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CREATIVE PARENTING

Successful parents, in addition to all the other things they do, manage to make their children feel SPECIAL.

We dwell quite a bit on how important it is for kids to relate to their peers, act and dress like them, be “one of the guys.” But I propose we also dwell on what it means for children to feel special and different.

“Creative parenting” is the art of doing special things for your children that other parents don’t do.

When I was a child my mother, an artist, made me two kinds of paper dolls. One was a paper doll made out of stiff cardboard with many changes of “designer clothes” created by my mother out of thin paper with tabs easy to fold and put on the doll. I was the envy of the neighborhood! The other special creation was made out of accordion-folded paper from which my mother cut out a string of girl and boy dolls much as one would cut out a silhouette. When I unfolded the paper it was like magic to have all those connected paper dolls to play with.

Other things my mother did that made me feel special included a “sick box” of special toys and games brought out only when I was sick. I carried out that tradition for my own children (my artistic skills were not good enough to design and create paper dolls). I also made up stories to tell my children which were requested over and over again. They must have made an impression as my daughter, in her 40s could answer a question about the name of one of my created characters just last week.

I continued the tradition of making up stories for my twin grandchildren. Their favorite was “Mary McMotter, Girl Wizard” a serial made up of a new chapter every time we were together. The minute we met at the airport the twins started clamoring for a chapter. If I claimed I needed “new ingredients” in my head they both started shaking an imaginary salt shaker over my cranium until I produced a story.

It doesn’t matter how you are creative. Whether you use painting skills or your story-telling imagination or your creative ideas about family events. One woman I know made a special party for all the out-of-town relatives setting a place for each one with their picture. What matters is that you are not buying your kids a mass-produced toy that all their buddies have. You are creating something special just for them to enjoy. By the way, you will enjoy it too!

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