The 5 L's of Parenting

Through the joys and frustrations of being a single parent for most of seven years with my daughter, I have discovered some rather basic things that really help. I call it the 5 Lís of Parenting; Love, Listen, Laugh, Light & Like creates Like. Now some of you may count and say thatís 6, but since like is repeated, I only count it once.

Being a parent I know you donít have much free time to read, so weíll get right down to business.

  1. Love your child, not just in your heart, but with your whole being. For many of us this is a no-brainer. We are so in love with our children, yet we often forget to show it.

    Surrender yourself to that love. Make every decision based upon that love. Sure, itís scary to give so much of your self to a person, but itís worth it.

    Ever hear the expression; íLove isnít something until you give it awayí? It is not enough to feel love for someone, you must express it Ė In word AND action. A child needs to be totally secure in your love for them. [Yes, I know a child is never TOTALLY secure, but they can be close] Their greatest fear is to lose the love of a parent. And that holds true into adulthood. That is why we forever strive for our parentsí approval Ė consciously or subconsciously.

  2. Listen to your child; youíll be surprised by how much they can teach you. Their view of the world is different, so they may see angles to things you would never have considered.

    I mean REALLY listen. Itís surprising how many of us donít know how to do that. [Maybe, because our parents never really listened to us?] So then, what does listening look like? First is to keep eye contact, if possible. Be attentive. Ask appropriate questions, but do not form an opinion or formulate your questions while they are speaking. If youíre thinking of what youíre going to say, or form an opinion before they have the opportunity to explain themselves fully, you are not listening.

    Remember, if you expect your children to listen to you, you need to listen to them. Listening is a skill. It is something we learn, not something youíre born knowing how to do. Sound simple? It takes practice.


  3. Laugh with your child. Allow them to experience life as fun Ė It will help you to maintain a positive attitude with them. Your child will help to remind you not to sweat the small stuff if you let them.

    It is important to show your child how to approach life with humor. This is not to say teasing or mean spirited expressions of humor are acceptable. Laughing at anotherís expense is not something we want to teach our children. It still bothers me that a large segment of Americaís Funniest Videos is devoted to people taking falls where they would obviously be hurt. I can never stomach that segment. It makes me proud to say that my 7 year old has enough sense to change the channel during those times.

    Laugh with your child. Remember to play. Use your imagination and encourage them to use theirs. Laugh at your own mistakes instead of becoming frustrated. Teach your children how to handle stress through laughter; in order to do that they need a sense of what is really important. That means that we need to react appropriately to situations and not blow things out of proportion. This is not as easy as it sounds.

    Imagine you are late for a wedding, maybe one that youíre in and your two year old decides to pick that moment to raid your make up case. You are already stressed, but is it really that major a problem? If your child had done the same thing on a stay at home day would you react the same way? Take the action and place it in a different situation to decide how you need to respond. Remember, act - do not react. The world will not end if you take a moment to breathe.

    Unless the action of the child puts them or someone else in danger, itís probably small stuff. Yes, your child needs discipline. To discipline means to teach, not scream, not punish, but teach. If there is no lesson learned in the exchange, there is nothing gained. When in doubt, give them a stern look, Make them clean it up, maybe point out what is wrong and laugh. [You may want to go in the other room for the laughing part if you want to remain stern.]

  4. The word light is multi-faceted for my purposes here. First, live in the light, the light being Truth and Love. There is no more powerful teacher to our children than our own lives. Living the light means having and maintaining an authentic life. If you want your child to be happy, find happiness. Lead by example, because whether that is your intention or not, that is what you are doing. Be mindful of that fact.

    Second, keep it light. Life is hard enough without us throwing our drama on our children. I have found a long stern lecture to be much less effective than a stern look and a single statement. Try not to get caught up in lecturing your child; a real conversation goes a lot further. Remember a conversation consists of two or more individuals taking turns speaking and listening, SPEAKING AND LISTENING. That means, regardless of how you feel, you need to keep your mouth shut and ears attentive. Donít be worried about your reply. Concentrate on what your child has to say. In other words, REALLY listen. Listen without judgment. [Thatís really the hard part, and very important].

    I know that itís hard, but itís worth it. Good communication builds a good relationship that can last a lifetime. If you donít actively listen to your child when theyíre small, why would they bother talking to you when they become teenagers?

  5. Like creates like. What does that mean? When our children are young they reflect what we do. If your child tends to be condescending, or short in their speech, you need to examine the manner in which you are speaking to them and others around them. The aspects of their behavior that set us off the most tend to be the things we dislike in ourselves. Behaviors like dishonesty in the form of lying or cheating are learned. You are leading by example whether you like it or not. Always consider your actions when in the presence of a child.

Children are wonderful reflections of our own behavior. They can teach us so much about ourselves if we pay attention. When a young child displays an undesirable behavior, like yelling at us, we need to monitor ourselves and change to model more acceptable behavior. Of course this is a part of discipline. We still need to correct the child when we see them behaving inappropriately. And we also need to discipline ourselves to behave honorably at all times.

Children are a gift. They are not little clones or blank pieces of clay for us to mold. They have their own personalities, thoughts and feelings. They deserve respect, as you do.

Remember, you are the most important thing in their lives as they grow to discover who they are. Itís our jobs as parents to give them the tools they need to safely navigate the world. And if we teach them properly and present a good example, our children will change the world. Simply by their presence in it, the world will be a better place.

Love them in word and deed. Laugh with them. Listen to them. Live the Light to guide them and keep it light for them. Like creates like, so live as if everyday what you do will be on the cover of tomorrowís newspaper. [I stole that quote from my mom] Donít forget to thank your parents. Good Luck and God Bless.

Geralyn St. Joseph was a single parent for six years. She holds a degree in communications with a concentration in Law and Psychology from Temple University in Philadelphia. She offers her services as a spiritual advisor primarily in Kailua on Oahu and by phone. She also offers couples guidance and a wide array of metaphysical classes and services both in person and via email. She is available for individual readings & parties as well as corporate events. Contact her at 808 261-7866 or

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When working with clients, I share information and metaphors for self-insight. It is the responsibility of each person seeking assistance to be the final determiner of his or her choices in life. I assume no credit, blame or liability for the impressions I share or any actions that people may take as a result of hearing them. The point of having a reading is to use the information as a barometer of your path and help you see the bigger picture. It is not for the psychic to make your decisions for you, but rather to guide you. May your greater good be served. Blessings, Geralyn

Geralyn St. Joseph
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
808 261-7866 or
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