Building a Home Where Kids Can Live

No childhood is perfect but some are sure better than others. In my conversations with people who are hurt and harmed by parents and other adults (often by ignorance and neglect, but unhelpful just the same), I have figured out a few things that I would want every young parent to know.

1. In the movie “Avitar,” when the Na’vi meet, they greet each other with, “I see you.” This is validation that the person “is.” A child needs to be seen, validated, heard, respected. Then (s)he can see others too.

2. LOL means “laugh out loud” (as I am sure you know, though I just found this out a few months back). Homes need to be LOL places for both parents and kids. It helps make the family a “safe place.”

3. I think that “rules that relate” is an important idea. Not rules that are arbitrary or made up as life goes on, but connected to family held values and beliefs. Rules that make sense; this make sense to me.

4. I like families where adults and kids are free to dream. When my son was young he would dream about playing hockey with the Canucks. Tucking him into bed with this dream ensured sound sleeps and dreams of success.

5. Kids need respect like anyone else. So doing everything for a child reduces self-respect. Allowing a child to succeed at an age-appropriate task helps the child respect herself and the home to function like a team.

6. Atmosphere is important. An atmosphere where a child can fail and not feel the fool – I like that. This “creeping perfectionism thing” that so many parents hold over their kids hurts way more than it helps.

7. Families that celebrate a child’s success is great place for a child to grow up in. And a great place for a parent to re-parent himself / herself.

8. Families need other healthy adults (warm, understanding and non-possessive people) other than parents (like grandparents, church friends, neighbours), whom the child watches, enjoys and trusts.