We all need unconditionally special birthday celebrations!
My son is 17 today. I love celebrating my children’s birthdays. I think when they were born – my daughter at 12. 47 pm my son at 12.48 am – clever hey? I remember the falling in love with them. How nothing seemed more amazing or important than that small helpless (but at times quite loud) little being.
I remember discussions with other parents about the consistency of pooh – and how riveting it all was to us! (Can’t say it is that interesting now but perhaps if I have a grandchild?)
On our children’s birthdays they choose the menu for the day, we open presents early in the morning before breakfast and the day’s activities are determined by the birthday –ee.
Much like many, many children of our particular culture I suppose although it seems that most cultures take note of when their children first arrived. After all it is a celebration of who they are, that they are sharing life with us, that we are just soooo happy to have them...
We never allow Birthday celebrations to be conditional on behaviour – because behaviour is not the essence of our child and all of us need at least one day a year when everyone shows how much they love you!
But I have noticed that some parents use celebrations as a sort of behaviour modifier – ‘only if you are good then you can have a party, presents’ etc. I think probably because they are struggling to be parents – parents with enough feelings of self- worth to believe in their ability to parent. So they need to use these rather disturbing ways of maintaining parental control.
But for me ‘punishment must fit the crime’. When one behaves in a way that hurts yourself, others or the environment then you have to take the consequences.
So if you splash bath water all over the bathroom you will need to help to mop it up, or if you break your sister’s doll on purpose you may need to give some of your pocket money towards buying her a new one, or if you smack someone you will have to cope with everyone turning to the smacked child with kind ness and care and being ignored for a short bit while the hurt child is tended.
When good behaviour brings pleasant, happy times and bad behaviour brings being ignored it is amazing how much more children learn to behave in pleasant and acceptable ways. And if the only attention a child gets is by being badly behaved it is surprising how well children learn to behave in a naughty way!