Monday, October 30, 2006

HOWTO: Lose Friends and Alienate People

Reg Adkins writes about 10 Ways to Lose Friends and Alienate People. It's an accurate list and I'm proud to say I pretty much avoid all 10 in my daily life - some more subconsciously than others.

One interesting thing I found while reviewing his list is that I think it's as apropos to raising kids as it is to keeping friends. I made a pledge with myself a long time ago (long before I was a father) that I would treat my child with respect and appreciation - just as I had been treated. After almost 5 years (I know I know - just wait).. I think it has built a great bond between my daughter and myself. The two biggies for me have been admitting my errors and being sincere.

For sure I don't mince words when patience has left me (who's exit by the way, is substantially quickened by whining). And my daughter has no doubt about who sets the rules, but we have very clear lines of communication about how we are feeling. It is not unheard of for Daddy to apologize after being grumpy or saying something unfair (we're *all* human after all). I only expect the same from her.

One thing she never gets from me is the dismissive 'yes yes that's wonderful dear' line. I can't stand it when I see and hear parents do this to their children. If I am in the middle of something else (like a conversation with someone else) I take the time to make it clear to her that she will have my honest attention when I'm finished what I'm doing. She's not even 5 but she sure seems to understand that quite well.

While all this reads like a self-congratulatory post from a doting father - hey I could be accused of worse things - I think Reg's post is an important one. I know plenty of people (many of whom are parents) who would do themselves good to read it.