourselves and act from our heart- not out of fear of judgment or rejection.

About the Author:

Amanda profile picAmanda Elder is a writer with a background in education and child development. She now prides herself in also being a professional diaper-changer and sword-fighter. She mostly writes about parenting, marriage, and women’s issues. She lives in Orlando, FL with her two sons and husband who is a resident physician. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Her writing has appeared on Scary Mommy, Huffington Post, Parent.co and several other places. She blogs on http://www.stayathomepanda.com/.

Why Saying “Thank You” Is Much More Than Good Manners

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Our children should learn to say ‘Thank you.’ And No. It’s not just about good manners. Here’s why.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a friend come to visit us, and I cooked three hot meals in one day in his honor. During the final meal, our guest said it was good, and thanked me. I replied, “Eh. It could use some more flavor.” Looking back, I don’t know why the hell I didn’t just say, “You’re welcome.”

Regardless of if it could have used more flavor or not, I spent my time and energy preparing it out of love, and appreciation was absolutely in order. Why didn’t I let myself just receive it? Did I feel the meal had to be given a five-star rating before I could accept it? Our friend said again after a few more bites, “No, this really is good.” I still argued with him, unable to just say “Yes, and you are so welcome!”

It’s so common for females to respond like this that it almost feels weird when they act in contrasting ways. For example, there’s a Brazilian family that lives across the street from us with two girls, ages 10 and 12. They were out front of our house yesterday, and I said, “I heard you are good singers. Is it true?”  They both smiled and said yes.

That was it!

They didn’t downplay their ability or shy away. They didn’t need to be nationally-recognized to recognize themselves. I wasn’t only impressed; I was surprised. I asked them to sing a song for me, with zero expectation they actually would, but they caught me off guard again. The two of them stood beside each other in the driveway and sang the Star Spangled Banner in its entirety. They didn’t waver, not even when my 4-year-old had a near melt-down on the sidewalk.

I admired them and wondered why so many others don’t readily accept compliments. Are women accustomed to denying themselves? People often tell me they like my hair, and my response is usually some version of, “This crazy mess?” People compliment my home, I say, “Oh, it’s getting there.” Does it take something spectacular for us to feel worthy? Are we teaching our children to do the same, and what might be the repercussions?

Dr. Guy Winch, a clinical psychologist, says one of the reasons people shy away from compliments is that they seek to verify their own perceptions of themselves. When someone with low self-esteem receives a compliment, he doesn’t want to accept it, believe it, or disappoint the person by not being able to live up to their expectations.

This is true in some cases, like when someone tells me that I’m a great mom, and I say, “Oh, you’re just catching me at a good moment.” What I’m really saying is “I can’t quite accept your compliment because I don’t want you to think my kids, and I will always be this well-behaved. I don’t want to let you down.”

But other times it has nothing to do with self-esteem. To be honest, my hair is amazing, so why do I downplay it? I think it’s more of a cultural thing like we are raised to believe that the act of accepting compliments is really equivalent to bragging, and deflecting them is humble.

In reality, though, there’s nothing respectful about refusing to receive our own awesomeness, and nothing virtuous in being skeptical of our worth. Owning and celebrating our gifts (however big, or small, or average they may be) gives us confidence, and confidence is the driving force behind sharing our gifts with the world.

The way we speak and think influences our perceptions. Margie Warrell, a coach and leadership developer, says, “Psychologists have found that our subconscious mind interprets what it hears very literally. The words that come out of your mouth, therefore, create the reality you inhabit. For better or worse.” When we undermine compliments, we undermine ourselves. We must teach our children that doing so is not a sign of kindness and modesty.

 

Saying thank you

 

The other day, we were at our community pool. My preschooler started telling another neighbor about how good he is at swimming. I felt mildly embarrassed like maybe a quick lesson on the norm of not speaking too highly of ourselves was in order. Then I giggled with pleasure that he actually felt so sure of himself, and open with others in sharing his excitement. I want him to keep whatever positive inner dialogue he has that motivates this.

I don’t want to pepper it with doubt by telling him to be confident, but not too confident, know that you’re amazing, but pretend to others you don’t. I stepped back and let him do his thing (my favorite parenting strategy). Most kids seem to naturally celebrate their awesomeness, till they learn they’re kind of not supposed to. I refuse to be the teacher of that.

Here’s how I’m teaching my children to thank themselves, and to receive it from others:

1. Practice self-gratitude

We teach our children to thank others, but do we teach them to thank themselves? The other day, my 4-year-old was stroking his baby brother’s head, and I told him, “You’re so loving. You should thank your heart for being so kind.” He put his hand on his heart and said, “Thank you.” Matt Kahn, author of Whatever Arises, Love That says, “If you’re not complimenting yourself, the compliments of others will never be enough.”

2. Acknowledge and appreciate whatever comes up

Unpleasant emotions and reactions arise in us but usually have a purpose. My preschooler was getting frustrated trying to draw hearts the other day. He wanted them to look perfect. I told him to talk to his frustration and say, “Thank you for coming to visit me to let me know I need to take some deep breaths.” Then we talked about if he needed to take a break or simply stop being so hard on himself. By thanking his frustration, he was aware of his emotions, without letting them take over him.

3. Ask “What have you done good today?”

I ask this as part of our bedtime conversation. He acknowledges things like his fast running, good listening, and kindness to his brother. In answering these questions, it’s clear that we don’t need to be rocket scientists, Olympian athletes, or Mother Teresa to feel good about ourselves. We are deserving just the way we are.

4. Model it myself

I’m undergoing some positive changes in this process. Now, when compliments come my way, I smile and say thank you. It makes me feel good and makes the giver feel good too. We experience a momentary connection in the celebration of goodness, and the world instantly feels like a better place. I say thank you, not only because I’m worthy, but because my children are watching me, and I want them to know they’re worthy, too.

5. Watch out for negative self-talk

Sometimes my son pouts and says things like, “I don’t do nice things for my family.” To statements like these, I tell him how important it is to talk kindly to ourselves. I tell him that we believe what we say and that we must say good things about ourselves.

 

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6. Give him instructions on how to accept kind gestures

When I was 17, I worked in a restaurant as a hostess. I used to deny tips people offered me out of “niceness.” One of the older servers saw me do this and told me, “Always accept. If someone wants to give you something, it’s because it makes them feel good and because you deserve it. Take it, smile, and say thank you.” This is the same advice I will give on accepting compliments.

We are all worthy of feeling good just as we are. What we do naturally is a contribution, even if it’s making people smile, being gentle with the baby, or break-dancing to the Police. Children who don’t accept and acknowledge their own goodness are holding themselves back by their own criticism, perfectionism, or insecurity.

The result is a society of people who are too nice to be confident and too unassuming to know their worth. The result is a world of goodness denying itself. When we break this cycle, our children won’t just feel happy, they will feel empowered, and everyone reaps the benefits.

It’s time we let our children know the truth, that self-denial is not virtuous, and self-love is not vain. It is in our ability to love ourselves that we can love others. It is practicing gratitude with ourselves that we can do it at large. By teaching our children to thank themselves and accept others’ compliments with grace, the world might just become a healthier, more functional place.

About the Author:

Amanda profile picAmanda Elder is a writer with a background in education and child development. She now prides herself in also being a professional diaper-changer and sword-fighter. She mostly writes about parenting, marriage, and women’s issues. She lives in Orlando, FL with her two sons and husband who is a resident physician. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Her writing has appeared on Scary Mommy, Huffington Post, Parent.co and several other places. She blogs on http://www.stayathomepanda.com/.

 

6 Things You Must Know About Your ‘Difficult Child’!

Difficult Child

One evening, as I was propping some old shutters behind my son’s bed, I was hardly aware that I was to encounter a classic “difficult child” moment. It started as an innocent conversation when he asked, “What are you doing, Mama?” I told him I was thinking about making him a headboard out of the old wood. I said, “Wouldn’t it be fun? You can pick the color you want to paint it.” He beamed with pride and chose without hesitation, “Rainbow. I want to paint it rainbow. Right now.”

“It’s 7:00 pm, Love. We’re about to get a bath and get ready for bed, but we can go to the store in the morning.” That’s when his meltdown began. He cried on and on, trying to convince me to get rainbow paint that very instant.

My son is four, and I’ve grown accustomed to the big emotions and impatience of toddlers. Although I’ve endured plenty of whining, yelling, and collapsing, these behaviors have a way of slowly stripping away the sanity of even the most patient parents. I value parenting in gentle ways, but I’ve lost my cool plenty of times. Throwing adult tantrums in response to his is never good, because it models poor behavior, expresses defeat, and fails to give him what he really needs from me in these trying moments.

Uh, Oh. Was he beginning to show the difficult child symptoms?

As he wept over rainbow paint, I stayed unemotional, not only through practice but with awareness of his needs that brought forth this meltdown.

Because I have understood that a difficult child is anything but that. They are difficult because they are having a hard time themselves.

Also Read:  Why The Challenge Of Parenting Is Timeless

Below are six things your ‘difficult child’ want us to know:

They want boundaries

Undoubtedly, toddlers and preschoolers test limits. While it might seem like they want to be in charge, pushing boundaries is often their way of asking for more. Dr. Marianne Neifert, a pediatrician and parenting expert, says in her article “Why Kids Need Rules,” “No matter how often children act as if they want to be in control, having too much power is frightening. They intuitively know that they need an adult to be in charge, and they count on their parents to guide their behavior.”

They want to be heard

Simply letting my child know I understand exactly what he’s feeling is enough to help him. I sat beside him and said calmly, “You want to go out and get the paint right now. I understand. That’d be fun. You’re upset because we have to wait till tomorrow.” Even though I didn’t change my stance, and go out for the paint, he calmed a little just by being acknowledged. Dr. Harvey Karp, author of Happiest Toddler on the Block, says the best way to talk to anyone who is upset is to repeat what he said (with sincerity) before saying what you think. He states, “The best communicators show they truly understand someone’s feelings before expecting that person to be able to hear their advice.”

Also Read: Why You Shouldn’t Freak Out When You Catch Your Child Lying

They have an unmet need

All parents know that tired or hungry children are prone to fussiness. When my son’s upsets seem a little irrational, I always look for a potential unmet need that’s triggering him. On the day of the rainbow paint situation, my son wasn’t feeling well. He was cooped up and in front of the TV for way too long by himself. Knowing this doesn’t excuse his behavior, but helps me meet his need. We took a little walk outside together, and he calmed down quickly.

They’re not out to get us

No Bad kids Janet Lansbury

I’m sure I’m not the only parent who’s gotten angry or frustrated in response to my children’s meltdowns. However, maintaining the right perspective helps me be the leader he needs me to be. Janet Lansbury, child development expert and author of ‘No Bad Kids‘ writes in an article, “When we remind ourselves repeatedly that challenging behavior is a little lost child’s call for help, we begin to see the ridiculousness of taking this behavior personally. We recognize the absurdity of reactions like, “How could you treat me like this after all I do for you?! Why don’t you listen?” Perspective gives us the patience, confidence and the calm demeanor we need to be able to help.”

There is no ‘difficult child’- only different

Kids test limits; it’s what they’re wired to do. They have meltdowns because they are emotionally-charged and express themselves in immature ways. Children who are being difficult are not naughty or bad. Dr. Peggy Drexler, a research psychologist, says in the article “Don’t Shame Children in Pursuit of Discipline,” “[Children] act out as they learn how to get their desires met; all kids, at one point or another, will express a feeling or need in a socially unacceptable way. The job of the parent is to help children develop positive strategies for expressing those feelings and needs.” She continues to say that shaming, even in its most subtle form is ineffective and destructive because children don’t distinguish their impulses from their selves. Rather than condemn the behavior, shaming ends up condemning the child and making him feel bad about himself.

Also Read: You Could Be Jeopardising Your Child’s Budding Relationships.

They need our love unconditionally

Don’t withhold it as a punishment. Dr. Drexler says positive discipline is so effective because rather than reprimanding to intimidate or to evoke fear, an incident can be an opportunity for connection. The parent shouldn’t punish by shaming, hitting, or belittling, but use redirection and discussion to teach appropriate conduct. Through conversation, the parent discovers the motivation behind unwanted behaviors and earns greater insight into her child.

Dr. Charlotte Reznick, a child educational psychologist, says in “The Heart of Discipline” that although there are numerous books and classes on the topic of raising children, parents are still at a loss for how to discipline. She explains that parents are missing something critical, “They are forgetting their heart. Forgetting that love is not just a noun, but also a verb. That means acting lovingly, with kindness and awareness.”

It’s not always easy to remain centered and calm when our buttons and being pushed. I, personally, have Irish blood that is quick to boil. However, with focus and practice, we can rewire our responses. We can learn to take a time out for ourselves, do some breathing, and always let love guide our parenting.

Switching to parenting in a more gentle way isn’t always comfortable. It’s not a quick fix and comes with doubt at first. I found myself wondering if I was doing what I needed to in response to my child’s outbursts. I believed in affording my toddler the freedom to express his feelings, yet every time he carried on in front of other people I felt self-conscious. I wondered if I was taking enough action. I worried that people would think I was a pushover. Maybe they’d consider my kid was a brat and believe that it’s my fault. However, when we push aside outside pressures and turn inward, we do what truly feels right to us.

Rebecca Eanes, the author of Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, says, “I believe the relationship we have with our children is the most important element of parenting. It is the value of our connection that determines how well they listen to us, accept our limits and values, and cooperate.”

Parenting from the heart isn’t only the most sensitive, but the most effective. Messages get distorted and lost in anger, frustration, and the need to control. But through connection, they are clear. However, none of us are perfect. We all lose our cool at some point, and we shouldn’t get down on ourselves. These are opportunities for teaching and learning humility and reconciliation.

When my son threw a fit because I wouldn’t take him to the store for rainbow paint, I could have gotten flustered and aggravated. However, I knew he wasn’t giving me a hard time- he was having one. His cries were a request for guidance and a call for understanding. With this perspective, I didn’t overreact. I didn’t yell, hit, or threaten. I made it clear I knew what he wanted, then told him I’d be willing to talk to him more once he calmed down. He had the freedom to cry, and when he was done, we agreed to go to the store the following day. I knew that what he really needed was to get out of the house and connect with his family. When the storm passed, we took a stroll around our neighborhood, with our dignity and relationship intact.

About the Author:

Amanda profile picAmanda Elder is a writer with a background in education and child development. She now prides herself in also being a professional diaper-changer and sword-fighter. She mostly writes about parenting, marriage, and women’s issues. She lives in Orlando, FL with her two sons and husband who is a resident physician. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Her writing has appeared on Scary Mommy, Huffington Post, Parent.co and several other places. She blogs on http://www.stayathomepanda.com/.

 

Are you jeopardising your child’s relationships?

That special bond!

That special bond!

I sat with Khyati(name changed), a lively 5-year old and talked about her vacations to her grandparents’. Khyati talked animatedly with her eyes wide open; the way only children can talk without any preamble. I asked her when she was going next. Her agile face immediately transformed into a mixture of sorrow and innocence, again, the kind only children can manage. “ We may not go again; they had a fight.”

Adult relationships are plagued with misunderstandings. I do not know of a single relationship close enough that has NO friction at all. Moms/daughters, Dads/daughters, Sons/moms, Dads/Sons, mothers-in-law /daughters-in-law, brother/sisters, even close friends; every relationship has its own sour points and those ‘better-to-shut-up-than- to- talk” moments. Oh, yeah- not to mention husbands and wives. Somehow, in all this, a child’s relationship with other important adults (grandparents, etc) should not get sidelined.

The most common and insidious ways that this happens are.

  1. Complaining: Constant bickering about how we have been ‘wronged’ by the other party, instills a sense of confusion first, then, distrust for people in growing children. Children are very highly equipped to read emotional signals and can become emotionally distant from everybody. Moreover, it can be a terrible let-down that the person so loved by them is projected in bad light. Many children grow up into adults with relationship issues because of this.
  1. Putting barriers: When there are unambiguous signals that they(the children) should not see/meet/talk to the other ‘party’ unless one adult apologizes to the other. We see a lot of this in hierarchical societies where a visual token of apology is expected before things can be ‘normal’ again. Very young children may still want to spend time with the other; but may be too scared to ask; barring their communication skills forever.
  1. Vindicating yourself: Some adults put up an emotional smokescreen by justifying their actions to the child, (irrespective of whether he is ready for it or not) to make themselves look good. Digging up the past to reinforce their own ideas and opinions of the other and worse still, drumming it into the child for their own benefit are more common than we would like. It could be because they are desperately looking to break a communication barrier somewhere or it could be just their insecurity that the child will judge them wrongly- whatever the reason might be; the child deserves better than being a patron to the adult misery.
  1. Judging the child’s behavior based on pre-conceived opinions. “You have taken after your father’s disgusting habit”. We have heard this so many times. When they feel powerless about their own child-raising methods, they launch into an indirect attack on the counterpart. What they skip to notice is that that statement is having a very damaging effect on the child- because the child has come to identify himself with the counterpart as well!

So, is there no way out? There might be, if we stepped back and reconsidered our positions.

In cases of a physically or emotionally abusive relationship; it’s a much better approach to sit the child down and talk to him about the choices. If the relationship has to end, he deserves to know why, and what he should expect next. But feeding him bits of our own anguish every now and then, after having made a decision to stay in the relationship can be even more detrimental.

Most cases are non-abusive but annoying parts of a relationship. It is really a great policy to pledge to keep your children out of your issues. Even if you have just had a hot new fight with your parent or in-laws, refrain from stopping your children from spending time with them. It will help your children learn to separate issues from people. “Mom doesn’t like granny doing this- but that does not mean she doesn’t love her anymore”.

Are children never supposed to learn of your power struggles? One of my friends once lamented, “I wish I knew my mom had those struggles with my granny. It would have helped me understand her more as a person. Sometimes, I have judged her harshly.” At one point, when the children seem ready, it’s really okay to bring them to see our side of reason as part of a conversation rather than indiscriminate constant ranting. But even then, we need to make it amply clear that their relationship need not change based on our own.

Our children should not have to deal with the stress of our inability to get along with their loved ones. Its never a good idea to spill your unresolved issues onto the next generation.  With the exception of risking their safety; involving a child in adult differences should never be an option. They have a right to make, build and foster their own relationships.

Our children really deserve all the love the world can offer.

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