By LOYLA LOUVIS
For Montclair Local
In “Mother Matters,” parenting and life coach Loyla Louvis, AACC, provides parenting tips.
She is dedicated to eliminating frustration in the parenting journey by customizing solutions to fit the uniqueness of each family. A mother of four children, she is experienced with single parenting, remarriage, home education, mentoring and teaching. Louvis runs Mothers in Training, LLC, and is a certified professional parenting consultant/coach. More info can be found at Mothersintraining.org.
The sweetheart month of February ushers in a celebration of love as winter cloaks the town in a sparkling veil of white. Lovers will bravely battle bitter winds and snowy streets to find the perfect gift expressing what words sometimes fail to say.
Little ones excitedly craft handmade cards for family and friends. Classmates exchange friendship cards in school. Everyone appreciates the timely heart-shaped treats and attention that comes during the long, cold days of this season.
While Valentine’s Day offers the pleasures of chocolate, flowers, and greeting cards, the wise mother will take this holiday tradition one step further. She will rise above the halls of Hallmark to help her child recognize the higher expressions of love that make a cold house a warm home.
With these higher expressions of love in view, let us consider the following:
A gift of honor: Go beyond the call of duty. When you do more than what is required, you take the home atmosphere to a higher level. The fringe benefit of honoring others is that the mindset is contagious. The recipient of such treatment tends to return the favor. A mom can teach her child how to show love expressed through honor by saying, “Sweetheart, what is one thing you can do to treat your sister even better than you think she deserves?” This question helps a child understand what is involved in honoring family members. Love thrives in a home when we offer the gift of honor.
A lifestyle of kindness: Give because it is who you are, not because of who they are. Anyone can do a single act of kindness, but only those who practice kindness as a way of life will lift others regularly. Teaching a child to BE a kind person takes love to a higher level. “Alexis, when I see you do something nice for someone, it always reminds me of who you are as a person!” Love flourishes in a home where kindness is a lifestyle.
A tone of respect: It is not what you say but how one you communicate it that makes all the difference. If a child says, “Okay, Mom, I’ll do my chores,” but speaks with a tone of disgust or disdain, respect is not part of the equation. The chores may get done, but the relationship suffers in the process. It is not a fair trade-off to get cooperation at the expense of family connection. A mom might remind her teen to show love through respect with a comment such as, “Joey, the tone with which you speak to me is a reflection of our relationship. Please be sensitive to what you say and how you say it. I care about our relationship even more than I care about the chores.” Love grows in the home when there is a tone of respect.
A heart of compassion: With the measure you use, it will also be toward you. The heart of a child is typically full of compassion. Sometimes the challenges of life dim their little light. Mom can help keep that tender ability to be sensitive and understanding alive with words of affirmation such as, “You always find a way to think the best of people. You are a great role model of love expressed through compassion!” When a child experiences positive reinforcement, they will practice it with pride. Love is contagious in a home where there is compassion.
While everyone is enjoying the sweet chocolates, generous gifts and sentimental cards of this holiday, let us take the celebration of love to a higher place in the months ahead. With the elevated attributes of love on our radar, we can enjoy Valentine’s Day this season and beyond.