It still shocks people, even now, even after all this time. And I am genuinely moved by the reactions – every single time.
Many years ago —- I have no idea when. All I remember is that I was a fairly young mom when I made ‘the discovery”. No idea what precipitated it. No one told me about it. It was one of those serendipitous discoveries about parenting that influenced several things.
“Children need you more as they get older.” Period. Full stop.
You can’t imagine the reaction I get when the conversation includes this line. The usual reaction and response is, “what?”
My humble discovery was/is this. When children are young, parenting largely reverts around what I call “maintenance” issues — feeding, diaper changing, overall care. As they get older parenting becomes more about, for lack of a better term and in keeping with the alliteration (!), “mental” issues. Communication, social skills, dialogue, physchological questions.
I remember that this line of thinking was paramount in my deciding to become an entrepreneur. The master plan was that I wanted to be home with my children MORE as they got older. I have taken the means to achieve that.
Those ‘after-school conversations” are a gold mine. Homework time (not always fun, but a learning ground for parent and child nonetheless), etc.
I’m not always around for each of these activities on a daily basis, but I’m there for the vast majority of them and it does make a difference. It offers a wholly unique perspective on the child and on how to parent them.
Young parents are always mesmerized by this concept. For that matter so are many older ones.
This is not to say that you abandon a young child and arrive on the scene when they are older.
I just believe that kids of 8 years old and up really need their parent(s) to be around not just at mealtimes, but in different situations to help support them and gently guide them with the inevitable social, emotional, physiological, and psychological issues that come up.
The happy by-product of this original discovery is being able to learn about each childs’ true character, decision-making ability, personality traits, etc., that come to the fore in this ‘older’ years.
It’s a truly wonderful discovery both about your child and yourself, as parent.