Love's teacher had sent home "A memorandum from your child." It was a cute list of rules to remember when raising children mostly regarding our parenting emotions and habits when reacting to certain situations. I loved it and printed out a few copies to give to the parents of the kids I was watching at the time. I've since lost the file and the paper, but I sort of remember a few of the words of wisdom from them, so in an attempt to recreate it, I'm going to write a letter from my 6 (going on 16) year old to her Mommy and Daddy.
Dear Mommy and Daddy,
I know the years have flown by, and so it's hard for you to understand that I'm not that little girl that needed to hold your hand through every new experience. I am enjoying discovering new things all by myself (but I really love having you there, just in case.) I am making new friends (and boyfriends) everyday, friends that are helping me to grow, learn, and develop a whole new perspective on things you may wish to shield me from. Although, I need you to teach me right from wrong, trust me to come to my own conclusions. Don't forget, I love trying new things, I need to try these things in order to grow into a confident young woman, please put up with it and encourage me to be more independent when I feel I can't. Listen to my questions, feed my curiosity, I'd rather learn from you, than to seek other sources.
I am not perfect, I do many things throughout the day that may have you ready to sell me on Ebay. Please don't nag at me, it'll only teach me to ignore you, but do be firm, it actually makes me feel more secure. Give me consequences, I need to learn from my mistakes just like you. Also, don't try to make yourself perfect, It gives me unrealistic expectations of myself and my peers. I love you for all you are, and everything you are not, just as you love me.
When you do need to correct me, please don't do it in front of other people, my attention will be on them and not you, I'll listen better when we are alone. Also, please take a moment to calm yourself before correcting me, yelling and force make me feel rebellious. I will respond better to eye to eye discussions about why my behavior is not acceptable. Don't make my mistakes seem bigger than they are, upsets me and makes me feel smaller than I am. Remember I can't explain myself as well as I should, don't take faith in everything I say. Don't be upset if I say "I hate you", I really don't mean it, I just want you to feel sorry for what you have done to me. Don't ever feel like you can't apologize to me. I need that to understand that mistakes can happen to everyone, and it kind of makes me feel more bonded to you.
Know that I will test you at every chance I get. I'll ask for things I know I can't have, I'll trick you into giving in, so please stay consistent and don't spoil me. Don't make any promise that can not or might not be kept, I don't like being let down, and it makes me lose trust in you. Don't ignore my bad habits, they are a sign something is wrong deeper inside. Don't be afraid to discuss what I am feeling with you, and don't take offense to what I say during these discussions. These are my emotions and I want you to understand so we can have a stronger relationship.
Know that our time together is not what matters most, it's how we spend that time that will impact my memories for my lifetime. I know you may not always be with me, but give me a small sign, like a falling leaf or the wind brushing my cheek, to remember you when we are apart so I never feel alone. Cherish every moment, I will continue to grow faster than you could imagine, in just a few short years, I will be a teenager who wants nothing to do with you. You will find it hard to keep pace with me, but do try to keep up, it will make our bond inseparable.
Remember, I love you all the time, just like you love me, and nothing, even my teenaged years, can change that.
Your Child ( the good one)
I encourage you now to sit down and write out a list of rules that your child may say to you. Enjoy walking in their shoes. If your child wants to join in, have them write out their rules and see how they compare to yours.
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