The 2010 New Year's Resolution Guide to Parentdom
The good thing about making resolutions is that it gives you time to reflect back about the year past and figure out how you can improve your life for the upcoming year. Parenthood has so many lessons, some we master and others we still need to improve upon. There is no such thing as a "perfect parent" but there are always ways that we as parents can improve our interactions with our children. I believe when we improve, they improve.
Here are some resolutions you may want to consider that may resonate with you:
- Say "no" guilt- free when my children want something that is not within our monetary budget. If there is anything that we have learned from this 2- year recession, is that the important things in life don't have to revolve around material "things. So when your child asks you for that new IPOD or designer jeans, repeat this mantra in your head " I can say no and still be a good parent" over and over again. And that will help re-train having those guilt feelings about not giving them everything they ask for.
- Let children "be". So often we parents tend to power pack our children's schedules with all kinds of activities that we perceive that would be beneficial to them like art lessons, tennis, gymnastics, music groups. We don't need to control every segment of their lives. It's important that they have down time to just "be".
- Be open about feelings. Parents have feelings too and it's important that kids need to hear them. But it's much better if they are expressed in a non-defensive manner. I suggest using what is called the "I Message". Express your feelings starting with "I feel ___ when you… instead of putting them on the defensive with "You did this or You make me feel…" It's much better when you are coming from a place of owning your own feelings and expressing it appropriately.
- Make loving choices for yourself to set an example. By loving choices, I mean, things you do for yourself that are positive whether it means stopping smoking to be healthier to taking time to relax and be less stressed out. Children will see that and eventually role model that.
- Delegate reasonable responsibilities to family members. We don't have to Super Moms or Dads, and try to do it all. By delegating and spreading the responsibilities around will help out with the household workload.
- Be blind and kind to messy rooms. I have teenager so messy rooms comes with the territory. I've learned that the more I say something about the mess they have created, the more resistant they are to cleaning it up. So be kind to yourself about this picking this battle and close your eyes more to the mess. Eventually they will get tired of living in their own mess and will clean it up.
Ask Dr. Andie
Questions can be submitted through the website and if possible, will be answered either in the Q&A section or in the Power2Relate Newsletter.
Every month I read your newsletter and I appreciate all the advice you give out about being a better parent and your tips on how I can improve my parenting skills. My question is how I can deal with what I call "Parent Guilt." I work a full-time job and with two children 10 and 12 years old. I find myself giving in too much because I feel guilty about not always being able to give my kids everything they need in terms of my time and energy. Any words of wisdom about parent guilt?
You bring up an excellent topic, one that many parents feel. Guilt often comes from feeling a sense of obligation that you haven't pleased or helped another. It also is a compilation of remorseful feelings or thoughts that were negative or non-accepting regarding yourself and others. And people can (like your children) sometimes play on your feelings of guilt. Since you work full time, there is only a certain amount of energy and time left over to be everything to every one.
The first step is to look at your situation from the perspective of what your life would look or feel like if there was no more guilt. With guilt not being the issue, question yourself whether the issues in your life are your problem or are they someone else's. Consider and confront your fears and the irrational beliefs that are behind these fears. For example, maybe you have a belief that if you are not a "good" enough parent, your children will not love you or worse yet, your kids will be failures and you will be held responsible for their demise. As parents, we can only do our best since there is no such thing as a perfect parent. To enjoy parenthood more, let go of that heavy suitcase filled with those heavy guilt feelings. And by dealing with guilt, you end up really forgiving yourself!
This month, Dr. Andie appeared on the NBC affiliate Philadelphia !0!Show talking with host Bill Henly about 2010 Guide to Better Parentdom. The excerpt will appear under "media" in the www.drandie.com website. Also, tune into Walking on Air with Betsy and Sal www.walkingonair.org/schedule.htm to listen every Tuesday for On the Couch with for a session with Dr. Andie. Topic this month is on helicopter and free-range parenting.
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