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What I Learned From Watching Your Children Develop

During the process of writing the book, I interviewed about 50 families across America about their parenting strategies and the challenges they faced. In the interviewees, I discovered that one of the most surprising insights in the whole process was that the most important lessons that parents learn are the same ones that they learn from the parenting techniques they themselves develop and use.

One of the most powerful things I realized when writing that book was that the more we are all on the same page, the more likely we will all be successful in our parenting. It’s so important to be consistent with yourself and to create your own path toward success, but even more important we learn from each other! The way you parent your child shapes and develops your own.

One of the most important lessons a parent learns is that they are the parents and can take care of themselves. When you read other books, the advice will be more focused on the other parent. That advice is always going to be important, but what is even more important are the individual and unique techniques and strategies you learn during that time. For those of us who work with children, our parenting is about the most important thing – our own growth and our success in our own lives. One of the things that I learned the most from parents through my research was how to approach parents themselves so we can get the most out of ourselves.

How can we make sure that parents understand what is important to us and how we will benefit? How can we talk with parents, even in the heat of a difficult argument, and find our common ground, as you do with your spouse? Are there times where you need to get a little aggressive and fight about some parenting issues with your kids’ other parent? Are parents able to respect your opinions?

What is important to us as parents is that we can take care of ourselves (and each other) and not take ourselves too seriously and be prepared for the changes. Many of us in parenting spend a lot of time fighting and trying to make things right as parents, but the bottom line is that I think we are always going to need some tough love.

Another important lesson one parent learns is that as parents we have to set boundaries with each other and not go so far as to ignore the needs and desires or take the child too far into our personal sphere. It’s OK to discuss parenting and your needs, so long as you listen without being judgmental. When a family goes through a stressful issue, sometimes your kid is going to be in need of you and that can be very scary to parents.

What are the best ways to start to work on our individual boundaries and build those boundaries with the family when we’re in disagreement? Do we need to take the parenting “too seriously” or is it a time when we should just put our differences aside and talk the issues through instead of acting them out in our own way?

As parents, we may have learned about some things to avoid. But when we find ourselves in conflict with the other parent or children, we can’t just ignore them or go on a rampage – we need to work together as a team. We also have to come up with plans that allow us all the best chances of winning. If we don’t come up with good ideas that we’re all willing to support as family, we’re all going to be left holding the baby – no matter who is winning!

Are there times when you simply must be the disciplinarian? Or do you ever have to let someone off the hook? Do you need to ask others to step in and take over in times of conflict when you’re too weary to manage your own behavior? This, by the way, isn’t a bad thing – it simply is the way it is in most families.