Friday, June 15, 2012

Parenting Tips: What kids really NEED

By Tiffany Rudd
I am expecting our fourth child in less than 2 weeks. Last night I was laying in bed and remembering what it was like when I was expecting our first. 
A few months before he was born the nursery was newly painted and decorated. I had spent hours sewing the perfect bedding and curtains. Rows of new tiny clothes were freshly washed and hanging in the closet. I had a list of things I still needed to purchase before the baby arrived. I remember my sister-in-law, who was expecting her third baby at the time, saying she needed to pick up some diapers and maybe a few onesies from the store before her little girl arrived. “That’s really all you need,” she said. I was shocked! What? My list of the things my baby NEEDED was huge! 
Now, here I am, a week or so away from bringing home a new baby. Last night I chuckled to myself as I thought, “I really need to pick up some diapers and a few onesies before this baby arrives.” No long list of NEEDS, no perfectly decorated nursery, no huge new wardrobe. But no less love.
It got me thinking about what my children really NEED from me. Do they need expensive things? A big and perfectly clean house? A mom who is a size 2? Boy I hope not. :)
When I really thought about it, there were a lot of things on the “needs” list that could easily be moved to the “wants” list. Or even to the “never going to happen” list. 
What is left? What do my children really need from me? Unconditional love, understanding, quality time (not necessarily quantity), guidance. Am I spending too much time, energy, and guilt on the “wants” list? 
So, here is my tip for myself and other parents. Let’s refocus our efforts on the truly important. Let’s let go of some of those wants and make room for needs. We don’t have to be perfect and we don’t have to give our kids everything. We can relax and focus on the things they really NEED. 
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