Tag Archives: Good enough parents

LIVE YOUR MISSION, NOT YOUR CHILD’S

A quick blog post providing parents with five tips about allowing children to follow their dreams, their missions, while parents pursue theirs.

Five parenting tips about freeing children to follow their mission from Katherine Gordy Levine

parenting advice

The poster says enough to start you thinking.  When you are clear about your mission as a parent, and what you hope for each child, you can better focus on your mission and free your child to pursue his or hers.

For more about missions consider buying my newest eBook, Know Your Mission So You Can Reach Your Goals.  It is available on Amazon and can be downloaded to your computer to read.  I think it is the most important book I have written and costs less than a Wendy’s Combo and is better for body and soul.

Care and share and thank you.

Katherine

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VIDEO GAMES? YES!

Spend family time this weekend learning to play your child’s favorite video game or watch their favorite TV show or movie with them. With them is the key word and boosts not just their IQ, but their EQ or Emotional Fitness. 

Here is a Forbes article discussing research into this topic.  http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/91-percent-of-kids-play-video-games-says-study/ It’s worth reading, but the key point remains: with  makes the difference between wasting time and what the experts call teachable moments. As the article points out, this goes for all media.

Parenting tips for using the media for teachable moments.

Tip one:  Remember age and stage.  With kids who are not reading yet, particularly with toddlers and preschoolers, you basically want to teach right from wrong behavior.  As I have said elsewhere, short and sweet does the trick.

Think kind, cruel or mean, safe or dangerous. I would also suggest Make Believe, Not Real, and Against the Law. Don’t get hung up if the little ones do not understand the words or the bigger picture.  In time they will and you are planting important seeds.

 As children age ask them to label the behavior.

With teens, ask them to explain the labels they give and start teaching critical thinking.  You do that by pointing out complications as well as asking for the downside or opposite points of view.

Tip Two: Use video games to teach what some call life skills and what I call Emotional Fitness. How? Cheer the winning points, offer some “That’s Life” sympathy when frustration mounts, and always show how you handle failure as well as getting frustrated.

Tip Three: When a game stops being fun, stop playing and teach that games must be fun or else put a side.  Winning is not everything.

PARENTING ADVICE ABOUT STAYING EMOTIONALLY FIT

Break time for most of us comes on weekends. However, whenever it comes, make certain you plan an extended laugh and play time with your friends and family, more me-time than usual, and a bit of time quiet time to strengthen your connection with higher thoughts about what matters

As always remember what matters, be grateful, and practice kindness by sharing and caring, For all you do to make the world better, thank you; you are making an important difference.

Katherine

DISCLAIMER: Although built upon evidenced based practices, there is no guarantee my advice is the right advice for you and your family. Experiment, try my tips; if they are not useful to you try another parent adviser. You are the expert on you and your child; the rest of us experts on many different things.

PARENT BASHING

I just read four consecutive articles on Psychology Today, all of them bashing mothers. I will not link you to those articles. I trashed them. Parents and therapists need to stop this tirade of parent bashing and in this blog post I’ll explain why and discuss how you can be fair to yourself as a parent.

A picture about the joys of parent bashing.

 Image found on Pastordk’s blogspot. 

THOUGHTS ABOUT PARENT BASHING

First a quote by Augusten Burroughs, American author of Running With Scissors, a quote that most psychologists and parenting gurus would do well to think about.  Then a few thoughts and some advice.

If you have one parent who loves you, even if they can’t buy you clothes, they’re so poor and they make all kinds of mistakes and maybe sometimes they even give you awful advice, but never for one moment do you doubt their love for you–if you have this, you have incredibly good fortune.

If you have two parents who love you? You have won life’s Lotto.

If you do not have parents, or if the parents you have are so broken and so, frankly, terrible that they are no improvement over nothing, this is fine.

It’s not ideal because it’s harder without adults who love you more than they love themselves. But harder is just harder, that’s all.

This is a reality based quote, not an ‘awfulizing’ quote. The psychologist Albert Ellis coined the word: ‘awfulizing’.  You awfulize when you turn the proverbial molehill into a mountain; you make a broken fingernail into an amputated arm; or parental mistakes into life long rants.  I am of the sad belief far too many therapists do just that when listening to their patients rants about parents.

Therapists who awfulize parental mistakes  probably do so  because most were wounded themselves as children and have not moved beyond those hurts that all parents inflict on children. Instead of moving on, these keep parental behavior in the floodlight of therapy practice.

Oscar Wilde noted, “Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.”

Theodore .Reik, Author of Listening With the Third Ear, believed until a person forgives their parents AND hopes their parents forgive them, no matter what the person’s age, they remain a child.

So blaming, bashing therapists and parenting gurus, please grow up.

I personally believe forgiving and hoping you will be forgiven is usually accomplished when our dreams of being the kind of parents we wanted to be crash and shatter. When is that?  When the reality based parts of our brain  realize we are making many of the same mistakes our parents made.

PARENTING ADVICE ABOUT PARENT BASHING

Check reality:  Some parents need bashing, probably to be arrested, and then  convicted of their crimes. Read the book A Boy Called It for an example.

If you have sex with your children, beat them so they break and bruise, you are engaging in criminal behavior. Criminal behavior needs stopping.

If you are continuously emotionally bruising and battering a child, while that is easily proved to be criminal behavior,  it should be bashed and stopped.  The child protective  laws calls such behavior emotional abuse.

Now here is a problem related to emotional bruising. We all do it. In one way or another we all hurt our children and hurt them badly.

Here is another quote, this one by John Steinbeck from his book East of Eden, “When a child first catches adults out — when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not always have divine intelligence, that their judgments are not always wise, their thinking true, their sentences just — his world falls into panic desolation. The gods are fallen and all safety gone. And there is one sure thing about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter or sink deeply into green muck. It is a tedious job to build them up again; they never quite shine. And the child’s world is never quite whole again. It is an aching kind of growing.”

Sadly, most children, even those with the best of parents, eventually deal with the fallen gods that were once their parents – life as it is, not as we wish it to be.

Check your flaws: Admit you fail to always be a good or good-enough parent. Think of these common examples:

  • Children victimized by adult temper tantrums.  I hurt my children with my temper.
  • Children witnessing your inappropriately expressed anger toward others. Emotionally bruising.
  • Children made pawns in divorce actions or custody cases.
  • Children living parent’s failed dreams. Think of Toddlers and Tiaras.
  • Children hurt or bruised in a hundred smaller ways.

Check the balance: We all fail to be good enough all the time.  The difference between good enough and not good enough parenting in terms of the above list of flaws lies in two things

First: The balance between good parenting and not good enough parenting. My temper tantrums were flaws, and acts of emotional abuse.

Second: Can and do you apologize? The ability to say you were wrong and to apologize turns parental flaws into human flaws and teaches important life lessons.

My temper tantrums echoed my mother’s.And believe me when I realized I was behaving as she had, I sunk into a pit of shame. However, I was able to own up to how wrong those tantrums were and to apologize to my children; and to try to do better. I tried and sometimes failed. My mother never apologized. My father never told me her tantrums were not my fault. It took therapy to get me to understand that.

Have faith: When we realize we fail as parents, it is painful.  It helped me to realize how few parental mistakes are fatal, how strong children are, and how most parents are  good enough parents.

Forgive yourself for being human.

Hug, love, laugh and play lots with your children, young and old.

As always, share and care and thank you for doing so.

Katherine

TWO DISCLAIMERS

The first:  Although built upon evidenced based practices, there is no guarantee my advice is the right advice for you and your family. Experiment, try my tips; if they are not useful to you try another parent adviser. You are the expert on you and your child; the rest of us experts on many different things.

The second: I have dysgraphia, a learning disability that peppers my writing with mis-spelling and punctuation errors. All my books are professionally edited. Not so my blog posts. Although I use all the grammar and spelling checks, mistakes slip by. If they bother you, seek another source of support for life’s less savory moments.   Life is too short to let problems you can avoid annoy or stress you.

COSBY POKES FUN AT PARENTS

Are you good enough parent?  Does this Cosby quote make you laugh?

Bill Cosby comment: No matter how calming you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior.

This gave me a chuckle and something to think about.  If you had a little laugh then you are a good-enough parent.

Parenting advice

Tip one: Think of all behavior as being always normal, yours, your child’s, your enemy’s. All behavior is normal when enough is known about the context and the person’s past.

Tip two: Normal does not mean acceptable. Understanding does not mean excusing cruel behaviors. Bullies, tyrants, despots need to have cruel behaviors condemned and stopped.

Tip three: Reasonable punishments are not abuse when dealing with cruel behaviors.

Tip four: Not punishing a child’s cruel behavior is neglect and poses a threat to peace on earth.

Tip five: Some people need locking up for the protection of other people.

STAY STRONG

Relationships pose some of life’s more difficult struggles.  Keep a sense of humor helps.  So does understanding.  At the same time, peace on earth can only come about if some behaviors, whether in a child, an adult, or a culture, are stopped.

A SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION

My 76th birthday arrives March 21st.  To celebrate my birthday,  I am having a party on Facebook and the favors for those attending is an unofficial Emotional Fitness Training® Course.

I am also  celebrating the launch of my newest book ‘Twelve Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises to Tame Mad, Bad, and Sad Feelings.” If you are a Facebook friend save the date and join me there.  For now, go to the Emotional Fitness Facebook Page and give it a Like.

How will the party go? Every hour on the hour from 9:00 am USA Mountain Time to 10:00 pm  I will post something on my Emotional Fitness Training Facebook Page.  What will I post each time?  Something related to one of the 12 Daily  Emotional Fitness Exercises: a video, an inspiring  song or poem,  or stories showing how some practice emotional fitness. 

Throughout the day, I will answer any questions you have about Emotional Fitness Training®.

I developed Emotional Fitness Training® during my years as a foster parent and a therapist; however, every age and stage brings with it the need to stay strong. I practice what I preach now more than ever. I tell myself a thousand times a day, stay strong, give lots of love, be grateful, practice kindness, live now, give and seek forgiveness, and always hope  the blessing of the forces beyond our control are with you and those you love.

Those of you reading this and following me are a big part of what helps me stay emotionally strong. You are all members of what I call my Added Care Team.  I am grateful for all you do. Thank you.

Katherine