There are just too many myths about parenting that need to be dispelled. They are not helpful and only deplete parents’ confidence in how they raise their child. Once they get called out and we address them you will feel so much more confident and lighter. So let me share with you some truths to help relieve some of your potential angst.
1. Good parents put their children’s needs first
The belief that children should come first is a complete fallacy. I know, you are thinking I am out of my mind. “How can I say such a thing?” But the reality is that if you do not put your needs first you will be completely depleted and will not have the energy to be calm, thoughtful and patient when your child misbehaves and needs you the most.
When you understand how important it is to get your needs met and are clear on how to schedule your needs into your daily life you will be fuelled to be the best parent, partner, employee, etc
Take a look at your calendar this week and add in one thing that is just for you. (Yes, right now please). It can be a 10-minute walk, ordering a special coffee, working out, showering, calling a friend or even something luxurious like a night away. After scheduling that one self-care item notice how you feel for the rest of the day and how you respond to your child. Scheduling small things often into your daily, weekly and monthly calendar will change they way you feel and how you respond to your child.
Research shows that parents who invest in themselves, each other and their relationship will not only thrive, but also have healthier happier children as well. It’s a win-win!
2. ‘Losing it’ on your kids makes you a bad parent
Have you ever got to the end of your rope and just lost it on your child? Maybe you lashed out because you were feeling out of control? Maybe you grabbed your child or shouted something. If you have, you probably felt like the winner of the ‘Biggest Loser’ parent contest. You’re not! (And we have all done these things by the way, even me)!
There is no such thing as a perfect parent (I know, you think you have seen them on Facebook. They don’t exist!). We are all going to be our worst self at some point as a parent. That is okay and is exactly what your child needs from you.
Your child needs you to demonstrate what it means to be human, but more importantly they need you to model owning your mistakes and making a repair. How can we expect our children to learn how to take responsibility for their mistakes and apologise if we are not modeling it for them?
So the next time you lose it just own it by saying something like, “You know what, the way I just yelled at you was not okay. I’m sorry I raised my voice. Let me try that again.” Or, “The way I yelled at you earlier was not okay. The next time I need you to clean up I will ask you in a more respectful tone. I’m sorry.”
3. The more talking and explaining, the better your child will understand and learn
If you provide your child a detailed rational explanation you have probably wasted a ton of breath. Children between the ages of one and six are simply concrete learners and cannot process and understand logic and reasoning the way you do. So don’t waste your time or energy!
You have to keep it simple. Keeping your response to one or two sentences is the only way your child will start to understand what you are communicating. And the very first sentence has to communicate empathy in order to maintain a connection between you and your child. That first empathetic sentience might simply sound like, “It’s so hard to leave the park…”
4. Parenting will come naturally if you love your child and have good intentions
Sadly, this is a huge misconception! Many of my students are paediatricians, teachers, and family therapists. Even if you work with children you are not naturally equipped with the tools, skills and mindset to raise your own children.
We all need guidance in defining our parenting philosophy, intentions and building the skills needed to be a calm and effective parent. You can read books, work with a coach or take classes and workshops. These are all great ways to start the process.
Just like mastering a new skill, sport, hobby or job – good parenting is something we need to learn. You could always go the trial-by-error route – but that can be super frustrating and historically, hasn’t been too effective.
So knowing what you know now – what will you do different?
Republished with permission. Read original post here.
Melissa Benaroya, LICSW, is a Seattle-based parent coach, speaker and author (MelissaBenaroya.com). She created the Childproof Parenting online course and is the co-founder of GROW Parenting and Mommy Matters. Melissa provides parents with the tools and support they need to raise healthy children and find more joy in parenting.
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