Good Parenting Is Good Self Care
Are you running in the fast lane when it comes to providing for your family? There is so much emphasis on providing the right opportunities and affording the right things. This puts extra pressure on you, the parent, to set up every conceivable situation that will benefit your child. Not only will it leave you feeling hassled and fragmented, you lose sight of the important things like self-care, boundaries, limits, and spirituality. When people are too busy it takes away from their time to BE which then keeps them from feeling centered, balanced and focused on the important things in life.
So if you are looking for guidance to determine if you are doing too much, answer the bullets points below and make the following adjustments.
You are doing too much if:
You can’t afford the activities your child is involved in.
You are cutting into your workday or down time to transport your child more than 25% of the time.
If the only life you have is arranging your child’s activities.
If your child sets up an agenda without asking you—that translates into they don’t ask if they can go and they don’t ask if it will fit into your plans.
If you ignore that nagging feeling to say no.
When you do too much for your child, you not only burn yourself out but you also set up a condition that can affect your child. I have coined this "Entitlement Syndrome." Entitlement Syndrome is when kids expect their parents to provide a lifestyle that totally centers around them.
When children receive too much money, time or attention, three natural processes occur:
Children become self-centered and begin to expect the world to revolve around them.
They develop a skewed sense of reality that is not reflective of the real world.
Children are most likely doing too much and do not have enough down time for the “kid essentials” like studying, cleaning their room, or interacting with family, especially their parents.
Children with Entitlement Syndrome either develop narcissistic tendencies—“everything revolves around me”—or they become discouraged because secretly they feel inferior unless everything is provided to them. They, like so many adults, crave a lifestyle that is not realistic.
If, as a parent, you see yourself falling into the trap of doing too much or being too permissive, there are several techniques that can rein the child back into a slower, gentler lifestyle:
Stop doing so much! Yes, they will be mad and yes, they will try to make you feel guilty. You have the right to say no and use it as a complete sentence.
Start re-prioritizing their needs and saying things like, “I can’t afford to take all your friends out for your 6th birthday” or “I have discontinued the cell phones because it didn’t fit into our budget” or “Mom’s too tired to pick you up.”
It’s okay to emphasize that you have had a wake-up call and that things are going to be different.
Staying at home, being with the family, watching a video or eating a regular meal together builds character. Don’t be afraid to refocus your efforts. Know that you will be in for a battle because you set up this decadent lifestyle when you didn’t know better. But you deserve to provide your own self-care! Sometimes doing less is more. It builds character. Isn’t that really your job as a parent?