Most parents constantly wonder are they a good parent. They tend to be self-critical and question whether they are raising children who feel good about themselves and will be able to master the world. Parents are typically aware of how they were raised and have vowed to do it differently. The 3 principals that make parenting inherently difficult are
• Parenting is trial and error.
• There is no one formula that insures success.
• Parenting is the most difficult job you can have because it tries your emotional maturity, your time management, and your faith that ultimately things are going to work out in the end.
Do you have any insecurities about your parenting? Of course, you do and I would maintain that keeps you in a humble state to not take anything for granted. But do you feel that you are too hard on yourself when it comes to your parenting? Because if you see yourself as overly critical, then we need to make an adjustment so that you can lighten your emotional load and enjoy the ride.
What would it take in your household to have more time to enjoy each other and spend more time playing and having fun? How would it feel if every time you started to criticize your child, you turned it around with an encouraging statement or affirmation? How often do you act goofy, or dance around the house with your child’s tutu on?
It can take a lot of energy to parent if you are worried about your child but one way to offset your anxieties is to spend time joking and being silly. Be unpredictable! Getting into the car with your beach hat on when you are just driving them to school. Or maybe you decide to sleep in sleeping bags on the living room floor and make s’mores with those little propane canisters that are really part of the appetizer dishes. Maybe you sing your instructions reminding them to brush their teeth.
Life can be awfully serious and most parents complain that there is too much stress, too little time and too much fatigue making it difficult to relax and have fun with the kids get physical with your child. The next time she is sharing a feeling, do less talking and more hugging. It is always a good parenting strategy to help your children reflect on their feelings by asking them to identify the primary feelings: anger, sadness, happiness, loneliness and fear. But after that use reflective listening and repeat back what your child is saying and then get out of their way so they can brainstorm their options.
Your children are there to teach you to get in touch with your inner child inside of you. Spend an hour a week getting down to their level and ask yourself what do I need to learn today? That may teach you to smile more, live in the moment, lighten up, get in touch with your playfulness, look for ways to be silly, rest more, go into that childhood trance they are so good at exhibiting, or to be more physical. Make sure you let them know how they are changing you. They will help to keep you accountable if you tell them that you all need to get to bed earlier and wind down sooner and then they catch you doing the laundry at 10 PM.
You have the most important job in the world so spend time appreciating it and enjoy the ride!