Living Lessons Blog

Just another weblog

YaYa’s Corner: Growing Our Children

Besides the unconditional love your child gives you, what other gift of an open heart does any child bring to your life? Trust. Keep a child’s trust and you keep their unconditional love. The surest way to betray a child’s trust as a parent is to hit them or deliberately punish them by physically hurting them. This seems so obvious in educated circles of parenting, yet it hasn’t reached the level of conventional wisdom and we may not have learned discipline skills that don’t rely on fear, pain or withdrawal of love and affection.

When you’re feeling frustrated and the child in your life is pushing every button, even ones you didn’t know you had, stop, breathe and
ask yourself when is the last time, as an adult, someone you love and respect hit you because you made a mistake or displeased them? If you actually remember an instance, you’re probably in or have been in an abusive relationship.

Know this:

  •  a child gives you 100% of his or her trust without your having to earn it
  • the first time you hit that child, his or her trust goes down to 98% or lower
  • that trust never goes back up to 100%, no matter how hard you try to regain it
  • with each successive betrayal caused by physical intimidation, trust diminishes
  • when you hit or emotionally manipulate your child you teach that child love can’t be trusted
  • your child begins to seek and accept substitutes for love and trust, such as attention, negative attenton and/or presents
  • achievement may become a stand-in for real self-worth
  • your child’s capacity for unconditional love is diminished for the rest of his or her life
  • you teach your child that abuse is part of being loved, because you say you love them and you hurt them


Plastic toys. Imagine all the plastic toys currently already in existence going by the container and truckload into landfills. I have no desire to put a Chinese worker out of work but our children don’t need the mountains of plastic toys that are foisted on young parents. Children have imaginations, so wooden spoons, dirt and water, pots and pans in the kitchen cupboard, cardboard boxes, empty thread spools and laces, and measuring spoons, bottles of bubbles, crayons, paints and paper bags are enough.

We want our children and our children’s children to be able breathe, to eat fish, and have clean water to swim in. This is how we do it.

Plastic  toys are no substitute for an active imagination. Noggin and Sprout are  not substitutes for conversation and as tantalizing as it is to believe it, Noggin and Sprout do no foster imagination as much as quiet, empty space. These electronic babysitters are no substitute for making cookies together, putting together a wooden puzzle, or going for a walk before bedtime to watch the moon rise and the stars come out.

Life is hard for young parents who have to work twice as hard and twice as fast in less time, parents who are left with little time to nurture more than drill sargeant relationships with their children or book consistent date nights with each other.  Creative play, in and outside of your home doesn’t require much. Go for it. You’ll love what you create with your children, and that investment, unlike plastic, won’t end up in a landfill.

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