Parenting is one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs, isn’t it? It’s hard not only because kids don’t come with instructions, but also because there are as many different opinions on the best way to parent as there are parents! And many parents were never taught all the best ways because the adults raising them didn’t know either.
I agree with Oprah’s quote that “when you know better you do better.” If our own parents had known how to parent us differently they would have because it would have made it easier for them. They were figuring it out as they went along and had probably learned everything they knew about parenting from the adults who had raised them.
So how if you love being a mom or dad and you find yourself really struggling to connect mindfully with your child or communicate effectively so they listen, and you want to stop feeling guilty about your own parenting, what can you do?
One of my favourite mentors, Dr Wayne Dyer, has these four ideas that simplify living and I think they can easily be applied to parenting. These are things that I’ve practiced over and over because although these ideas are simple, they are not always easy to implement. The key, I think, is to keep practicing so that these ways of living life become second nature.
1. Stop worrying about what other think. This is a common one that parents can get wrapped up in and think they have to appear perfect in front of others. The truth is, you can’t change what other think about, you can only change what you think about. Focus instead on all the ways that you are already a great parent and try not to judge the inside of your own family based on what you see to be the outside of other families. Focusing on your own best self is a life skill for kids to learn too. Self love and self respect are tremendously powerful antidotes to peer pressure.
2. Enjoy the journey instead of focusing so much on getting there. It’s definitely important to have goals and aspirations so that you have a general path to follow for yourself and your family. When you only focus on the final outcome of what you want to achieve or have, however, you can easily lose sight of how you get there and that is often more fun than the goal itself. You probably want a happy family, self assured kids, meaningful communication, feeling connected, etc. And there is no one way to get there…so stay open to the possibilities.
3. Let go of your inner control freak. Trying to control everything and everyone takes a lot of energy, causes frustration and often doesn’t really work. This doesn’t mean that you don’t enforce your boundaries. There is a difference between teaching your children certain boundaries/rules and wanting to control every bit of their life. Sure, sometimes it would be so much easier and faster for our kids to just do it our way, but we have to realize that kids also have their own lessons to learn.
4. See the potential and the good in everyone. This means putting aside your judgments of others because you have no way of ever truly knowing what their journey is and what struggles they have experienced. It also means giving yourself permission to see your own potential instead of always judging yourself. Your kids learn from what we do and say, so practicing kindness, tolerance, acceptance, and similar qualities is important to set your kids up to succeed.