Parenting can be hard sometimes, and there is no course or learning we have to go on before we become parents. How do we know if we are really being effective? Sometimes even with the best intent, we can be moulding our children’s perceptions in ways that will not help them as adults. Here are a few mistakes we can make without even realising it.
Parents think their children will “outgrow” a behaviour
I often hear parents say “maybe it is just a phase, they will outgrow it”. All behaviour, ours and our children’s is driven by our needs. When children misbehave they have developed a pattern of behaviour to satisfy their need. E.g. When a child is mean or bullies another child they are satisfying their need for power. Their need for power will always be there, so they won’t outgrow the behaviour, it will just change form. The child who bullied children on the playground could become the unbearable boss at work. Teaching children how to satisfy their needs effectively is essential. When we understand their needs and show them how to satisfy them effectively there will no longer be a need for misbehaviour.
Parents think their problem “ is not so bad”
Often parents rationalize away, the niggles they have with their children. They think it is not so bad, and maybe it isn’t in that moment, but it could be the start of a bigger problem later on. Catching a niggle and working with it when your children are young is so much easier because there is no history of pain attached. If the niggle is not addressed early, by the time they reach their teenage years there is a history of pain which results in the problem taking way more effort to address.
Parents give their power away
Often parents measure their worth of how good they are as parents based on their children’s behaviour and achievements. Doing this results in frustration and gives all our power to our children, because when they don’t perform or behave the way we think they should, we feel unhappy and dissatisfied. I.e. our happiness is dependent on their behaviour. Learning how to measure ourselves based on how we facilitate their growth rather than on their performance takes our frustration away and gives them the freedom to develop and grow the way they need to.
Parents think they don’t need help
Isn’t it interesting how we know or have been told that we need to study to further our careers, or we seek guidance from doctors when we are sick, but when we need answers for helping our children or in relationships, often we just struggle along. Many of us have been told that we should know instinctively what to do. I know I didn’t! There are many strategies and ideas available that can make our parenting job easier and give our children way more than we already do as good parents. Knowing where to give and where to challenge our children is the art of good parenting and understanding how to facilitate our children’s growth and develop their minds is the key to our happiness and theirs. This is something we need to learn.
They focus on the problem and not the cause
So often when parents are experiencing difficulties they find solutions to manage or fix the problem and while that is important we most importantly need to look at and work with the cause of the problem. For example, we find ways to manage their anxiety, help them with extra lessons, we have therapy like OT or speech therapy to reduce their delays. When we work with the cause of the problem which is essentially a child’s sense of themselves (how they are interpreting situations and their emotional responses) we will resolve the difficulty permanently
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