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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Secret to Being a Great Parent

Did I peak your interest? 

It's a special secret that encompasses every tip and piece of advice from every book and parenting site....

Are you ready??

It comes down to this:

In order to be the best parent possible, you need to follow your own guidelines and wisdom first!

At my small group the other week we were joking about the expection of sharing that we put on our kids.  We scold them for not sharing right before we say something like, "Don't touch that, it's mommy's!"  Or, maybe something like this; You yell at your child for grabbing a toy from a sibling or friend right after you grabbed it away from him in haste!  Sound familiar?  These comical mishaps are so common in our day-to-day play dates, where we feel more like referees than "guides" leading our children to successful adulthood. 

We place so many expectations on our children, but sometimes we forget to place an expectation on ourselves, forgetting that self-control isn't just for public settings.  In actuality, it isn't that we as parents think to ourselves, "It's ok for me to yank the toy from my son while scolding him for taking the toy away from his friend."  The fact is, we just don't even realize it! 

These are quirky follies of parenthood- but there is a deep truth to working on your own self as part of the process of becoming a better parent. 

What I am not saying (which is just as important as what I AM saying) is that you should blame yourself, or feel guilty about your lack of parenting skills, people skills, or that you aren't doing everything right as a parent. 

DON'T EVEN GO THERE! 

We are ALL learning, doing the best we can with what we have, and there is no room and no time to blame yourself for everything. 

Ok, so back to what I AM saying.  We all come to the parenting world with lots of idiosyncracies, mannerisms, ideologies- good and bad, from our own upbringings.  Some of us may thank our parents (like me), and others might be scoffing their parents playing a slideshow of their crimes and wishing they would have had a better example to go on.  Whatever your life, you have to accept it for what it is, and make the decision to choose wise and positive practices for your children, leaving the best legacy possible.  And, you might even try, as hard as it may be, to really think of the positve things you did learn from your parents.  You may want to throw up in your mouth when you think of your childhood, but you may be surprised to realize you learned important values that you carry on to your children.

I absolutely LOVED the book Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Dr. Becky Bailey.  I was fascinated that the first half of the book was all about the parent, not the child!  Becoming a healthy, loving and assertive person was the key to raising a healthy, loving and assertive child using conscious discipline skills.  I felt like I had a semester of high quality counseling after this book!  See http://www.consciousdiscipline.com/ for more information on this exciting parenting guide. 

I wonder what the world would be like if we all took the advice we give our children?

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