There are some great magazines available to us to help us along, such as "Parents Magazine", and there are some great books available to buy or check out from the library. For the most part, it is up to us to do the best we can. We want our kids to grow up with a healthy outlook on life, feeling good about themselves, and to be respectible citizens.
What are some of the things we need to do to be a better parent?
A) We need to be able to listen to our children, not just hear the words, but feel the meaning behind what the child is trying to portray.
B) We need to have a relationship that offers the child the ability to come to us when there is a problem. That is we must encourage them to come to us by our behavior.
C) We need to be able to share the problems that face our children, by giving them the ability to come to us, and showing us they can trust us.
D) We need to be able to determine what the child's needs are, then be able to meet those needs.
When we have been able to acomplish the above 4 things, we will be able to have a better influence on our children toward the kind of behaviors we want to see in them. As parents we cannot take all the credit, nor all the blame for our children's behavior, good or bad.
If we are feeling guilty about not being as good of a parent as we can be, we are affecting our children's relationship to us. Children tune into this feeling very quickly. If our self-esteem is low, we will feel like a failure. We should give ourselves the credit due, as we strive to be a better parent, and improve the situations, we are doing the best we can. Once we make ourselves beleive we are doing the best we can, we will gain more confidence in our own abilities, and our children will feel more confidnet in us as a parent as well. It is a real catch 22 situation, we yell at the child then feel bad. We realize we could have handled things better, and if we do not take time to refresh ourown feelings toward our self, we will begin to feel like a failure. Our children cue into that feeling, and will not only lose confidnece in our abilities, they will cue into the fact that Mom or Dad feels like a bad parent, and in many cases will go out of his way to prove to you, just how bad a parent you really are! To avoid this we must refrain from finding fault and blaming. We must learn to find a cause and deal with the cause to correct problems.
We want to be able to achieve a balance between parent and child, where neither is feeling threatened, looses self esteem, or feels they must hide their feelings to protect themselves.
The following example gives a clue as to what is being said here.
A filming crew was sent to out of State region to film a movie. The cast had been chosen, prepared for the filming with a seminar telling each person that the weather is very much different there than it is in Los Angeles. "The temperatures are in the 60/70 degrees range, during the day and down to the 60's at night. With the humidity up to 100%, it promised to be a miserable situation. Each person will need warm pajamas, sweatshirts, and even a jacket. A raincoat will be very useful, as it can rain for several days at a time. We are prepared for a three month stay, but it may take longer to actually shoot the scenes required." Each person was handed a packet with these instructins, going into complete depth, and many more suggestions to make the filming adventure less disasterous. The time came to leave, the crew had been told it had been raining without a let up, and they had to postpone the trip. Three months later, in early June they could no longer wait for the rain to slow. The film had progressed to the point it was going to be "shoot it or forget it". The cast and crew headed up the coast, leaving the 100+ degree weather they were accustomed to.
With the ground being overly saturated by excess rain, it was hard to get equipment, cast and crew in their proper places at the proper time, and not have them falling into the thick mud. Time was being lost, as they decided to let thing slide for another several days, in hopes it would quit raining, and the grounds would dry up. Again the rain persisted, until they had no choice, either go ahead with the filming, or turn around and pay the cast and crew for a job not done, scrap the filming and return to Los Angeles. The decision was made to film.
Again, setting up was a real challenge. Several people had fallen in the thick, mud. "I don't care what it is like, get the job done!", were the orders by the crew. As the cast stood at the top of the hill that led down to a river, the ground gave way under their feet. First one lead cast member slid down hill, then another. The camera man, already focused on the swift flowig river caught the action. Then, with no warning at all, he too, slid down to the river, camera rolling. Not one bit of the filming had captured the story as it was to be shown in the end. However, due to losses of cameras, equipment, and humiliation of both cast and crew, the best was made of the situation, and this scene was left in as part of the movie. The entire film was spotted with such incidents as described above. A car that was to have the stunt people floating down the river, actually broke loose with the two stars, the same two who slid downhill into the river, and went over a smaller, but wild waterfall! Crocodiles had claimed the hand in several crew members, and the arm of one cast member. By the time all was done, that had become a very expensive movie.
Now, who was to blame? The producer for taking them there? The crew for not insisting they quit and go home? The actors and crew members for not being more careful? There are lots of ways blame could have been made, and cast. However, when it all came down to it, the weather was at the root of the whole mess. No one was to blame, and no one was at fault. It was just a series of circumstances that led one to another.
Time alone would prove that the movie,even with all these added things, not expected would be a great success! "The Jewel of The Nile" went on to be a box office smash hit! If blame and fault were to be placed, the movie may had never been released.
We can have the same affect on our children's lives, if we learn not to point out fault and blame. Instead, try to establish the cause. This can be done only after we ave learned to control our emotional involvement, and by learning to listen effectively and accurately.
If we only listen half way to our children we will place barriers they will not attempt to go beyond. In other words they will recognize our half-listening as a way to not have a genuine interest in their problems. In a way we are saying, "I am too busy to care about your problem right now." In contrast, if we truly listen, and show our children our full attention, they will determine, we do care about their feelings, and will develop a good relationship with us.
We need to allow them to tell us what it is they want to say and not interrupt them by looking into their eyes showing concern. Keeping silent during this period of time will show the child we do care about his feelings. We can also show them we do care bout them by keeping focused on them, and doing our best to understand why he or she is feeling like they do about the situation.
We also can show we really care by allowig the child to say more about the situation. "Would you like to explain more to me? This way they willgain confidence that you do understand his or her feelings, and will begin to open up and talk about the problems, rather than hide them. Hidden problems fester and become explosive situations down the road. They may come out as an entirely different kind of problem, althgether.
Spend consientious time listening to you children. Get down to their level so you can look them directly in the eye, and have eye-to-eye contact. Then invite the child to tell you more, if appropriate. Practice these principles and see how things go. You most likely will see an improvement in your relationship with your children.
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