Parenting Principles Part 3 – Looking to Ourselves

Perhaps the most important tip for becoming a Superparent may also be the simplest, and the most difficult to follow.

Be who you want your children to be.

download (2)Think back to your strongest and most influential memories of your parents.  I virtually guarantee that memory is closely tied to your parent’s emotional behavior.  Whether it is of warm hugs or angry yelling, it has to do with the emotions you felt in your relationship with your parent.  The key to being a great parent lies in your ability to present yourself to your kids with calm, support, and an open heart.

In part one of this series we discussed providing both strong boundaries and nurturing support.  Strong boundaries are ineffective in the form of rules yelled out by a parent at the end of his or her rope.  Nurturing support can not be given by a parent who is used up and feeling unsupported themselves.

In part two of the series, we discussed managing the anxiety we experience all the time as parents.  If your anxiety level is very high in your own life you are almost certainly passing that anxiety on to your children.

If we give everything we have to our kids and leave nothing for ourselves, then we don’t have much left to give to our kids and we teach them not to tadownloadke care of themselves.  Make time to care for yourself.

If we are constantly fighting with our spouse, our children will be in distress regardless of how loving we are towards them and we set them up to have unhealthy relationships in their future.  Make time to care for your relationship.

Making changes in ourselves may be the most difficult task of becoming a Superparent but it may also be the most fruitful.  It may come in the form of just making time to go out with friends once a week or it may come in the form of seeking individual or couples counseling to address issues that need addressing, issues that are likely rooted in your own childhood and experience of being parented.  Regardless, making the effort to start taking better care of yourself is likely to pay off tenfold in the benefit to your children.

51mm0KoJ0XL._SL135_For an excellent book examining these issues, consider reading Dan Siegel’s, Parenting From the Inside Out.

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About Zach Stones, MFT

Zach Stones is a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, founder of Revolution Institute and parent of three.
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