"The attitude you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from more than what you tell them. They don't remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are." ~Jim Henson, 1936-1990, Creator of The Muppets
Half of good parenting is being there for your children and the other half is being there for yourself. What would you have given as you were growing up to have had parents who role-modeled taking loving care of their feelings, their health, their finances, their environment? What would you have given to have had joyful, healthy parents who showed you how to manage their conflicts in loving ways, who were fulfilled in their work, relationships, friendships and parenting? What might your life be like today if your parents were role models of taking personal responsibility in all areas of their lives?
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Becoming happy, healthy role models is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children.
Why Many Parenting Books Don't Work
I've read many parenting books over the years that offer wonderful suggestions regarding how to lovingly parent children. Yet, in order to implement most of the suggestions, parents need to be focused on loving themselves, rather than on controlling their children. Are you focused on what is loving to yourself, rather than on controlling your children?
The problem with most parenting books is they don't deal with INTENT. I remember years ago taking a class in Parent Effectiveness Training. It was a terrific class, except that it never mentioned intent. So when I tried to implement the suggestions, my children ended up feeling manipulated by my 'I messages.' And they were right. At that time, I didn't understand the difference between the intent to learn to take loving care of myself, and the intent to control them, so my 'I messages' were just another way of trying to control them.
I see this over and over with different parenting techniques. Children are very sensitive to intent, so when a parent's intent is to control the child, it doesn't matter how correct the technique, it will backfire.
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Becoming a Loving Role Model
What this means is that, in order to be a truly loving parent, you need to be inwardly connected with a source of wise guidance, so that you know what is loving to you and to them. Without connection with your higher wisdom, you will be operating from your programmed ego wounded self, and you may continue to do what you learned to do as you were growing up—or go the other way and do the opposite in an effort to not parent as you were parented. If your parents were authoritarian, then you might also be authoritarian, or you might be permissive to try to not do what they did. But neither are loving to yourself or to your children.