Celebration is our final key attachment concept, so today caps off our month-long exploration of raising an adult by 18!
And apart from the fact that I’m celebrating getting these done during what has been a very busy month at our house, I want to finish with celebration because celebration is one of the key ways that we can come to feel precious. Just watch a new parent in ecstasy that their baby smiled at them or learned how to blow raspberries, or figured out how to drop their spoon off the side of the high chair tray (at least the first few times!)
There is an inherent element of celebration to so many of our child’s earliest milestones, but for many of us parents – possibly because celebration wasn’t something we had much experience of ourselves, possibly because we’ve gotten busy, or possibly because we simply lose sight of how big some of our kids accomplishments really are – we can lose sight of the importance of celebration over time.
Celebration may be something as small as a ‘high five’ or a ‘celebration dance’; they may involve staying up a little late to read an extra story, getting to go to the park after dinner or getting to choose from the usual family favourites what dinner will be tonight; or they may include less common celebrations like having ice cream before lunch, going out for a hot chocolate and donut or purchasing a small gift for your child.
While some parents may be concerned about spoiling their kids or setting their kids up to ‘need’ outside stimuli to get them to do a task, we want our kids to learn how to celebrate themselves – to see themselves as precious, valuable and worthwhile.
That means that these are not rewards (or ‘carrots’) dangled in front of our kids ahead of time – “if you get an A on your math test than I’ll take you out for dinner”. Instead, these celebrations are recognitions of things that the child has done themselves – “look at you go! You studied so hard for your math test and you got an A, that’s fabulous! High five! Shall we go play at the park for half an hour before we head home to celebrate?”
The amazing fringe benefit is that by taking the reward out of it we also take the implied punishment out, and leave the child free to develop at their own speed and to celebrate each success as it comes in it’s own time.
We will know we are doing this well when we start to see our kids celebrating their friends’ and siblings’ successes and eventually even their own!
Affirmation, support, responding to bids, giving words and celebration – those are our five keys to attachment from 0 – 18 and beyond. When we put these together with the other ideas we’ve explored this month, we find we can be increasingly successful at raising adults by the age of 18!
If you’d like to talk more about anything you’ve read here today or anything else you’ve read on the site, please get in touch!