I wrote this a year or so ago –
I was watching my little 2 and a bit year old today filling the washing basket full of washing to be cleaned, and realised that the same truths for adults apply to babies, toddlers and children.
We all need a ‘Purpose’. When we feel ‘purposeful’, we feel a sense of confidence and settlement with our lives, which spreads out into all other areas of life.
So if you find your little one appears to be going through a dissatisfied period, one tip is to see if they have a ‘place’ in the family, a little responsibility, something to feel they are contributing to the world with. Maybe it is stirring a pot of dry pasta while you cook, so that they are included, or maybe they like to feed the dogs, or maybe empty and fill the washing machine. Max loves to ‘rescue’ people in trouble with hugs – he loves to pretend he is a superhero like ‘Sportacus’! He is rubbish at spreading butter on bread, but really enjoys doing it ;o) So it can be a made up purpose, anything that suits them and what they love to do.
It is amazing what a child can be responsible for, and undoubtedly there is a balance to maintain to ensure that they do not become overwhelmed with adult type worries. However, if there is no choice, and your child becomes one of those young carers, do not worry. They will regain their childhood at a later time, because nothing is ever lost forever. Plus, it will definitely teach them skills which they will be able to use at a later date.
Looking at my childhood, I would not be the same, and loving my life so much if I hadn’t been left with my very sick Mum at 5yrs old, and worked out how to call an ambulance when she collapsed. Later, I expanded to running the whole household at 10 when she had one of her numerous trips to hospital. Ironically, the hardest time was as a teenager when I was nursing my parents just after my ‘O’ levels – that was when I started to rebel and suggest they get a nurse so that I could go party! But do not fear for my ‘lost’ childhood, in my case I regained some of it in my 20’s, and the rest is steadily returning with the arrival of Max, my little boy.
If you would prefer to not include your little ones in the household tasks because it takes 3 times longer, just think of the potential downside of them not being included; In a few years you might be regretting that choice when they refuse! I did just that, when my Mum returned from hospital and kicked me out of the kitchen at 10yrs old – I vowed strongly to never cook again, and the power of that belief turned me from a 10yr old who could cook a full roast dinner, to someone who struggles with scrambled egg! I know many a 16 yr old who appears to be incapable of doing their own washing, or using the dish washer.
If you think that a baby doesn’t have a purpose, then I’m not so sure. Max was never happier than when he was making me learn to ‘Be’, by spending hours being cuddled on my lap. Maybe your baby’s greatest purpose is to teach you about yourself by giving you strong hints as to what makes them feel contented or loudly dissatisfied?
What do you think? Need any hints on finding a purpose for your family members? Let me know, I would love to hear your thoughts.