Parenting: Baby Bonding

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I deeply appreciate the precious moments, hours and sometimes even weeks after the birth of a newborn that I get to experience as a grandmother and as a birth and postpartum doula. I have the privilege of witnessing miraculous moments of the invisible, undeniable bonds of love beginning to form, melding the hearts and souls of newborns with their mother, father, siblings, grandparents and family.  Many actions, sounds and even attitudes affect your little newborn “sponge” who so trustingly emerged into the world. 

Bonding is a wonderful glue and gentle welcome into the world for your precious newborn baby. 

Bonding, for baby and parents alike, will set you on a path for connection for lifetime. When a newborn feels truly connected with their parents through unconditional love, it sets an atmosphere in your baby’s world, before they can even think or articulate in language, that hardwires love with no specific way to earn it or work for approval.  It’s just “there” and always will be.  This bond works wonders later in life too.  It will carry them through future challenges, peer pressure and even help combat insecurities and thus the need to strive in order to be accepted or to connect with others. 

This does NOT mean we have to be perfect parents… we definitely weren’t!  But, it helps us focus on always loving our kids, no matter what. There may be that middle of the night wide awake time (for the baby but not so much for you) when you are frustrated and even crying for lack of sleep, or the day-trip to the grocery store with your two week old baby and there is no comforting him at the checkout stand and you feel like you’ve lost the plot. It’s not a perfect life, but when perspective always comes back around to knowing and expressing in millions of ways that you understand this child needs you and you are willing to nurture and scoop them into your warm loving arms, no matter what.  That alone speaks love and security more than any words can say.

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Bonding is desirable directly after birth, and for most new parents, this is fully possible.  But please remember to keep healthy perspective in the unlikely case your baby must be taken away to NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit).  I would suggest that you have Dad go there and stay with your newborn baby.  He can touch baby, feed, hold and talk to him or her.  Rest assured that your nearby voices and consistent touch will help calm your newborn deeply.  It is remarkable how Dad’s, and soon Mom’s presence alone can speed up recovery.

TIPS TO BOND WITH YOUR NEWBORN

  • Skin and eye contact:  I highly suggest that you ask to have your baby placed directly on your tummy at birth and remain there safely on your warm body for a couple of hours.  Then, as often as possible and when you go home continue with skin and eye contact. It’s been found your body is the best baby temperature regulator there is!  Also, cuddling with your newborn is one of the greatest gifts of parenthood. 
  • Feeding time: Whether you breast feed or bottle feed, enjoying and feeding time and learning to focus on your baby connects you.  In today’s world, it’s easy to spend the whole time on our cell phones, or just trying to catch up on things any way we can, as we sit down for a few precious moment. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a bit of Instagram or a phone call, but forming habits early to truly focus on baby make this more like a mini vacation than a job.  It’s very rejuvenating to take this time to relax, reflect, and get to know every little thing you can about this precious baby in your arms.
  • Wear your baby:  Wearing your baby is an incredibly easy way to bond for both parents.  Moby Wraps and many kinds of baby slings are very easy to fit to Mom or Dad.  It’s a great habit to get into and I can’t stress enough how much you can do while you simply wear you baby.  Take a walk, get dinner ready, fold that laundry and read or write. 
  • Sleep near your baby:  I suggest having you baby sleep near you in a co-sleeper, bassinet bassinet or something similar.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies sleep in the same room as Mom.  I have noted that mother and baby often automatically wake up simultaneously for feedings in this nighttime bonding experience.  It’s amazing.
  • Learn baby’s language:  This involves getting familiar with your infant’s different sounds and cries. Being attentive, responsive and nurturing to the different sounds is a great way to bond.  It’s fun to learn their little personal language and it’s amazing how differently they cry for various reasons.
  • The 5 S’s:  The video “The Happiest Baby on the Block” is wonderful!  I coach new parents to watch this and do what it teaches with tons of love as the key ingredient.  One thing this video suggests is to swaddle your baby.  This is great, especially when you add another element – white noise (shush).  You’ll be in awe at baby’s response – they’ll feel cuddled all night long!
  • Pick a special song: I did this with my kids, and they now sing the same lullaby to their own kids.  I used to sing it to them every night, and really anytime they needed help calming down.  You can even start singing it while you’re pregnant.  Your baby recognizes your voice and it causes great peace, comfort, assurance and connection.  This is such a great legacy to leave to your kids and grand-kids!

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Most importantly, just enjoy this time!  Bonding happens naturally as you hold your baby, count fingers and toes, cuddle, cry, laugh and sing together.  As you take in all these precious experiences, you are forming a connection with your child that will last a lifetime.  God has given you all that you need to be an incredible parent or “grand” parent to your child!

What is a special way you like to bond with your child or grandchild? 

~Mavis

Mavis Green is a Birth and Baby Coach located in New York City.  She is a DONA Certified Birth Doula and trained Postpartum Doula.  She has four children of her own, nine grandchildren and two more on the way!  For more information please visit her website: http://babybirthcoach.com

  

Disclosure: Kristin Stansberry is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Insight: The Good Girl – Part 3

Family Photo

When my story began, I talked about my younger years and how I was unaware until much later in my life that fear and control were strong forces affecting me as I grew up.  In the second part of my story, I talked about how people pleasing and perfectionism were causes of depression for me and how I was able to find hope and joy again.  Now for Part 3…

PULLING OUT THE ROOT

Everything seemed to be moving along nicely in the road of life, but I was about to be blindsided.   Deep inside that depression, was also a root of intimidation and control.  God wanted me to be free, so He was about to use the most challenging situation I’d ever faced to bring me freedom.

I was at work, at the same company I’d been with for nearly ten years.  I was given just a few minutes’ notice and called to a meeting with my boss and her boss.  My heart was racing.  I felt extremely unprepared and caught off guard.  During this meeting, with no prior warning whatsoever, I was told I was being put on a “plan.”  This kind of plan was normally used as the last step before you were going to be fired and escorted out of the building.  I find it almost comical now that this plan was called a “Performance Improvement Plan.”  Performance… there’s that word again!  It was like God was trying to tell me something.

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I couldn’t believe it!  I always did my best and gave all that I had to work.  I’m reliable and never lie or cheat.  I hadn’t changed how I was working or what I was doing, so why was this “plan” being delivered to me?  I was reeling.  I felt completely intimidated, cornered and tongue tied.  It took everything in me to hold it together and not burst into tears as I was ripped into, in detail, with false accusations of how I’d supposedly failed.  I could barely speak.  Once the meeting ended, I ran from it, shut myself in my car in the parking lot and sobbed uncontrollably.

I was so broken and scared.  I knew I had to get help and not be alone.  I was so stunned I couldn’t evaluate what was happening to me on my own.  I was in utter emotional turmoil and I had to manage to keep it together.  I had the kids to take care of, needed to keep my job, and I didn’t want my husband and everyone at work to think I needed to be checked into a mental facility! 

I quickly called in the troops.  While sitting in my car, I called my husband and his peace, stability and logical approach helped me have the confidence to walk back into work and keep fighting.  Soon after, I called my mom and sister, and a few very close friends and told them what was happening and asked them to PRAY.  Alone I was blind to the roots of my reaction to this situation.  I knew logically that this shouldn’t have bothered me so much, but emotionally, I was way out of control.  With God’s amazing people surrounding me, holding me up, and speaking Holy Spirit-breathed encouragement, I felt like I would get through this.

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I had a choice to make.  Would I play the blame game, get bitter, more angry, and be a victim?  Or would I forgive and try to figure out why I felt this way?  It took some time, some verbal processing, some journaling and seeking of wisdom in spiritual and practical ways.  I dug through many emails from previous months to build my case and decide how to proceed.  But all this work wasn’t addressing the core of my heart issue, it was just trying to deal with the external circumstances.  I had to go deeper.

I knew I needed to forgive my boss for the way the situation was handled so I didn’t hold onto anger and bitterness.  I did forgive her, but that didn’t make me feel much better.  I was still terrified for the next meeting with her that was looming a few days away.  I knew I wasn’t supposed to fear man more than God, but I obviously did based on how I was reacting to this circumstance.  I wanted my boss to like me, to approve of me, but now, that would never be possible.  What was I so afraid of and why in the world did I care so much about what “man” thought of me anyway?  

God spoke to my heart during my morning prayer time… 

“Did you forget who I Am?  Do not for a moment be frightened or intimidated by anything thrown at you by your opponents and adversaries.  For your constancy and fearlessness will be a clear sign (proof and seal) to them of their impending destruction, as well as a sure token and evidence of your deliverance and salvation that comes from God (see Philippians 1:28 AMP).”

Now don’t get me wrong, I was pretty excited that God was going to take out my enemy, who at the time, I assumed was my boss, but that isn’t what He really meant.  The true enemy is the devil and his minions of demons.  I believe God was telling me, and is now telling you, that the devil and his crew will be defeated in this particular area of our lives.  It was time for me to delivered and set free by my God and for countless others as well!

Then God led me to the root of the matter…

“My daughter, you do not fully understand my love for you.  There is no fear in love, dread does not exist in it.  Full-grown, complete, perfect love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror!  For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and so when you are afraid, you have not reached the full maturity of love.  You have not yet grown into love’s complete perfection (see 1 John 4:18 AMP) .”

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My Father God had been patiently waiting for many years to be a part of my life and to pour out His lavish love onto me.  I had gotten very close to my brother Jesus when I walking through depression and realizing what He’d given at the cross for me.  I’d prayed in the heavenly language of tongues for years and listened to the Holy Sprit as my Counselor, teaching me amazing wisdom.  But I had pushed my Heavenly Father away. 

Now the tears were flowing.  I hurt my Father so deeply in the midst of trying to do the right thing.  I kept him at a distance to try to protect myself from His supposed anger.  I’d tried so hard to be perfect for Him so that He would never be disappointed in me.  I tried everything I knew to do to make Him love me.  I desperately wanted Him closer, to run and jump into my Daddy’s arms, and have Him tell me everything was going to be okay, but at the same time I was incredibly afraid of rejection and of His wrath so I erected a wall of protection between Him and me.

But I had been deceived.  I was comparing my Heavenly Father to my flawed earthly father and “spiritual” father examples.  (By the way I have a wonderful relationship now with my earthly father!  I’m just saying nobody’s perfect and it’s not fair to them or yourself to make them “God” in your life.)  How they treated me, and how they treated others is NOT the perfect example of who my Father in heaven is to me.  The wall between me and Abba Father was coming crashing down because love and truth were setting me free. 

I asked my Heavenly Daddy to forgive me for assuming the wrong things about Him.  I asked for forgiveness for thinking He was angry with me and that He wanted me to be perfect by my own might and power.  Of course He forgave me right away.  He said,

“I’m not angry with you daughter.  I LOVE YOU.  I will protect you.  I am always with you.”

For the first time in my life, a true peace swept over me as I ran into my Father’s arms and I let Him hold me and tell me how much He loved me, no matter what I did or didn’t do.  The longing in my heart for true love and safety was finally being filled.  I no longer had to go-it alone.  Fear no longer had a hold on me because my powerful, Father of the Universe, loved me.  It was so simple, and honestly the most important thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. 

He also told me, “I will use this situation for your good.  Walk in the authority I’ve given you:  My authority.”

Well, that one was perplexing!  I thought “It’s taken me over 30 years to even understand a tiny bit of your word “love” and now you want me to understand “authority”?  This should be interesting!”  I asked him, “How?” and he said to my heart:

“Stand up, put your hand in mine daughter, and we will walk with you (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit).  You no longer need to fear people or what they think.  As you grow in understanding my love for you, it will become easier and easier to face this fear head-on.”

Father and Daughter Holding Hands

The next meeting with my boss was different.  I can’t say I didn’t feel any fear, but this time, I reacted differently.  I didn’t feel trapped or cornered anymore.  I was starting to understand my Father’s love and the authority He gave me.  I didn’t walk into those kinds of meetings alone and unprepared anymore.  I walked in with my super-powerful Father, angels protecting me, Jesus at my side, and the Counselor as my guide.  That conference room was overflowing with the crew I brought in!  I wasn’t just imagining them with me anymore either.  I could feel them and hear them. 

God brought me out into a broad place. He delivered me because He delighted in me (see Psalm 18:19). 

I was dwelling in the secret place of the Most High and therefore I was abiding under the shadow of the almighty (see Psalm 91:1).

I eventually did change jobs, but not because I was forced out.  I left because I wanted to.  I left because I was no longer as afraid as I had been. I had heard my Father’s voice.  I left because I knew He loved me and He wanted more for me.  I went where he led me next, learning, one step at a time, how to walk in my God-given authority.

More coming soon in Part 4 of “The Good Girl.”

Link to The Good Girl – Part 1

Link to The Good Girl – Part 2

Disclosure: Kristin Stansberry is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Images from: thebluediamondgallery, intentionalpursuit, cdn2-b.examiner, toallyouprincesses

Insight: The Good Girl – Part 2

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In case you missed it, here’s the link to Part 1 of my story “The Good Girl.”   Here are the highlights from my younger years:

  • I’m telling my story with the hope of helping you find freedom (Revelation 12:11).
  • Intimidation and control were strong forces at work in my home and church growing up, although I didn’t recognize it at the time.
  • People-pleasing and performance/perfectionism began as a coping mechanism and quickly became an addiction.
  • I had worked so hard on looking and acting perfect on the outside that I didn’t even recognize the huge mess reaching critical mass on the inside of me.

And so my story continues…

FIRST WAKE-UP CALL

We had our first son.  I absolutely loved being a mom.  It was the fulfillment of one of my deepest desires since being a little girl.  However, the birth experience itself was quite traumatic for me both physically and emotionally, and the aftermath of that experience, along with some serious soul searching, snowballed into depression for me. 

Gavin Birth Day

I felt like life was spinning out of control but that I still thought I had to keep it hidden.  I was constantly questioning myself and what I was doing.  I was asking things like:  Should I work or should I stay home? If I do work, where should it be and in what role?  Full-time or part-time?  How do I manage our home now and keep it clean and organized?  

For the first time in my life I couldn’t fix it, and I certainly couldn’t do it all myself.  I couldn’t perform my way out of the mess I was in.  I was exhausted from a life of performance, a life of trying to do the right thing.  I was utterly confused and ashamed.  I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning.  Every step I tried to take felt like I was stuck in a thick mud and I was never making progress.  I felt incredibly alone and deserted by everyone, including God.

I’d lost my sense of purpose and calling.  I’d spent much of my life making everyone else around me happy and in the process, I’d lost myself.  I no longer knew who I was or what to do.  I’d always known that Jesus was in my life, but now, for the first time, I needed Him, I was desperate for Him.  I was crying out of desperation to Him asking, “Who am I?”

God answered my cry for help with life altering counsel.  The Holy Spirit spoke very clearly to my heart about my next steps.  He told me that I wasn’t seeing myself  the way God sees me.  He sent me on a mission to answer 2 questions that would change my life forever and help me to see myself as God sees me.  I needed to discover…

  • What words have been spoken over me that are not God’s words?
  • Who does God say that I am?

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It was surprisingly easy to write down a lot of negative things others had spoken over me.  It was a little tougher to get really honest with myself and write down what I was believing about who I was, but I did it.  Here are the basics of what I came up with for the negatives.

  • Bad self-image – not liking my body, prone to allergies/sickness, prone to neck and back pain, constantly tired
  • God’s purpose in me attacked – not a good teacher therefore not a good mom, don’t deal well with confusion
  • Performance/perfectionism – called “the perfect child,” better than everyone else, others comparing people to me saying “why can’t you be more like her,” developing performance habits in order to obtain good grades, friends, acceptance, and love
  • Improper submission – looking to a “spiritual father” instead of my Heavenly Father for acceptance, love, power, and wisdom; this went hand-in-hand with performing/perfectionism
  • Improper boundaries – saying “yes” way too much to please people instead of God

The next part wasn’t nearly as easy, but it changed my life forever.  I went on a treasure hunt in the Bible and I set out to listen to my teacher, the Holy Spirit, instead of all the crazy and negative words running around in my head.  In the past, and out of obligation, I’d read the Bible cover to cover, but now it came alive to me.   I was able to turn these Bible passages into positive confessions I spoke over myself.  As I read certain passages, God showed me how He sees me through his eyes.  I started to see the truth.

  • God self-image – God created me and He loves every part of me.
  • God’s purposes in me are given by God – I am created to be a teacher and a mom. 
  • Peace in place of performance – I can rest in God’s grace and love for me.
  • Proper submission – God doesn’t require compliance, he wants relationship.
  • Proper boundaries – God would lead me about when to say “yes” and when to say “no.”

God healed many parts of my life as I walked through these things with Him.  He never left me and I never felt alone the same way I had before. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that this was the magic wand that immediately healed me and overnight I was changed.  My healing is an ongoing process. 

There are a couple of other tools I want to mention that were essential for me in overcoming depression.  I went through the book called “Moving Beyond Depression” by Dr. Greg Jantz (the newer version is called Turning Your Down into Up: A Realistic Plan for Healing from Depression).  It gave me small steps I could take daily and weekly to keep stepping into more freedom. 

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I also spoke often with a dear friend that is a trained counselor.  If not for her, I would have needed to seek professional help.  I encourage you, actually, I implore you, if you even think you might be dealing with depression, don’t isolate yourself!  I believe isolation is the devil’s greatest tool against you when you’re in this state.  Keep going, keep reaching out, get help, and get free!  God has a plan designed just for you that will work.

The fog in my head was finally beginning to clear.  The spinning and confusion were happening less often.  I was climbing out of the deep, dark hole I was in.  Now, nearly 10 years later, I have to admit that I still can feel a tendency toward feeling sorry for myself or feeling depressed, but I haven’t gone backward.  God’s grace has allowed me to keep learning, growing, hearing, and moving forward. 

More coming soon in Part 3 of “The Good Girl.”

Link to: Insight: The Good Girl – Part 1

Disclosure: Kristin Stansberry is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Images from: paperfountainpens

What are some ways that you keep from isolating yourself from others?

~Kristin

Insight: The Good Girl – Part 1

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I used to be so depressed I could barely get out of bed in the morning.  I used to be crippled with fear.  I hated trying to make decisions.  Confusion and doubt ran my life. I used to be easily intimidated and controlled.  I had no idea how to have fun.  The gifts God had given me were buried deep under the cover of performance and people pleasing.  I had heard for years that God loved me, but deep down, I didn’t believe that to be true.  I used to be bound in lies from the pit of hell, but enough was enough. 

I’m a different person now.  Through my journey in life thus far, God has gently and persistently revealed His love and truth.  He has set me free from so many things.  I’ve realized that I don’t have to be the “good girl” and be perfect in order for God to love me.  Jesus is the Perfect One and He stands in my place, making it possible for me to be adopted into the Royal Family. I now know that I’m a precious daughter of the King.  I’m His beautiful, royal princess.  His love for me is limitless. 

I’m taking a scary step today in opening up, but I’m tired of hiding behind the false walls of secrets.  I sincerely hope and pray that as I share more of my story, that it will help you to find this same indescribable love and the incredible freedom and joy it brings.

They triumphed over him, the accuser, by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony... Revelation 12:11

 

THE YOUNGER YEARS

Growing up I was in a very loving environment.  My parents were married, and still are today, and I have a younger sister and two younger brothers.  We went to a little church on Sundays and met in different church member’s homes on Wednesdays for Bible studies.  I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at a young age and soon after was baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.  I was doing everything right, or so I thought.

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I had a sense that something was off.  Later in my life, I would learn that there was a spirit of intimidation and control running our church and home life.  Because of this sense, I took control where I could to help stifle that feeling of a lack of control in other areas of my life.   From a young age, performance gave me a sense of peace and acceptance.  If I could just do everything right and keep the peace, then everything would be okay.  I quickly focused in on myself whenever trouble arose, and went about busying myself on tasks that would help “fix it.”

I felt very sensitive and aware of God even as a young girl.  I wanted to please Him.  I would read the Bible like a grown-up and skip the kid’s Sunday School classes and head in to the teaching time with my parents instead.  But my motivation even in this was to perform, to be perfect.  I thought I would somehow obtain peace in my heart by making all the right choices.  Somehow I thought that I could earn God’s love.

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I also took control, playing the “mom,” whenever possible to my siblings and helping out with chores around the house.  I thought I was a great little helper but really, I was again stepping into situations and authority that were not mine to be a part of at that season of my life.  I needed to be a kid.  I remember my mom trying to encourage me to “go have fun” but I honestly didn’t even know how.  I didn’t have time to play.  I instead ran to “doing” and “getting things done.”  I threw all that I had into earning love and respect of my parents, sister and brothers, and eventually from peers, spiritual leaders, friends and co-workers. 

As I went away to college, my relationship with God was put to the test.  A dear friend of our family, and member of our church, a woman who was like a second mother to me, died from a well fought battle with cancer.  Why hadn’t God healed her?  We prayed and it didn’t work.  I was questioning my entire faith and questioning God.  I was rattled to the core, but at that point in my life, I wasn’t ready to dive any deeper, so I shut down those feelings and defaulted to what I knew best: performance. 

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I thought I had it all together and had the perfect life.  All along the way though, I kept picking up more and more weight to carry that I never should have.  I graduated from college and got married.  I worked full time as an engineer, had date nights weekly with my amazing husband, stayed diligently on budget and paid off debt, attended church two times a week, volunteered there a few times a month, spent time with friends, and read the Bible every day.  I tried to teach my parents how to do better financially and emotionally.  I tried to be the perfect example to my sister and brothers.  I wanted to be the one they could come to when they had issues in their life, because of course, I had no issues of my own.  

It all sounds good on the surface, but my motivations were all wrong.  I thought I was being an example of a good person and a good Christian so that I would encourage others to be good.  What I had missed in all of this however, was building on the right foundation: God’s love for me.

More coming soon in Part 2 of “The Good Girl.”

Does anyone identify with my people-pleasing and perfectionism issues?

~Kristin

Disclosure: Kristin Stansberry is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Parenting: Focus on the Positive

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Not long ago, I realized that I had a problem and it was showing up in my parenting, but it was also affecting all areas of my life.  I naturally tended to focus much more on the negative than the positive.  I knew this needed to change but I wasn’t sure exactly how to change it.

I did find that I couldn’t just say, “I’m not going to say negative things anymore,” because my focus was still on the negative.  Instead, I needed something new to say to replace old, bad habits and phrases.

My mom has naturally always been an incredible encouragement to us kids, and now her grand-kids, and really to all people in her world.  So, as I came to my senses, I realized I had an expert at my fingertips, and I asked her to help me in this area!  Here is her advice.

~Kristin


 

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Naturally I see the good in people. I believe being encouraged literally carves a path for children and adults alike to walk out the most positive life possible. Maybe it’s my nature. Maybe in a way it’s a positive reaction to my own childhood.  I am not sure where it came from other than being created this way. I have always believed in all of my children and grandchildren, and marvel at the way their eyes sparkle with delight as you speak life into them, believing in them, giving them dignity even in times of difficulty and correction.  

Here are a few things I remember when encouraging people in my world:

  • The positive things I say are extremely important, creative and contagious.
  • I encourage with intentionally and with regularity.
  • When frustrated, I slow down and assure I’m understanding, empathizing and thinking clearly before delivering correction.
  • I communicate without degrading or belittling.

THINK before you speak

As my kids grew up I know I believed in their innocence but I was also smart enough to see when they messed up!  I just didn’t  believe this was the way they WANTED to be or that they were defective or deficient in any way because of it.  I used their “failure” as a good time to teach lessons that built character. 

I don’t take on the role of correcting or trying to control my adult children but I do still encourage and believe in them. That’s a role I believe I will enjoy all my life. Whatever I taught them as children is now in motion and I am blessed to see them flourish and to be loving and wise in the good times as well as difficulties.  I love the relationships I have with all four of them and their husbands and wives!  They are all amazing parents with children of their own.  

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As “Nonni” to my grandchildren I enjoy the years or experience that taught me to discern and be wise to their ways – even though I am tempted to see them as perfect…. Even more perfect than my own children!  I recognize now, more than ever, the authority and impact I have on their lives as a result of raising a generation already.  Beyond words and behavior towards them… I believe in them and speak life straight into the vision they are forming of themselves. When an occasional (ok, more than occasionally) impish behavior arises, I still believe and witness that loving and believing in them gets the most return on investment.

Don’t think I see ONLY the good. But I do understand seeing good is always a choice I can make, and I know this has made an impact that will be the lasting part of my legacy. These are my second generation of children growing up to be adults that in turn, will believe and invest in the generations to come. My goal is never behavior modification.  I want to see them the way their Heavenly Father sees them.  I want them to know how extremely loved they are, and to have that love drive their heart to change and grow.

WhoWeAreInJesusHere are some really practical phrases that you can memorize and use all the time to encourage your kids.

  • I appreciate you so much!
  • I really enjoy spending time with you.
  • You make me smile.
  • My life is so much better because you are in it.
  • I love you!
  • There is nobody in the world like YOU.

Although these are super simple, starting with a few phrases regularly is habit forming!

I know for me, being engaged in the moment and the person makes all the difference.  It’s so fun to see children and adults alike light up when you speak kind and loving words.

A great reference for a big list of affirmations for your child: 101 Words of Affirmation Every Child Wants to Hear {With Free Printable}.  Also, Encouraging Lunch Box Notes for Kids is a fun idea I found online.

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Images from: pktfuel.comaedriel.blogspot.comkcm.org

Do you have any great phrases you use to encourage people in your world?

~Mavis

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