Parent the Parent
The world of parenting is pretty much like a game of chess; each action/interaction of ours has a rippling impact on the child, the home surroundings and ofcourse on ourself! And it's a single player game, only time will decide how good or bad you played!
In the absence of the rule book in parenting, parents go by their own conditioning and personal beliefs. To tread successfully in the path of parenting, we as parents need "Parent the parent" program, much in the lines of Train the Trainer.
To act efficiently as a Parent, we must:
- identify our beliefs and conditioning,
- assess if they are limiting,
- re-establish our beliefs,
- parent with empowering belief.
How to identify our belief and conditioning: this is the foremost and important step. These beliefs and conditioning are so strong and pervasive that often its hidden from our own view.
Taking a leaf from my life, we grew up in a joint family, during my childhood days, my uncle would never ask his children to study, a state contrary to ours. My parents always insisted on a daily study time. His belief was that children should never be forced, on the other hand my father believed that daily practice is a must. While my uncle detested my grandfathers' forced study time, my father just got influenced by it and hence despite having same parenting both of them; my dad and uncle, took it inversely in their parenting style. Fast forward to 30 years, all of us; me and my cousins are doing well in our corporate career.
So no fixed way for guaranteed outcomes but being aware of our beliefs allows us to be pragmatic in implementation.
Assess if they are limiting: I grew up with the belief that elders should be respected, but over the years I intertwined respect with accountability. It started reflecting when I started my corporate career. As a young management graduate while delivering my first project, I failed miserably to hold older employee to account, it clashed with my notion of respect.
While parenting, this belief now is foremost for me "respect versus accountability" and speaking up is not equivalent to disrespect.
As a parent this puts me in a tough spot, my children put up their case and express their disagreement. And I continually re-establish with myself that if children are not listening, its not my disrespect.
Re-establish our belief: Once we realize the limiting nature of our beliefs, its important to make them empowering. We can not "not have beliefs". As human beings we always have beliefs; these beliefs guide our responses to a situation, the way we interact with others, the way we conduct ourselves. These are core to what we experience in our lives. Hence it becomes important to establish empowering beliefs for ourselves.
An ex colleague if mine often told me that corporate is a race, only the person coming first makes a mark. Nothing wrong in it. But this belief led him to act, behave and project in a certain way while at work; impacting his relationship with his coworkers. As a parent it reflected in his parenting too; life is a race! He would always want his child to excel in studies, being ahead of her class in completion of syllabus, her marks, project work et el. Needless to say if a child is looking at every other child as her competition she can't have a reliable, close knit friends' group; a sign detrimental to her emotional well being. A more empowering belief could have been "be your best version!"
Parenting with empowering belief: Parenting is an excellent opportunity to reflect, mend and enjoy our beliefs and their impacts.
- save us from indulging in guilt parenting
- lay a foundation of strong bond between us and our child
- allow us to witness our limitations and course correct
- makes us a cool parent :-D
Will these steps ensure that our parenting is fool proof and our children are successful? No, parenting is not a guaranteed return program. Our children's beliefs get influenced by their friends, colleagues, interest and personal choices. But having an open view on our own beliefs and conditioning makes us approachable and trustworthy; a conditions conducive for the child to be himself/herself with us. Thus giving us an opportunity to access and influence them in a positive way.
The views expressed here are my personal belief ;-) , if you wish to give me a feedback, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org