Having children is the most wonderful joy a person can have. It can also be extremely frustrating and stressful. 

I find it amazing how one minute I can look so lovingly at one of my children and the next be so angry and hurt by something she did or said. There are times as well where I am just as upset or disappointed with myself as to how I have responded to a situation. As the mother of three daughters, our home is a constant roller coaster of emotions as we navigate the situations that life presents to us. Through the years, I have learned that there are constants I must keep in mind in order to stay grounded and be the best mother I can be.

Know your ages and stages. Life is so much easier if you know what to expect. Each and every one of us is constantly learning and growing. There are predictable behaviors, feelings and growth patterns of all life stages from the womb to the tomb. Learn not only what the “norms” are for your child at their particular age but also think about yourself and where you are in your life’s journey. 

This, too, shall pass. I can remember when my daughter was a toddler and she had a screaming temper tantrum so loud you could hear her all throughout Macy’s. Talk about embarrassing! Or, how about my daughter who would only wear her Dalmatian sweatshirt day after day? I feel kind of sorry for firstborn children because they have to live through the worrying and fretting that parents do with each new challenge parenting presents to them. Once you have lived through the temper tantrums, potty training, learning how to drive and dating, you realize that “this, too, shall pass.” And, you and your child will survive.

Your child’s journey is just that…her journey. Don’t compare your child’s milestones with another child’s—not even a sibling’s. Ages and stages of growth and development are meant to be used as a rough guideline. They are not rigid and set in stone. Comparing your child’s growth and development to another’s will only cause frustration on your part and confusion and hurt for your child.

You cannot spoil a child with love. If he cries, reach out and comfort him. If she reaches her arms up to be held, hold her. If you know that saying “no” to them is the best for them, then say “no.” If they want you to be there with them, or even if they don’t, be a constant loving presence in their life. 

No matter what, never, ever, ever give up on your child! Keep in mind that you are your child’s safe haven. You may see a silly kid, a shy kid, a goofy immature kid, a quiet kid. But others may see that same child differently. They may see the kid whose silliness makes people laugh, a shy child who makes others feel at ease, or the quiet child who does not speak ill of anyone. You have no idea what lies ahead for them. They need you to believe in them, to have faith in them and to support them not only when things are good, but when things get difficult as well.

This article was written by Jill Mueller, RN, a nurse at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.


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