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When my children were born, there were silent decrees that went into effect. One of which, was to provide way past the point of their well-being. After all and for the most part, my childhood was comfortable; I had all of what I needed and some of what I wanted.
At the time of their birth, however, I didn't realize that I was going to become a single parent, and that ninety-eight percent of their "well-being" would become my responsibility.
Somewhere within my reasoning capacity or coping mechanisms (I haven't figured out which...) I embarked upon a journey where the outcome should have been my fulfilled dreams and the children's needs being met at the same time. ...Yes, I was going to become the next greatest literary voice since Susan Taylor of Essence Magazine!
In that "Ah-Ha!" moment of imagined grandeur, which I mistook for tenacity, the intimate communication with my children waned and then stopped. I began hearing myself say, "Not now!" a lot more frequently than I should have. Their playful laughter, turned into hushed tones, and attention-getting methods were reduced to pointing and silent shoulder tapping. After all, Mommy had to think-Mommy had to network-Mommy had to write that "one" breath-taking, jaw-dropping story that would land the thousand-dollar by line! ...And for this, Mommy needed "SILENCE"!
Months of this "Mad-Hatter" work ethic turned into years of lost time with my children. I never even noticed how they resorted to their own devices of caring for one another's emotional woes-They had become (no matter how inept) problem solvers, in my absence.
Upon realization of the damage done by my selfish, blind pride and ego, I swore that my New Year's Resolution would be to fix my relationship with my children... I never made the promise to them, but decided within myself that certain changes would be made. The reason being, I had broken far too many promises in the past.
I came to realize that our children depend on us for guidance, and unless we wanted to create scary little narcissist who eventually rule the world; we will interact with and nurture our children. This happens by way of our positive examples.
Here are some steps that created resolute change in our relationship.
1) Take responsibility for your part in the damaged relationship.
2) Turn off the noise in your head and listen to your children-Actually hear what they are saying and how particular situations/matters affect them.
3) Make plans that highlight the interest of your children.
4) Depending on age, be open to their plans for family outings, dinner, vacations etc.
5) Don't be afraid to admit that you were wrong and should have made a better decision.
6) Apologize to your children.
7) Respect their feelings and tell them that you love them.
8) Last, teach them the boundaries of "your" space and "their" space. Don't cross over into theirs with selfish demands or go to the other extreme of closing them out.
You only get one chance to be a good parent, use it wisely.

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