Self Improvement Ideas for Parenting
Were you one of those people who had a surefire plan for raising well-mannered, respectful, intelligent, pleasant children? And are you now having the shock of your life as you realize that parenting is indeed the worlds most difficult job and that mistakes are unavoidable? If so, you are absolutely not alone.
Theres nothing like parenting to snap you into the realization of your imperfections. Even if you won countless trophies, plaques, and symbols of excellence in other parts of your life, youre bound to be taken aback by the job of raising another human being.
In the pre-parenting days, its easy to turn up your nose at the obviously dysfunctional parents of out-of-control children. If the children arent living up to societys expectations, the parents must be doing a horrible job. Right? This thought process lies behind the disappointment that that so many people feel when they actually become parents. They assumed that this job was like any otheryou simply follow the rules and guidelines that result in success. If you get confused, you pick up a book written by some expert and everything will fall into place. But then a reality check shows up in the form of a little bundle of joy.
Although there is nothing that I, or anyone, can say to make your parenting experience perfect, these self improvement ideas for parents will help you to find joy in the midst of imperfection:
Work on your own issues
If you will see it as such, every parenting challenge helps you to become more aware of your own opportunities for self improvement. Notice your responses as things come up and ask yourself why you feel the way that you do about each circumstance. If you feel like smacking your child when they talk back, consider that you may have issues with unresolved anger. Or maybe you just have a really deep need to be heard or understood. If you feel disappointed when your child gets average grades, consider that you may not have properly dealt with being put down or made to feel inadequate in your past. Or maybe you are unfairly tying worthiness to educational accomplishment. Do you want to be able to say that your child is an A student to boost your own self worth?
Developing a great relationship with your children often hinges on your willingness to look within yourself for answers. If you will work on you, you will naturally be the very best parent that you can be for your child.
Give yourself a break
Despite what society may lead us to think, it is not a parents job to mold a child into perfection. In fact, this is impossible. Every child is an individual who will have different needs, desires, strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies; therefore, a joyful life for them is not likely to be the same as whatever youve planned according to your own individuality. Your efforts are better spent getting to know your children as individuals and helping them to create their own plan for living in joy. The alternative is you feeling miserable as you beat yourself up about everything that does not go as planned; and that negative vibration will be picked up by your children.
Make the most of mistakes
You can only do your best to love, respect, and teach your child. The rest is up to them. Every single one of us, children and adults alike, is perfectly imperfect. Our mistakes are necessary for personal growth and development, thus they are of extreme value to us. If you do something that you regret, apologize and use it as an opportunity to teach your child that we all make mistakes and there is no shame in saying Im sorry. If your child does something that you dont understand or approve of, open the door of communication so that you may better relate to one another. If someone implies that you are not a great parent, realize that their focus on something that they dont like about you is evidence that they too could use some self improvement information.
Soften your expectations
Expectations can wreak havoc on any relationship, including the one between parent and child. If you can bring yourself to accept that your child has a tough job ahead of him, you may find that its easier to let go of expectations. Our freedom-loving souls are born into human shells in an environment where freedom isnt completely welcome. It cant be easy having your spirit somewhat broken so that you fit into society and gain acceptance. But that is basically what happens.
Coming into this society full of rules and requirements means giving up what comes natural (impulses) in order to fit in and make everyone else comfortable. Some people respond better to this than others as they get older, but it is difficult for everyone during early childhood. When you see a little child throw a temper tantrum as he is being forced into compliance with the world around him, realize that you would be equally upset if being retrained against what feels right to you. With that in mind, maybe it will be easier to offer a little patience.
Dont require children to make you look (or feel) good
So many parents are guilty of being overly concerned with the opinions of others. They hold their children responsible for making them look goodor at least not making them look bad. If you find yourself worrying that it is a reflection on you when your child falls behind in school or makes a stupid mistake, you should reevaluate your priorities.
Your preoccupation with the thoughts of others, rather than your childs imperfection, is the large issue that needs to be dealt with. Find ways to repair your self-esteem, fully accept yourself, and lose the need for validation from others. Your top priority should be your joy and the joy of your child. You cant teach your children about rising above peer pressure and the desire to please others, when you yourself are unknowingly a slave to these things.
Teach children to acknowledge their Spiritual Self
Understand that each child has their own Inner Guidance system. I dont believe that we come here as empty shells; I believe that our souls are alive and well within us. If you can appreciate your child as a person who has their own individual reasons for coming to this Earth, it may help you to sustain a healthy relationship with them as they become pre-teens and teenagers.
If you will encourage your children to listen to their Higher Self, they will have an advantage over most people in the world. We all have our Inner Guidance there calling us towards the life that is meant for us, but it is hard to benefit from this when you are unaware of its existence and completely focused on what lies outside of the self.
Allow them to think
It is easy to expect children to simply do what we think is right, but this often causes a great deal of misunderstanding. I have found that it is much easier to guide rather than rule. When you share information about the things that you have learned in life, while resisting the temptation to tell the child exactly what to do with that information, it is usually received in a better way.
This does not mean that you shouldnt have any rules and boundaries in your household. As a parent, you will need to set some limitations. However, it is all about approach. When you teach a child to think instead of teaching them what to think, you allow them to continue feeling the sense of freedom that all human beings crave. And when they dont see you as the enemy who wants to take away their freedom, they are more likely to listen than to rebel.
If you were raised under strict rule, this may sound a little scary. It may trigger deep seated fears within you. Maybe youre afraid that your child will develop ideas that are radically different from your own. This is definitely a possibility; however, that is not always a bad thing. Although your ego wants to tell you differently, there is value in accepting that what is right for you is not necessarily what is right for everyone.