Parenting through Personal Transformation
Posted on: October 13, 2017. Comments ( 5 )

Author: Mrs. Radhika Mohan, Educational Consultant

In my encounters with several parents every day, I come across innumerable ones who complain about their child yelling at them. On deep probing, I discover that these very parents do yell at their kids when they are frustrated. Some parents who complain about their child behaving disrespectfully to them, were found to be often disrespectful themselves while talking to their children. Why, in my own case, there have been trying times when I have spoken or behaved toward my child in a way that would be punished if the tables were turned. Occasionally I have expected my child to respond to daily struggles, setbacks and frustrations in a way that I have not yet been able to achieve myself.

Many a time, children become our teachers. They stir up aspects of our behavior that we struggle to restrain. Parenting them has brought us face-to-face with our own impatience, our greed, our selfishness, our worries, and our self-consciousness – just to name a few. But when we genuinely start making a sincere effort to parent in a more conscious way, we would stop “reacting” to all those shortcomings and begin to “respond”. We call this Conscious Parenting.

Most parents’ chief concern is their child’s behavior. They hope to ‘fix’ their child, and make life easier for the entire family. Yes, children can benefit from a one–on–one counseling session where child will learn certain beneficial skills to enhance their social and emotional well being. But in majority of cases, the change that parents hope to see requires effort from the parents first.

Each culture is embedded with various parenting styles. Some parents call themselves “authoritative”, some “attached”, some “helicopter”, and some “permissive”. There are a lot more labels to identify parenting styles. Parents make a choice to lean toward one parenting style over anther, while some carry on the tradition of their own parents because it is what they know best, no matter the parenting style.

Says Dr. Shefali, “Many parents begin and journey through parenting, unaware of why their child’s behavior triggers them the way it often does”. She further says, “While you may believe that your most important challenge is to raise your child well, there’s an even more essential task you need to attend to, which is the foundation of effective parenting. This task is to RAISE yourself into the most awakened and present individual you can be”.

She asks parents, first and foremost, to take a step back and reflect on their parenting mission and philosophy. Once these have been identified, parents need to ask themselves, and ponder over the question, “Am I manifesting this mission and philosophy in my everyday interaction with my child?” In other words, “Am I living my everyday life as the kind of person I attempt to shape my child into?” Before asking such questions to ourselves, we would be reacting to all our problems by simply punishing our child for things that would be our own shortfalls, as well.

Dr. Shefali says, “Mistakes need to be regarded not as something to harangue and punish, but as windows for learning.” Isn’t this how we want our own mistakes to be regarded? The reality is that we make lot of mistakes in our adult life. We lose keys, forget to turn the light/fan off, lose our way while driving, turn in late for appointments or worse completely forget about them, get into motor accidents, overlook paying our bills, neglect to call our friends when we said we would, misplace our phone, curse and yell, throw tantrums, come home too late, eat the wrong foods, or watch too much TV. In other words, we do countless things that we do not want our children to do, even in their young state of being, just because we told them these things.”

When our children exhibit inappropriate behavior, we get triggered. Our behavioral buttons get unconsciously pushed. We have to think, “What is it about the behavior that pushes my buttons?” Here is where we will begin to respond, not react. A conscious approach to parenting is the constant practice of noticing what is being stirred up in myself, and choosing to respond to my child’s behavior rather than react. Reactions maybe anything like threats, yelling, or a time out. A response, on the other hand, takes into account the feeling or desire in my child that motivates inappropriate behavior in him or her, and seeks to help my child learn more appropriate ways of handling these emotions. A response, therefore, might look like a deep breath, a conversation, and an inquiry about what to do differently next time.

Our job as a parent is not to make sure that my child never makes mistakes, but instead, to teach them how to handle those mistakes when they inevitably happen. We should possess the strong, inherent belief in ourselves and sow the same our children that he or she is inherently good and well meaning in all his or her actions. Hence I would naturally provide them the space to make mistakes, thus offering room for honesty and forgiveness. Such a space would tell my child that no matter how badly they mess up, they are okay in my eyes.

It might be the most important lesson they’ll ever need to learn.


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Comments (5)

 

  1.  
    Ashlesha says:

    Nicely written and had a very good lesson for parent. Thanks

  2.  
    Ginsha says:

    Well written . It’s really an eye opener for me. I always try to correct my kids like my parents.

  3.  
    Gladys says:

    Fully agree. Indeed well written. Thanks

  4.  
    Iffat says:

    Inspiring words!!

  5.  
    Lakshmi says:

    Thought-provoking and well written. thanks


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