My Mum found my blog the other day. I say found it, I told her about it. You see when you start blogging it's easy to keep it to yourself but as you become more involved and start spending more time alone with your laptop, unless you want family to think you've got a porn addiction it's best to spill.
I was getting Roscoe ready to leave her house when I found her reading one of my posts. Holby was on so I considered myself very priviledged.
'Are you reading my blog?' I said.
She said, 'yes.'
I left one of those big non judgemental pauses you're supposed to use to give other people the opportunity to speak, but she didn't. Perhaps, I mused, she is so enthralled that she needs a few minutes to compose a response, but apparently that was not the case. I pouted a little and then I thought, I'm thirty four years old and all I want is to be seen by my primary caretaker that isn't even my primary caretaker anymore. Imagine if you were four and not thirty four and this person was not just mum but the centre of your universe. So here are four ways to make sure that your child feels seen...
DON'T JUST SAY WELL DONE It's too easy to just chuck 'well dones' out willy nilly. If you do this too often, like a lot of platitudes, it starts to lose meaning. Also it's not safe to assume your child knows what you're saying well done for. He's thinking, yes I've built a small tower of bricks but I'm also picking my nose so I'm not sure what to run with for this one. Compare 'well done' to 'well done for being a wonderful engaged parent that remembers to praise their child'. Which one feels better and which one if going to get you to repeat the behaviour?
DON'T IGNORE THEM AS PUNISHMENT Common advice is to ignore negative behaviour and whilst I agree that the behaviour itself should not be given attention, you've got to tune back in when the behaviour is over. If you want to express to your child you're hurt and sad tell them you're hurt and sad. There's nothing more painful than being ignored by someone you love, it doesn't tell a child their behaviour is bad it tells them they don't matter and when you don't matter you may as well misbehave.
REMIND THEM OF TIMES THEY'VE EXCELLED Remember that boss that could never be bothered to organise your appraisal? You hated that boss. Everyone wants to be reminded of when they did well by someone they trust. It's also wonderful to know that the great things you do last beyond the moment you did them. If someone reminds you of the brilliant things you've done in the past you're more likely to be able to remind yourself when you're feeling a little blue.
NOTICE STUFF ABOUT THEM How thrilling is it when a new friend or someone you fancy notices something unique about you? For example I have ridiculously small ears. It's a genetic quirk, the rest of my family has regular size ears. Usually after a few weeks of knowing someone they'll suddenly announce, 'your ears are tiny!' I love it. I bask in my tiny ears as evidence that I've been seen. Your child might not realise how cute their freckles are or how they always sleep in a starfish so enjoy sharing their beautiful quirks with them.
Do let me know any tips you have for helping your child feel seen. I'd also like to add that I learned all these things from my wonderful mum, it was just a very good episode of Holby.