Tag Archive | parenting

Elevate Your Relationship With Your Child

elevateyourrelationshipwithyourchild

Dear Parents,

As a former teacher, I’m writing to you from the heart.  As a parent myself, and a former teacher and as a humanitarian, yes, I’m going to suggest how you parent your sweet children.  You may choose to tune out here and click off my letter or maybe you just might want to read what I have to say to see if it resonates with you.

Let me begin by telling you I am not the perfect parent, teacher nor humanitarian.  Not by a long shot am I perfect.  But I feel the need to tell you honestly what I’m seeing and it’s not pretty dear friends.  You may or may not be aware of it, but it’s there – that wounded spot between you and your child.  You know the one I mean.  You sense it because you know that he’s mad with you and you feel guilty for whatever you’ve not done.  Or maybe you’re really as clueless about it as you seem.  But I don’t buy it.  I think you know, but you’re afraid to touch that wounded part of your child and yourself.

Example:  You are busy with work, your family, your life and all that’s around you.  You live in a tizzy of busy because you are doing the best you can to provide for your family, to work at your career, to be a good wife/husband, to parent, to raise your family and maybe even take care of your own parents as well.  You’re stressed beyond words and everyone knows it.  You are doing the best you can and I applaud you.  But I know you’re not happy because that wound rears its ugly head when it comes to your child.

You feel guilty because your child is wounded by you.  There, let’s speak plainly.  What you say, how you react, what you don’t say or don’t do, has built up a laundry list in your child’s mind to feel wounded by you.  What’s worse is that you think that what he holds against you may be true and if you had more time, if you weren’t working, if you didn’t have so many children, etc., you’d not have made those mistakes.  You’ve got a litany of excuses and guilt that he doesn’t want to hear.  But you’re not telling him that anyway.  You’re living with the wound yourself and it’s festering in your daily interactions with him.  It’s like a runaway train which at every non-stop at a station, gets worse and the momentum of hurt builds.

You must be willing to change in order for you and your child to begin to rebuild your relationship.  I’ve found that honesty works well here as it almost always does when it comes to communication between people, be it parent/child relationships or for that matter, any relationship between people.  Open communication is key.  Taking the quiet opportunity when there’s not a lot of stress involved between you, makes it easier for each person to hear what the other person is saying.  Blame is not an option here so don’t bring it into the conversation.  Explain clearly what you expect from your child and what he can expect from you.  Show examples of when he was successful and when you were as well and highlight the times when you worked together and succeeded at a common goal.  Remind him of the fun times together and let him know how you miss that connection with him.  Tell him plainly how you miss that connection and how you would like to reconnect and ask him for advice.  Let him tell you what he needs from you and you can do the same.  Be on the same page as a team.  Keep the dialogue open and be ready to hear how he feels even if it’s hard.  It may take a few conversations before he will open up, but most teenagers want to reconnect because they need you as much as you need them.  But you need to set the example for that give and take trusting conversation and not react to anything he says that you may not like.  You need to be the grownup and own how what’s happened makes him feel, especially when you may find it hitting too close to home.  It’s hard to accept when your teenager tells you the truth as he sees it and you may have to accept that he’s right and not give excuses as to why you did whatever it is that you did.  This is not to say that you need to take all the blame and guilt here either, for it’s a two way street in any relationship.  But in giving your child the opportunity to speak his mind respectfully, just as it will be when you are given the same opportunity, allows for healing to begin.

It takes time to repair wounds for anyone, but especially that parent/child relationship as it sets the stage for his future relationships.  Even the most wounded of us wants peace and forgiveness and to feel loved and respected.  I don’t think it’s ever too late to try, for you never know when you may succeed.

Relationships fall apart over time and don’t always heal quickly.  But with patience and kindness we can repair and reconnect with others in the most miraculous of ways.  It takes a commitment to reconnect, but I’ve found that it’s so well-worth it when we do!

Work on making your home a safe and loving environment where family means that we love each other and that we work together for the common good and love that binds us.  You role model that in your home – peace, love, kindness – so foster it in every moment!

Be kind to yourself, dear parent.  Sometimes life just happens the way it does, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve our relationships with effort on both parts.  If you really feel disconnected from your child, make the effort and if it’s not too late, you may be surprised at the amazing relationship that comes out of your opening up the conversation to reconnect in the first place!

Shine On!

xo

 

 

 

 

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What Do You Believe?

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What do you believe my friends?  Our beliefs begin in childhood, nestling into our psyche right from the start.  Don’t believe me?  Have you ever heard your mother’s words coming out of your mouth for example?  Do you find yourself doing X (whatever example you want to use) just the way you were taught as a child, even when you know there’s an easier or better way?  But you can’t help yourself, and you continue to do it that way because that’s how it’s always been done?  Do you have limited beliefs in yourself because you were told that you weren’t smart enough or that you wouldn’t amount to anything?  Or perhaps you were told you could do anything, and you have?

Parenting before the age of 7 is paramount to a child’s self-esteem and belief system about everything, including themselves.  We may not even remember what we were told, but we know in your minds that it is true.  Even when it’s proven not to be true.  Why?  Because the adults in our lives told us so when we were children.

How’s that for mind-befuddling?

So the next time you are parenting, think before you speak or give yourself a time out in order to center your thoughts.  Your children are listening with minds of sponges and beliefs that you are creating for them for a lifetime.

Shine On!

xo

 

Inspired by The Daily Post prompt: Believe

Help for Middle-Schoolers

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I’ve mentioned many times over the last few days that there is help at school for parents and for students.  A friend of mine wrote a book that I want to share since I unexpectedly began a series on the beginning of school for teachers, parents and students.

Because I always want to help, here’s my tip for you!  This book is a keeper and I’m not just saying that!  If you have Middle-schoolers, this is a great book for you!

From tears and fears to cheers—the adult guide for middle-schoolers… Twenty of the most common issues that drive emotional middle-school students to the school counselor’s door are told in story form based on real-life confidential meetings, phone calls, and interventions. Stories include practical life lessons and inspiring solutions for such problems as anger management, eating disorders, peer pressure, bullying, divorcing parents, failure spirals, broken friendships, gossip, sexual harassment, and test and performance anxiety. The stories also provide insight for challenges with parents, teachers, or siblings, and they help students deal with being new at school, death and major change in the family, and friends who are desperate or hurting themselves. Each of the chapters details the process of taking these educationally disruptive issues from emergence to resolution in a format perfect for use by school counselors, teachers, and parents. Additionally, each chapter offers discussion and reflection questions at the end to help promote insight through discussions with individuals, groups, or in classrooms. This full range of school counselor programs, professional resources, and responsibilities is the perfect read for the school counselor wanting new tools and strategies, or for the graduate student wanting an understanding and guide for the career they have chosen. And for the parent or teacher, this book will help them support the social and emotional growth of their middle-school children with an understanding of their emotional needs.

Click here to see the video of her book!

Click here to buy a copy for yourself!

Join Behind the Counselor’s Door on Facebook!

Shine On!

xo

I’m Fine

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The average person tells 4 lies a day

or 1460 a year;

a total of 86,700 by the age of 60. 

And the most common lie is:

I’m fine.

How many of us go about our day telling ourselves and anyone else who asks, “I’m fine,” even when we know we aren’t.  Denying the state of unrest within us doesn’t do anyone else any good, least of all ourselves.

Sure there are those of us who think we are inner powerhouses, who believe innately that we can work through the chaos and if we just put a little more effort into it, we can survive.  We continue to take each hurdle as it comes and keep moving forward, even when our body, mind, heart and soul yearn to rest.  But there’s no rest when we are amidst chaos.  We can’t let someone else down, nor ourselves.  We have to keep on, keeping on, in order to make it through, putting our best foot forward, because we are the responsible ones.  We are the ones whom everyone else is counting on and we just can’t let them down, nor can we face that sorry fact that we need help where we are.

If we were observant, we would face the truth and tell ourselves to reach out and we would know in our hearts that there are people who can and would help us.  Sometimes we do reach out, but if the person to whom we reach out can’t help us or won’t help us, we are doubly determined to just do it alone.  And so goes on that vicious circle of “I’m fine.”

But honestly. we are not alone.  You are not alone, nor am I.

And at times, we are certainly, NOT FINE.

Sure, I could tell you to rest and allow the weight of the world to fall off your shoulders at night so that you could sleep in peace.  You could hang your worries on a branch and give them over to God.  You could pray for solutions and look for signs from above.  You could reach out to friends and family for support or to trained professionals for guidance.  You could hire someone to do what it is you are so determined to do yourself.  It all depends on what is weighing you down and what is not fine.

But will you do that?

It’s a choice to get help when things are chaotic (and even when they aren’t).  It’s a letting go of the control and of the belief that I can do it.  It’s dropping the role that you’ve lead your entire life of being the responsible one and taking on obligations that maybe weren’t really even yours in the first place, but because nobody else stepped up, you did.

There will be those who criticize you if you choose to allow yourself to honestly say, “I’m not fine.”  There will be those who simply don’t understand what’s so hard for you when they look from the outside with their perception into your life.  There are those who will turn their backs and walk away.  Then there will be those who stay, who hold your hand, listen and pick up a shovel to help you get rid of the mess.

Those are the ones I want at my side.  What about you?

Trust in those who hold your hand with a loving heart space.  Allow their kindness, generosity and love to heal you, to help you and to ease the burdens you carry.  Trust in God that He can help you through these tough times.  And for goodness sake, get rid of the I’m fine, except when you know it will fall on deaf ears or when you really mean it.  Trust in I’m not fine, with those whose hearts are open to yours.

So if you’re asking me, “I’m not fine” today, but as Scarlett O’Hara once said, “Tomorrow is another day.”

How are you?

Shine On!

xo

Parental Love

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  “We never know the love of a parent until we become parents ourselves.”
19th Century Minister, Henry Ward Beecher

School has begun here now for a few weeks and everyone is starting to settle in to the new routines of getting up early, having homework and we are happily back into sports.  I always look forward to September as for me, it’s a new beginning.  There’s nothing like crisp fall days that invigorate mind, body and soul.  At least for me ~ how do you feel about the seasons?  Do you have a favorite?  Could it be Fall?

I am happy to say that both of my parents were alive when I had children and as mine have grown, I have been able to appreciate many aspects of my parents that I had not been able to understand while I was growing up.  Perhaps it is a blessing to learn this while I am still a parent and I still have one living.

Parenting isn’t an easy job, but it is a fulfilling one and one that encompasses our entire lives.  I am a Mom first and foremost and it has been the happiest ‘job’ I’ve ever known.  Sure, it is not a 9-5pm job (but then most are not anyway), but it has given me such great joy and wonder and gratitude to parent my children.  What blessings they are in my life!  They bring such love, enthusiasm and learning to me and I hope and pray they feel the same way.

I loved the quote above, so as always, I had to share it with you.  I hope that as you go about your day today, you are inspired to find  gratitude and love when you think about your own parents and your own children (if you have any).  Life is not always easy, but we have the choice to look at the good and raise our faces to the sunshine.  Hug your children and your parents when you can.  Life is short and we only have this precious day to enjoy!

May you have the most beautiful day today and always.

Shine On!

xo