Friday, March 13, 2015
Four Steps for Becoming a Happier Parent (and Teacher)
Many parents are not happy, just look around you at the grocery store or at the playground. You may even have noticed parents in your own extended family, snapping at their children or speaking to them in a demanding tone. And many may have good reason to act this way, with heavier demands from their jobs, difficulty paying bills, or additional pressures taking care of other family members.
Unhappy parents end up raising unhappy children, so there is an impact to others from your own unhappiness. If you feel that you could use a HAPPINESS TUNEUP as a parent, here are 4 things you can begin doing immediately to bring on a more positive change.
STOP CONTROLLING THE OUTCOME. It can become too easy to over extend your reach
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. When was the last time you went to a movie by yourself in the middle of the afternoon, just because? Or how long ago did you buy yourself a brand new set of sheets for your bed? In my parenting class, I sometimes offer my parents a handout that lists 100 nontraditional ways of taking care of yourself. Author Cheryl Richardson often writes about the ART OF SELF-CARE and how we sometimes avoid doing it because it would make someone else unhappy.
LISTEN MORE THAN SPEAK. One of the most powerful methods for living a more peaceful life and creating stronger relationships is to speak less and listen more. Let’s face it; unhappy parents talk too much. They are too quick to answer their children’s questions, tell loved ones what to do, and bark orders to get things done quickly or efficiently. When one takes the time to pause before responding, magic happens: we actually get to hear what the other person says, the other person feels loved and heard, and the energy in the space at that moment subsides.
DON’T TAKE ON SOMEONE ELSE’S BURDENS. Every problem that arises has one owner. When a problem appears, ask yourself, “Who REALLY owns this problem?” If your child owns it, be ready to listen and help them problem solve. If you own the problem, be ready to act. We were created to solve our own problems. Taking on someone else’s problem overburdens us and weakens them.
Bill Corbett has a degree in clinical psychology and is the author of the award winning book “Love, Limits, & Lessons: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Cooperative Kids,” in English and in Spanish. He is a professional speaker and trainer, and will deliver the keynote at a national conference in Holland in September 2015. Bill is happily married with three grown children, three grandchildren, and three step children and resides in Enfield, CT. You can visit his Web site www.CooperativeKids.com for further information and parenting advice.