When I was visiting my parents recently I was going through some of my old toys and books with my daughter and came across an old newspaper clipping I kept in my night table by my bed. it was from the late 1980s and was called “Memo From a Child to: Parents” and was published in a local newspaper. I had saved it for so many years and reading it now as a parent was especially meaningful. I now keep it in my night table by my bed and feel the message is important for all parents so am sharing it. I do not know who originally wrote this but thank him or her. I found the memo compelling as a child and I find it even more compelling as a parent. As our kids start another school year I hope parents will find this helpful.
Dear Mom & Dad,
- Don’t spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not to have all I ask for – I’m only testing you.
- Don’t be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it. It makes me feel secure.
- Don’t let me form bad habits. I have to rely on you to detect them in the early stages.
- Don’t make me feel smaller than I am. It only makes me behave stupidly “big”.
- Don’t correct me in front of people if you can help it.
- Don’t make me feel that my mistakes are sins. It upsets my sense of values.
- Don’t protect me from consequences. I need to learn the painful way sometimes.
- Don’t be too upset when I say, “I hate you”. It isn’t you I hate but your power to
- Don’t take too much notice of my small ailments. Sometimes they get me the attention I need.
- Don’t nag. If you do, I’ll have to protect myself by appearing deaf.
- Don’t forget that I cannot explain myself as well as I’d like. That is why I’m not always accurate.
- Don’t put me off when I ask questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking and seek information elsewhere.
- Don’t be inconsistent. That confuses me and makes me lose faith in you.
- Don’t tell me my fears are silly. They are real to me, and you can do much to reassure me if you try to understand.
- Don’t ever suggest you are perfect or infallible. It hurts and disappoints me when I learn that you are neither.
- Don’t ever think that it is beneath your dignity to apologize to me. An honest apology makes me feel surprisingly warm towards you.
- Don’t forget that I love experimenting. I couldn’t get along without it; so please put up with it, within limits.
- Don’t forget how quickly I an growing up. It must be very difficult for you to keep pace with me, but please do try.
- Don’t forget that I don’t thrive without lots of love and understanding.
- Please keep yourself safe, fit, and healthy. I need you and I love you.