Friday, May 20, 2016

Parents Who Do More, Speak Less

There is a trend in parenting where parents speak to children about anything and everything and when there is an opportunity to teach, they use a script. Sometimes the script comes from a book that they have read that teaches them "how to act" when their child exhibits a negative trait or to start documenting the root cause that causes the child to misbehave.

Parenting, unlike other interactions that humans partake in, is not an exact science but much more of an expression of one's ideals and belief systems passed on from one generation to the next. It's important that as a parent, you take on the role of establishing an identity not only as the role model in your child's life, but the individual that you will raise them to be when they grow up.

In my practice, one of the most important aspects of my interactions happen when I see a parent correct a child. I have witnessed the entire gamut of responsiveness from the father who coddles, to mothers who bribe their children into the bank of capitalism and have told me behind closed doors, "my mom can get me to do anything if she gives me money". I've seen beautiful parenting when one mother, not short of any discretionary funding - explains to her child that there is value in waiting for something that you want because "life is about enjoying what you have worked so hard for!". It reminds me of when I was in elementary school and when we would return from recess, our teacher would give us one Jolly Rancher if we had a "Perfect Week!". Can you imagine the attention to detail and perfectionistic tendencies I had to endure in order to earn that one piece of candy.

As I watch parents come in and out of my life - I see those who have it easy, and I see those who will, at least for a few years in their life, regret what they had done when their child was younger. If there is anything I wish for parents to do more of, it's to spend time with your kids and focus on bridging your past with their future. Teach them about your values and the traditions of what your family has held very close to your heart. Understand that we live in a community - and do not pass judgment on what people are on the outside, but how they make you feel when you are with them. Raise them so that no matter what they do in life, they will always look back and say, "I could not be who I am today if it wasn't for you." You'll tear up when your children say that to you, I know that I always do.

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