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Positive Practices for healthy relationships

Some of us were blessed with loving parents.   Others experienced parental neglect, rejection or abuse.  The example our parents give us is our main teaching on parenting.  Sometimes this training fell short.  We were not taught how to show love, respect or support.  In other words we never saw in practice the principles that build warm, wholesome relationships.

In my speaking, writing and work on-line it has been a revelation to me, how many young adults have asked me specifically, “Will you be my mom?”  When I ask them what they mean, they say, “I need someone to care.  I need someone to listen.  I need someone to encourage me.”

Just this past week a woman in my neighborhood asked me, “Will you be my mom?”  When she was just a little girl she lost her mom to HIV / AIDS.  She said that she longs for someone to care about her, encourage her and share wisdom with her.  I said, “I would be honored to share motherly love with you.”

It got me to thinking  how do we nurture ourselves?  How do we become good parents to our biological children as well as to others in our lives who need us to play an encouraging, supportive role?

Here are some principles I use as a parent in working with my own children.   I also use these same guidelines when working with other children and adults who look to me for support.
If you don’t have your own children, you can read these ideas substituting the child focus to any person who seeks your love and guidance.   You might also consider these ideas as ways you can love and parent yourself.

  1. Be fully present.  Have you noticed that people are often physically present (the body is there), but mentally absent?   Busy parents tend to feel that caring for their children means providing adequate financial support.  That’s part of it.  However, kids spell love:  T-I-M-E.    You may have limited time with your children because you work long days.  That’s as it is.  Make what little time you have with your children quality time by offering them your full attention.    When you return home each evening, symbolically choose to drop your bag of concerns outside.  Then walk in free to give yourself to the one’s you love.   Put away your cell phone, let go of the day’s frustrations and tomorrow’s fears.Look into their eyes.  Study their faces.  How are they doing today?  Do they seem happy or might there be something bothering them?  If you tune in, you will find natural opportunities to support your family emotionally.  This type of support is priceless.Some parents think that they can replace moments together with toys and other material things.   There is no substitute for quality time.  Remember, “Your children need your presence more than your presents.” (Rev. Jesse Jackson).

    Affirm:  I am fully present when I interact with others.

  2. Listen.  Don’t you find it helpful when someone is willing to sit and listen to you tell a story or explain something that’s bothering you?   Isn’t it a comfort to know that another person will lend their ear as you express your feelings?  Giving undivided attention is a way to show love.  When we listen without interrupting or criticizing, we create a safe place for a child.  Simply listening with acceptance gives you the wonderful opportunity of getting to know your child more deeply.  Doing this creates a bond that children and parents (all human beings) desperately long for.  Create trust and openness.  Then as children grow, they can keep turning to you rather than their peers for support and guidance.

    Affirm:  I listen patiently and attentively.

  3. Touch and comfort, hold them when needed.  Studies have shown that a human beings need for affection is as deep as his need for food, clothing and shelter .   Patting the back, stroking the hair, holding a hand while walkingeach of these is a way to give a child a sense of connection and security.  Hugs that last a few seconds longer than normal warm our hearts and soften our spirits.  The Dalai Lama reminds us, “We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.”

    Affirm:  I offer loving touches in wise ways.

  4. Clarify family values (for your nuclear family and the human family).  Come up with a few statements reflecting the character traits you choose to exemplify as a family.  Here are the guidelines we use.  As members of the Omoqui family, We respect others.  We use our words wisely.  We are kind.  We share what we have.  We listen.  We are honest.  It may be helpful to post this Family Mission Statement in a place where everyone can see it regularly.   These are the values you will want to reinforce again and again and again.  Of course if you are going to “preach” these guidelines you better be ready to live them.  If you are not, don’t worry, your children will begin to remind you.  (Mine certainly do!)

    Affirm:  I clarify and live my values.

  5. Remember children are your teachers too!  Dealing with my children pushes me to grow as a person.  It is challenging to be a parent.    Society doesn’t require certification as a prerequisite to parenting.  Thus, we learn on the job.  Be willing to see your children as learning partners, even teachers.  Listen to their words of wisdom and acknowledge them.  Applaud their curiosity, their love, and the joy they express.  Let it inspire you to find a new found love for life.

    You don’t have to be a perfect parent; it is simply impossible.  We are human.  Sometimes it is important to admit mistakes you make with your children and say you are sorry.  This kind of honesty builds trust.  As one wise parent said, “Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.” (H. Jackson Brown Jr.)  When we learn and grow together, we build wholesome, happy relationships that become richer and more satisfying with time.

    Affirm:  I honor others as my learning partners.  I am willing to grow.

Your assignment for this week is to think of one relationship that is important to you, one that you really want to see grow.  Now choose one principle and begin using it regularly in that relationship.  Be patient with yourself and the other person.  Consistent application of these ideas over time is certain to bring improvement.

Please contact me if you need a speaker to motivate your employees to greater levels of excellence or to inspire an audience at your special event.  Stay in touch with me on Facebook and Twitter.  Sign up for free daily, inspirational emails by visiting  www.patriciaomoqui.com .  Put your email address into the red box called Food For Thought.

Food For Thought
“If I had my child to raise all over again,
I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging and less tugging.”
– Diane Loomans,
from “If I Had My Child To Raise
Over Again”

Patricia G. Omoqui 2010, All Rights Reserved

Patricia Omoqui, The Thought Dr. â„¢, is an internationally recognized inspirational speaker, life coach and writer.  Patricia’s mission in life is to inspire people to move beyond fear so they can reach their full potential.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.