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Does “Self-respecting” Describe the Parent and Self-parent You Are?

My daughter is just starting elementary school now in Pre-K. I am again besieged by notifications and permission slips galore just like back when Eamon was in Kindergarten and there was “homework”. See my recent repost of my piece Kindergarten Homework here. All sorts of good intentions being bantered back and forth between educator and parent about how to best raise/educate our kids.

Within a hunk of papers distributed by the school this week, a subscription newsletter from a parents-institute, I read this headline:

“Parents Must Encourage their Children to Develop Self-respect”

Does “Self-respecting” Describe the Parent and Self-parent You Are? on Shalavee.com

( I immediately thought, Well yes, and what about those parents who already see educators as bossy jackasses thinking, “you can’t tell me what I must do with my kids because I’m not going to be bossed by smartass educational type people”. Shut that down.)

Of course I knew it was well-meant and read further. Essentially, children who are disrespectful don’t have any self-respect. Sometimes that’s what hides behind lack of respect for authorities. If we don’t value ourselves, we’re certainly not valuing others. And eventually the justice system needs to show us our worth. This is what the article said self-respect came down to being composed of.

Self-respect comes from:

Competence – Being good at things makes your kid feel good. Children need lots of opportunities to master skills and feel good about themselves while they do. New skills from sports to art to chores can give them a chance to like themselves while they master those skills. And no one standing over them telling what a bad job they did either.

Accomplishments – They need their progress seen and noted.By everyone but mostly by parents. See above.

Confidence – This can be about pointing out how all the work paid off and acceptance that sometimes we falter to succeed. Mistakes can be learned from and we need to know we can rely on ourselves to make things happen.

Freedom – Allow kids to be independent and make their own age-appropriate choices. Let them chose when things can be done and how sometimes. Showing them you trust them makes them trust them.

Support – Accept your children for who and what they are. Let them belong to the family instead of having to fit into your vision of what they should be. Ask them about their day. Listen and witness their answers and help solve their problems if they ask for it.

Imitation – Be the person you want them to model themselves after. They will do as you do. So if you have low self-esteem and anxiety issues, they will too. Be kind to yourself and stand firm for them with their demands as well so that they may see what standing firm looks like.

Does “Self-respecting” Describe the Parent and Self-parent You Are? on Shalavee.com

Invisible sword fighting

If you paid attention to even most of these, you’d have a pretty great kid. Personally, I got lost between the family cracks and did not have most of these attentions paid me but yes, I’m paying them to my kids. And then I thought, what kind of parents are we to ourselves? I feel like I can tend to be on the side of almost abusive self-parenting if I allow me to continue to berate and judge myself for the myriad of things I seem to do “wrong”.

What if we took these steps above and applied them to ourselves, which is truly necessary if we are actually parents because our kids do as we do, not as we say. What kind of parents do we want to be to ourselves? Compassionate and kind or judgemental and punitive?  Just like these children, we go out into the society and make our own contributions based on our self-worth and respect so shouldn’t we give ourselves these gifts as well to give us an edge up on our lives? I could use with a little more self-respect in my world, couldn’t you?

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest  too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Be Willing To Let Life Teach Them

As parents, we have a lot of damage control to manage. We expect that our children will be teased so we try to give them un-teasable names. We imagine they’ll be injured by the coffee table so we choose to have a round coffee table. We see the food struggle coming and so we make their meal choices simple so they’ll eat. But for all our parental controlling, do we consider the benefits of seeing the disasters and circumstances through to their not so perfect endings? Because there’s a lot to be learned by this practice occasionally.Be Willing to Let Life Teach Them on Shalavee.com

I remember reading in one of my parenting help books that if you have a problem with a kid who whines for the candy at the check out line in the grocery store, you need to set up a sting operation. Knowing they’ll behave this way, you say to them ahead of time as your headed to the store in need of pretend items, “we will leave if you pull this behavior stunt”. Then you go into the store grabbing this pretended needed item and when they act like they were told not to, you ask the cashier to please put the item back and you leave immediately and calmly. You are hedging bets for your future reliability. You are letting that child know he/she is not in charge. This is a very good example of how to reestablish your authority but sometimes you need to go all out the other way and let it go.

I spoke with a woman who was fretting about her son’s dental hygiene. She said he refused to take care of his teeth. And someone said, just wait until he wants to have a girlfriend. He’ll change that tune really quickly because no one wants to kiss someone with a skanky funk mouth. He was probably suffering a little from “if you tell me to do it then I don’t wanna”but there’s a point when, as a mother, you have to let lessons be learned. There’s always the free dental services at the Dental School when he has future dental health problems. Sadly, the only person he’s punking out against is himself.Be Willing to Let Life Teach Them on Shalavee.com

l took my daughter into the bathroom last night and she refused to go to the potty when I asked her. The old “I don’t have to” but “I really don’t want to be told what to do” trick. And sure enough, there was a wet bed four hours later. I knew what the circumstances were going to be but we have been pull-up free for a week and I know she has to go all the way out and feel the discomfort to learn. Sometimes we have to see our way through to the real worse case scenario, the “what if” so that the lesson can be learned the “hard way”. Because life is a better teacher than we can ever be.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

 

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Self-Recovery For the Ones You Love

You may not choose to run a marathon for yourself but you would for a cause you felt truly moved by. It feels the same way with self-recovery, the process of rediscovery of our truest strongest selves. It is such a struggle through forests of fear and sorting of fact from fiction that a person would really truly rather not. Unless you have kids. Then your whole perspective on who you need to be changes.

Much of what I have done never would have happened unless I had kids who I knew would be getting a better me for my process. It started with the conscious clearing of anxiety, finding a spiritual community, and quitting smoking. It continued with beginning this blog as a way to write and better my writing with regularity. And it became a self-bettering process of even larger proportions when I was asked to teach a seminar, admitted that I would write a book, and started my own community online and in real life. Self-Recovery For the Ones You Love on Shalavee.com

Passive to active living and reactive versus proactive choices were shifts in my lifestyle that I can see evidence of change. And if I can see them, so can my children. If I want them to live a life of empowerment and opportunity, I need to model what that looks like. Because they will always learn by what you are doing more than what you are saying. Immediately I remember the anti-drug PSA from the 80’s where the parent asks the kid where they learned to smoke / do drugs and the kids says, “I learned it by watching you!”(see the link to the very bad quality You Tube snippet below.)

If there isn’t one good reason to have kids, it’s that accountability to the world to be the best role model you can be. Of course there’s also that immense pride of creating beings that you know will positively add to the world. And the huge quantities of love hormones you get throughout their lives when you hug them. But I truly feel an immense pride and compassion for my humanity when I’m sloppily slam in the middle of working this stuff out. Because I want the next generation to be able to choose process over perfection. To have witnessed what it means to struggle and win. Because that’s what I’m doing all the time here.

Anyone got an amen for me? Shout it out.

 

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest  too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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On Happy Endings

I really have no expertise when it comes to happy endings. Miserable endings I could script out perfectly for you though. So when it was suddenly clear to me as a new parent that I was responsible for shading the outlook of the world for my children. When interpreting what they see in movies or read in books, I was responsible for translating the foreshadowing and inferences that would clue my children in to the upcoming plot twists. Life itself needs interpretation for us to decide how it’s going. I knew there were some storytelling rules that I needed to lay down for them.On happy endings on Shalavee.com

The number one rule is that there will always be happy endings in everything I allow them to see. How quickly I realized as I watched my first toddler that he was so susceptible to the change in music and feeling of the videos we were watching. And that it was up to me to protect him and make him feel safe. My sister tells the story about how she was traumatized by watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer when she was small. I explained to my son that I would never allow for him to be ambushed by a story gone wrong. And when Fiona was beginning to watch Friday night movies with us, I explained the same to her.

This concept has alerted me to how even the world news, easily seen by the children of families who feel news is acceptable to broadcast without censoring, can be very jarring to them. I filter it out because even I have been jarred by it. And this is how we grew up. Today, the more scintillating news and tv sells the advertisement spots. Because when we forget the television and film industry is for profit, we forget to guard ourselves.On happy endings on Shalavee.com

My generation grew up thinking there were no happy endings. And yet we crave them more than anything. We’ve seen more strife and believe that this is the norm. We were robbed of the happy safe bubble I am trying to give my children. Because eventually and inevitably, they’ll come to understand that yes, there is strife and inequality. But that’s all in good time. It’s up to us to decide how un-sucky their childhoods are before they get to the age of reason.

I have had to create a new space in my head for the possibilities of happiness that I never had before. It’s a type of faith to assume that even though you’ve never felt it and lived it, it still may be possible. I have had a week’s plus worth of days where events went smoothly without crisis and full of kindness and fun with my family. I very intentionally molded those days as such based on a hunch that this was a possible way of living, of being happy. And my hunch was correct. 20 years ago, I might have said that sounded nice but I wouldn’t have believed it was possible. Today I can say it is. And that is happy ending enough.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Codependency

Codependency is such a dirty word to say these days. I think most people have heard of it and my suspicion is that most people suffer to a degree from it. And like allergies and anxieties, most people also deny that.

I can remember being in a therapy session when I was around 21 and feeling bad about something for my boyfriend. Like I had responsibility for having caused his feeling or I was trying to fix him (no surprise) and the therapist brought this to my attention. This was the first memory I can have of being aware that my tendency to mind-read and try to expect and manipulate other people’s happiness may not be “healthy”. The first time I was busted for being codependent.Codependency on Shalavee.com

I have worked for many many years on figuring out where I stop and other people begin. That place is called a boundary and is perfectly normal to have. In codependent families, people do not take responsibility for their own choices and either pass the blame on to other people or insinuate others have to make up for it. Defensiveness and resentment top the feeling charts in these family situations followed by guilt and shame. To say this is all “unhealthy” would be to understate the effects on the children who grow up here. It’s downright debilitating.

Yet even in the nicest of families, people do what they know and has been done before them. And it has been a real impetus for my emotional growth to not want to repeat the unhealthy behaviors that have been given to me. Children do as they see, not as you say. If I do not take responsibility for my choices and am always blaming others, so will they. Integrity and honesty start in your heart and flow downhill to those you love. So does pain and displacement of that pain. In the end, you are always still responsible for your own happiness.Codependency on Shalavee.com

At the same time, the care-taking of children draws me into areas where I can be dangerously codependent. The need to make sure I’m a “Good “ mother can make me spoil and coddle and mind-read their needs. It can make me ignore my own needs to take care of theirs. And too much of this can make me feel resentful and still I can raise children who take the world and me for granted. If I never allow them to do their work and experience the benefit of it, I am robbing them of identity moments. Opportunities to grow away from needing me.

Thankfully, I’m a Mom who understands that I have a separate life just like my children will. I have to be mindful and cautious not to spoil my whole family to my detriment. But I am certain that I am on the right path to showing them what it looks like to take responsibility for their actions and feelings and to be proud of their accomplishments which are theirs not mine. If you find yourself trying to coerce other people to feel things and are sure you know what everyone is thinking about you, you may want to look into this codependency thing a little more.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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