I've noticed over the past few years we can be pretty defensive about our parenting. Whether through social media responses, during conversation at parties, or even in our own homes, we often make judgments about the quality of others' parenting very quickly. In addition, some people default parenting decisions by allowing the perception of others to influence the actions and decisions they make as parents. I believe there are as many ways to parent as there are actual parents in the world, and as long as you are comfortable in what you're doing, and it appears to be working well for you and your child(ren), then your opinion is the only one that counts.
But let's say you do begin to feel uncomfortable or frustrated about the quality of the relationship you have with your child, or my first paragraph struck a chord somewhere inside of you...meaning, something is not working within the most important relationship(s) in your home and is showing itself in the behavior of yourself or your child, or you know you are parenting by way of "going along with what everybody else is doing" because it's easier than using your gut instinct. Or because you don't know what to do otherwise.
The first step in changing anything about your life...be it your career, marriage, friendship, or parenting is to acknowledge there is a problem...a disconnect of sorts. Let's face it, if you believe nothing is amiss, then there is really no room for change or improvement, right?
After your acknowledgement comes the first, and often most difficult question which is...WHY? The question to ask yourself in order to begin contemplating change is WHY. Why am I doing what I'm doing? Why is there a strain in the relationship between myself and my child? Maybe even myself and my spouse or co-parent. (Are you on different parenting pages? This happens A LOT.) Maybe the "why" question lies in why you aren't able to make your own decisions about raising your kids and have come to rely on "following the group mentality." Maybe you have to ask yourself why you are raising your kids the way your mom/dad raised you without really thinking about whether or not their approach actually worked well.
Maybe you need help uncovering the "why"...
The next big question is (of course)...what, if anything, am I willing to do to change the current situation? Knowing we cannot change others, only look inside of ourselves with honesty and recognize what we are bringing into the current dynamic through our attitude and our energy. The come-to-Jesus has to start within you.
The third question that naturally follows one and two is...HOW? How can I get from where I am in the relationship now, to where I'd like to see our relationship (less frustrating, less confrontational, less stressed and more open, accepting, loving, respectful)? Sometimes that's the most daunting question, and the one that blocks any movement.
Today I want to challenge you to take one step in the direction of finding out how much better your relationship with yourself, your spouse, and your child(ren) can be by using whatever avenue works best for you to investigate a healthier, deeper connection with the most important people in your life.
Maybe it starts with picking up a good book on personal growth or parenting...here are a few of my favorites:
- The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabary
- How to Raise and Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims
- The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey
- everything by Brene Brown, PhD.
- Mindset by Carol Dweck, PhD.
Or, maybe it's watching a few short videos that motivate you to the next step; here are a few that have helped me:
- The True Role of a Parent
- How to Raise Successful Kids Without Over Parenting
- What Adults Can Learn From Kids
- The Power of Vulnerability
- For Parents Happiness is a High Bar
Or, maybe...you've tried some of the above and you find yourself still troubled by frustration and wanting more from yourself and the relationships in your life.
Families can never be "perfect," we all do the best we can with what we know. But I do believe a lot of families could be much healthier than they are today. And I believe one of the most prevalent factors in dysfunction are the many children challenged emotionally by anxiety, depression, and the feeling of being overwhelmed because many parents are avoiding their own hurts, frustrations and disappointments...many of which stem from their childhood.
What if there was a profession that could help you uncover the challenges and limiting beliefs that were handed down to you or experienced by you in your childhood now unconsciously influencing the relationship you and your child(ren) are experiencing?
It's called Parent Coaching...or, in my specific case, a Parent Guide (I like the feel of this word better...)
I would love to help you through the process of looking back long enough to identify the unconscious beliefs that get triggered by your children's behavior and then share some basic tools to help you make changes in your energy/attitude/approach to your relationships.
Not because I have all of the answers, or because I think I am the "perfect" mom whose children never trigger her.
But because I am deeply passionate about supporting and encouraging moms and dads in this awesome role of parenting, and because I have seen the practicing of pausing and using these basic tools improve the relationships in myself and in my most important relationships!
The relationships we create in our homes are the foundation for the relationships we create in the world.
And we all know the world could be a healthier, happier, RICHER place with more support and encouragement.
Think about it...and remember you got where you are today by the choices and experiences that led up to this moment. And nothing changes, if nothing changes.
Take that next step...