Alas, Matthieu has returned to college for his final year. Had to repost this from last summer, as the information still holds true.
The older I get, the more I realize how important the role of rituals play in parenting. It’s true. We are all creatures of habit and I believe the early interactional patterns parents establish with their children can be a strong predictor of how these relationships unfold in the later years. The frequency and quality of the interactions determine whether this is good thing…or not.
Matthieu, my oldest, just left to return to college. I’m going to miss that child terribly. This summer he taught me…or should I say reminded me…of important life lessons wrapped up in simple small gestures.
– He smiled and laughed.
– He helped out tons and didn’t complain.
– He confronted me when I entered “task-completion-house-cleaning-mode” on how my words and mood negatively permeated the house. “You’re barking, again.”
– He hugged me, a lot even when I was grumpy.
– He told me he loved me when ending most phone conversations, and at least once per day.
I’m aware many of these behaviors are part of Matthieu’s hard-wiring, but I also know our early household interactions solidified them into strong habits.
If you want your children to adopt healthy habits, create them while your children are in their formative years. This is not a “one-and-you-are-done” type of interaction. Parents must work continuously to get into healthy and strong routines with their children so these interactions become ingrained, and thus, habitual. FYI – It is especially helpful if these patterns are solidified prior to the teen years. Trust me on this one.