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All parents want their children to have the best lives possible. Many of them work in order to be able to buy new toys for them, others are strict because they want their children to be disciplined and goal-oriented, others give their children a choice and teach them to make decisions on their own. Every family has its own ways of upbringing, but there is one thing that all parents have in common: when they look back, they all want to fix some of the mistakes they made in the past.
We at Bright Side are sure that the first years of a child’s life are a magical time that you should enjoy. Because in the future, you might regret some lost opportunities. So, take a look at the things that many parents regret in order to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
1. They didn’t enjoy their communication with their child.
A small child that quickly grows from a baby to a relatively self-sufficient person really needs constant contact with adults. But the truth is, parents need this communication as well. Yes, there is less free time and it’s okay if a mother does something while her child is playing games. But if you turn this into a habit, at some point, you might notice that your child has grown up already and is living their own life. There is no way to bring back the time you lost, so try to be not only physically close to your child, but also mentally close with them. Enjoy the time you spend together.
2. They didn’t hug their children often enough.
Scientists have proven the importance of hugs for health (for both moral and physical health). There are a lot of obvious advantages, but you will probably agree that it’s just nice to hug your own baby. Sometimes, parents don’t do this for different reasons and most of them are fallacies or outdated (like with advice telling mothers, “don’t hold them for too long, they’ll get used to it…”). Over time, the child will grow up and won’t let you hug them. So savor these moments while you still can.
3. They didn’t take enough photos and videos.
Of course, nothing bad will happen if you don’t take photos. It won’t impact the child’s mental state, their moral qualities, or their physical health. But it is very likely that in the future, you will want to remember some of the most valuable moments of your life and share these emotions with your adult children. Many parents really regret not using a camera more when they should have. You will never watch the recording of a fireworks show but you will definitely want to see (more than once) the first steps your baby takes. And photo albums (despite having all the devices and technology we have today) are still the best and the most reliable way to keep the important photos.
4. They didn’t write down their first words.
These are just good memories. You could easily live without them, but it’s much better to have them.
5. They didn’t play enough creative games.
We’re not saying that if you play creative games with your child, they will definitely become a great artist or a musician. But there’s a chance. First, if you involve your child in a lot of different activities, you can find out what they have an interest in and what they’re good at. Later you can work on developing their strengths. Second, any kind of activity, for example, reading out loud to them or playing with playdough and toys with them develops their intelligence, imagination, and increases their vocabulary. Finally, you make the connection between you and your child stronger, and this alone is a good enough reason to do something together. Experienced parents often regret not having noticed the talents of their children, even though some abilities can be noticed at a very young age. Offer your child the chance to try out different games and read as much as possible.
6. They were too strict.
It’s one thing to tell someone off for a bad thing they did and it’s completely different to start nitpicking. There’s a popular myth that the higher the expectations are, the more successful the person becomes. But in reality, you can actually get the opposite effect: behavioral problems and even development issues. And, of course, one of the downsides could be a poor relationship with your children. Punishments for bad grades are also harmful — they can only decrease their overall success in school. Punish and reward your children only for the things that really matter. An “F” and a broken cup have never made anyone unhappy.
7. They didn’t take their child’s opinion into account.
There’s something about the number of times you’ve heard phrases like, “You’re too young to decide,” or “Adults know better,” and the fact that it’s unpleasant to hear something like this. But offending your child is not the worst thing that happens in this instance. Children whose opinion was often neglected may grow up to be insecure. It actually makes perfect sense: how can you know what you want from life if there was always someone who made all the decisions for you? Let your child choose and express their own opinion. It’s better to discuss their wishes and explain things, than to ignore and limit them.
8. They didn’t make their child happy enough.
Good memories from our childhood are the most valuable things that nobody can take away from us. More than that, small vacations can turn into bigger accomplishments later: if a child is growing in a healthy atmosphere and has a lot of new experiences, it means that they are actively developing. Happy children find it easier to adapt to adult life and start new relationships. Parents are also often nostalgic about the time they spent together. So, enjoy it and think about how to make your life more interesting. Make sure your child has as many happy moments in their life as possible.
9. They often followed someone else’s advice.
There are people who love giving advice, even if it’s inappropriate and young mothers often listen to them. When you see these “experts,” you will hear a lot of information on how to dress, feed, and educate your child better. But the truth is, you are the parent and you know better than anyone else what is good for your child and what is not. Of course, you can listen to these pieces of advice, but it doesn’t mean you have to follow them. And another thing, you should not let strangers tell your child off for being naughty. You should always take your child’s side and make them feel like you support them no matter what. When they need support, they should always be able to count on you.
10. They weren’t there for their children in the most important moments of their lives.
Some things that don’t seem serious to us, may be really serious to our children. And all people (especially children) need to have someone close to them at moments like these. Even if it seems like you have a good reason to miss your child’s birthday party, try not to. In the future, you will be sorry when you realize how many important events you have missed. Choose a time to decorate the Christmas tree, go to the theater, or visit your grandmother together. All these things are important. And when children grow up, you will miss these moments.
What do you think you will miss the most? Tell us in the comment section below.
Illustrated by Leisan Gabidullina for BrightSide.me