Welcome to Behavior Management        Weekly Column...

By:  Julie Miller





Current Issue

Get Interactive 


Author Bios

Letter From the Editor

Freelance Writers



Contact Us



LINK to us!



Get Your FREE Child Care Ebook!










  Helping families surf safely on the Internet









  Paying for College Just Got Easier - Is your student loan interest rate 4.25%? It could be! With's H@LO Consolidation Loan you can cut your monthly payments 60% and greatly reduce your interest rate!


What is Enough?

 The past two weeks this column has focused on the top ten most ineffective behaviors in dealing with children.   Today, I feel guilty having missed the number one tool in actually making a difference in a child's life and for not having listed it, as well.  So here it is this week, instead.  The greatest thing you can do to make a difference in your child's life is to love them and tell them that you love them. 

It is very early here.  Often, I sit hammering away at my keys wondering if what I have to say is important.   My hope is the column serves as a guide for a parent surfing for information, especially first time parents looking for additional answers in dealing with the bundle of soft smelling, wriggling tissue they brought home from the hospital yesterday.  Somewhere in the early morning hours, too, they decide that surely someone has advice or information to help them be the best parent.  The truth is that our children often survive to become thriving adults in spite of all parents try to do for them.  It will not happen, though, without one essential ingredient and that - simply put - is love.

I leave later this morning to travel to my family in Minnesota.  My niece, a beautiful woman of a short twenty-five years, died yesterday.  She was one-half of a set of bouncy twin girls thrust into this world to a set of parents who had some idea of what to do with a son, but now two girls?  All at once?

No one yet knows what happened.  Christine was not feeling well and went to her parent's house to rest.  Something went very wrong and her sister had to initiate CPR.  The medical examiner may help provide some answers tomorrow, but like so many questions parents have when they arrive at this site, there may be no answer - only more questions. 

I do know that in all my years of teaching, comforting sobbing children, worrying that Robby might be picked on because of his lisp, or that Katie might actually enjoy skipping more than her violin lessons, explaining to Theresa's parents that it is normal for a child to pick their nose at such a young age because everyone does - yes, even they may have done the same - I know the one thing that makes a difference is love.  Without love, children do not thrive.  They never grow into their full potential as adults and know the joy in passing on that love.

Even with her memories beside me, the drive will be long and lonely. My last words to her were "I love you."  Hers were the same.  I know the familiar hug will not be there to greet me at the other end.  I will sit, like so many others at the service and question whether she knew how important she was to our family.  Visions of her bouncing pigtails and rollicking with her sister on the floor pass through my mind.  I was the aunt looking on.  Even then, I wondered how one could be the perfect aunt to these rolly polly bundles of fresh smelling things.  What were the right things to do and what if I did something irreversibly wrong that would cost them and the world a horrible price as they turned out in all the wrong ways?  It was a tremendous burden.

One day after many years had gone by, I noticed this beautiful lady sitting before me.  She had dark flowing hair, although I still saw pigtails.   Chris was discussing how work was going and excited over her recent car purchase.  I was encircled by her and her sisters on the floor of an airport.  We talked and laughed of how life was going and what tomorrow would offer.  It was then I knew something good had happened in this child's life.  We all had done our best.  Her mother, her father, her grandparents, her siblings - all of us - we had done just fine.  No smoke and mirrors or manuals, just a little bit of love had made all the difference.

Today, practice this one behavior management tool, even if you do it at no other time (although I certainly hope you do).  Give your child a hug and tell them that you love them.  Oh, sometimes it can be awkward - especially the first time - just like when you first picked them up as a baby and felt they might break if you held them wrong.  Try it.  Like most tools, it takes practice.  When you get into it, being hugged back is the best part.  Oh, I should warn you, too, there is a risk involved. 

Sometimes, when you love a child very hard and are with them for a long time, they disappear.  Though the time has seemed short and you still see visions of them bouncing around in pigtails, they are gone.  At that moment, love awakens you to its irony.  All the time spent nurturing a child has become best thing ever in your life.  Your knuckles will turn white holding onto that when you no longer can hold them.  Most importantly, you will know that if you never, EVER, did anything else all the experts said was appropriate or effective or important or essential on a web site, in a book, or on a television show, you will have done the two most important things you could have ever done in the life of that child - you will have loved them and you will have told them how much you love them. You will realize the rewards from having loved a child.  Simply put- it will be enough.  On that day when they are gone, unlike the day before, it will have to be enough.


Copyright 2000/2001/2002. All rights reserved.  

Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!

Our Magazine Friends Child Care

Sites for Teachers

Ebook Publishing

List Your Site Here, Click Here to find out more!

Copyright 2000/2001/2002. All rights reserved.   No unauthorized reproduction or excerpts without express permission from Child Care Magazine or DataWorkZ and the author of the article. Please read our Disclaimer and our Privacy Statement.