As you grow up, you begin to realize the effects your childhood has on you. For the most part, I had a good childhood, but like every family, my family had their shit with them too. When I was in fifth grade I found out the man that was raising me was not my father. My real father was around because he was my mom’s best friends’ cousin, which made things even more awkward because I knew him and his entire family. My mother knew the truth but figured that I would have a better childhood with my dad. I mean. she was right but if she would have told the truth she would have saved us from a lot of hurt and pain. Instead of talking to someone about it, I filtered my pain. When I became a teenager, I started getting into things I had no business doing and looking for love in all the wrong places. My relationship with my mom was tarnished because I couldn’t trust her, my dad and I stayed in touch, but things were just different, and I wasn’t interested in getting to know my biological father.
As time went on, I went to therapy to try and release the anger, hurt and pain that was inside of me. I finally decided to forgive my mother and now we are closer than ever. After my dad got over his pain, our relationship got stronger, but my relationship with my biological father still isn’t there yet. Although things are not perfect, I’m at peace about the entire situation. So, when I found out I was pregnant, I vowed to break the cycle of staying silent and to always be truthful with my daughter. I also promised myself that I would parent consciously. Now that Saia is getting older, she mimics everything that I do. Which is why it’s so important for me to lead by example. As parents none of us are perfect but if we strive every day to be and do our best, our children can’t do anything but respect that! Everyone parents differently but below are four important ways for you to lead by example as a parent:
Communication: How you interact with your partner, your child and others is important because children model their parent’s behavior. If Dixie and I get into an argument, we make sure it is handled privately because Saia feeds off our energy and knows when something is wrong. When she was younger I raised my voice at him one time and she instantly started crying, so now I make sure that we always communicate effectively and show each other respect.
Attention: Providing our children with unconditional love and attention is a must. My family eats dinner together every day that we can. It allows us to express ourselves, love on each other and most importantly, listen to one another.
Work Ethic: The last thing you want is your child to believe that everything in life comes easy. Show them what hard work looks like and teach them that they must work for anything they want in life. This will allow them to be appreciative and value life’s lessons.
Love on Yourself: Taking care of yourself allows you to be the best parent you can be. Exercise, go to therapy, eat healthy, read, do anything that makes you happy and allows you to be comfortable in your skin. I say this all the time because if you are not 100% yourself, you can’t be as a parent.
It’s ok to fail as parents, but it’s important that we learn from our mistakes and teach our children’s the lessons we learned from them. Somedays will be better than others but remember to stay true to yourself and devoted to your family. Our actions and behaviors speak volumes as parents and it’s important that we navigate through parenthood consciously, so our children can thrive.