“Either we spend time meeting children’s emotional needs by filling their cup with love, or we spend time dealing with behaviors caused from their unmet needs. Either way, we spend the time.” ~ Pam Leo, Connecting Through Filling The Love Cup
What is it going to be for you?
It may be easy to place our needs above those of our children. I hear people make statements like these to justify their priority:
I deserve a night out.
It’s okay. They really like the babysitter.
I can’t stop working on this.
I need time for myself.
I am curious if you check the validity of these statements. Have you considered what is a good mix of filling your own cup and filling your child’s?
So what do children need?
I’d say number one is your presence. Not your distracted -“I am busy with other things”- presence, but your undivided attention kind of presence. Children need to see your eyes light up when they enter a room. They need you to listen intently. They love when you plan activities to do together. They need your guidance and direction. Children love quiet snuggle time with you and lots of playtime, too.
Can you work that out? Can your life revolve a little more around your children in order to meet these needs?
The other day I was at an event where the only place to use the bathroom was a bar. I had to walk around the bar to the women’s room. I felt sad when I saw the clientele drinking inside on a beautiful day in the confines of a dark bar. I saw a woman who looked fairly drunk. Sadder yet was her 11-year-old daughter sitting at a separate table drawing.
This is someone who will carry the pain of an alcoholic mother into adulthood. This is a child damaged by such an environment.
Because I do not drink does not mean the world has to close shop. I grant others the choices they make with little stress. To each his own.
Yet, when I encountered this, I felt sad. I carry the burden of not calling some kind of social service agency. I wrestled with myself if that was appropriate.
We can find time now or spend a lot of time later repairing the damage of not meeting children’s needs.