Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician, mother, writer, and has incredible insight into kids and families. She offers a free e-book for those who signup to her online newsletter that discusses the three most important questions you can answer for you child. It is a great read, and if you are interested in the full e-book, you can signup here. If you just want the CliffsNotes, here’s a great excerpt:
…[It is important to] focus less on your performance as a mother or father and more on what you can be to them. Why is this important? Kids look to us for cues about who they are and they use those cues to shape their identities. If a son learns from his father that he is smart, then he believes he’s smart. If a mom tells her daughter that she is stupid, then she believes that she is not worth anyone’s time or attention. Our children are walking sponges before us: listening, watching and scouring our face for clues about who they are in our eyes so that they can soak up those messages. They then internalize those messages and their identity begins to form. Our children become, in part, who we believe them to be. So we must pay very close attention to what we are communicating to our little (and even adult) sponges so that we answer the questions they need answered in a healthy way.
Specifically, we must answer three questions that burn in every child’s heart. These three questions are:
Mom or Dad, what do you believe about me?
Mom or Dad, how do you feel about me?
And finally, Mom or Dad, what are your hopes for me?
When we answer these three questions, we build the core of our child. We secure a great relationship with them (we win their hearts) and ultimately we help shape their character.