1. I GAVE BIRTH TO MY GREATEST TEACHERS! – Parenting is a journey. In this journey I am provided with great learning opportunities. When I didn’t like what I saw in my children I considered this; they were giving me a gift by reflecting a quality or disowned trait inside myself that could use some loving attention, compassion, self-forgiveness and healing. In other words, my children often reflected my own “shadows” sometimes in exaggerated ways. Many times, I would not recognize it in my own literal behavior and I would see it in more subtle ways inside myself. Take time for self-reflection and for loving the parts inside your own “inner child” today. My children are my mirror my reflection, my projection. If I am open and looking I can learn where my own inner work is.
2. THIS TOO SHALL PASS – So many behaviors I found challenging at times were mostly developmental stages that my children were passing through. When I learned about the stages it was much easier to either accept them, have compassion for them or at times lovingly re-direct them. Learn as much as you can about developmental stages. It will make your parenting days much easier knowing your children are supposed to be doing the things they do.
3. MY CHILDREN WILL GET THEIR NEEDS MET POSITIVELY OR NEGATIVELY – Learning what the needs are and assisting my children in getting them met daily made my days much more peaceful. The needs are to smile (play, fun, humor), to feel powerful, to explore, to feel connection, to feel important, to feel they have authentic attention, to feel they are loved. Most importantly to feel they belong in our family and in their world.
4. RELATIONSHIP AND CONNECTION TRUMP EVERYTHING! – My greatest influence as a parent is in the quality of relationship I have with my children. Cooperation and win-win naturally occur when I create a deep, authentic, connected relationship with them daily. I think about my daily deposits and withdrawals and I often ask myself,” How can I respond and stay connected in this relationship?” Many times I put myself on PAUSE, breathe and ask myself, “What would love do?” Then I think about loving next action steps. I like to remember this…Connection before Logistics!!!
5. HEALTHY COMMUNICATION BEGINS WITH FEELING ACKNOWLEDGERS – Listen because feelings matter! Seek first to understand! Tears are a gift that cleanse the soul! I have learned to connect on a heart level often when communicating with my children. I have learned to acknowledge, affirm, accept, empathize, and have compassion. Feeling Acknowledgers have created a deep, meaningful, communication opportunity. I have learned to remember what it was like for me at their ages and to connect to them by understanding how they might be feeling. I get out of my own way and point of view or what I think is best and just listen with the ears of my heart. When I do this they are able to come up with their own solutions or make peace with reality. I then get to sit back and experience the joy and watch as they become creative problem solvers.
6. A ONE-ON-ONE DATE – can heal, connect, mend, deepen and re-establish my relationship with my children. I have loved every single date with my daughters and I hope to “date” them the rest of my life!
7. ACCEPT WHO YOUR CHILD IS AND WHERE THEY ARE TODAY – Each of my daughters has their own temperament styles, interest, desires, and gifts to bring to the world. I celebrate each of them for uniquely for who they are. They are each successful in the “now” of everyday. This is one of my all-time favorite quotes: “Nothing you become will disappoint me. I have no preconception that I’d like to see you be or do. I have no desire to foresee you, only to discover you. You cannot disappoint me.” Mary Haskel
8. A MESSY ROOM IS NOT WORTH AN OUNCE OF MY ATTENTION – I decided a long time ago that when I went into my child’s room I would GO IN TO SEE HER…NOT HER ROOM. I learned that getting angry at my children for a messy room created power struggles and damaged the relationship. I learned that CHILDREN are messy and TEENS have messy rooms. I kept the relationship and connection at a level where yes we could create moments of tidiness through the use of Empowering Solutions. However, now that they are all at out of the house, their rooms always looks tidy…hmmmmm, kinda miss the mess 🙂 I actually was informed by one of my daughters that I would be surprised how tidy her room is now! I laughed and said, “Of course!” 🙂
9. BE PRESENT – Time flies away! I can’t believe all three daughters have graduated from college! I am so thrilled I created all the rituals and family celebrations!!! The movies in my head are endless of the fun, laughter, silliness, and challenges. Where did the time go?? We still have a lot of fun and I am enjoying them as adults now… and I am grateful for the memories I hold in my heart from when they were little girls. I have learned to enjoy each moment and to cherish my daughters at each age. For each age brings forward its own special gifts! And the gifts continue to unwrap themselves even now!
10. MY TONE, DELIVERY, ATTITUDE, and HOW I SAY THINGS MATTER – It matters how I say things, the words I choose, the tone I choose. I am modeling and teaching my children how to communicate with me and others. I am the role-model. If I want my children to speak to me kindly, with respect, and compassion I must be that for them first. The words and tone I choose when speaking with my children have the power to heal or to hurt, to create distance or to create closeness, to shut down their hearts or to open their hearts.
11. MODELING, MODELING, MODELING – “It’s not that modeling teaches; It’s the only thing that teaches.” as written by Albert Schweitzer. My children are always watching me and they will do what I do, not what I say. Parenting consciously has given me the opportunity to grow as a person. I do not believe it is enough to be a “good” parent. I have learned I want to be an “extraordinary” parent and learn all I can about parenting so I can be a positive role-model in my daughters lives. Do I make mistakes? Of course, and I have learned how to do “re-parative” parenting, learn from my mistakes, say I’m sorry and re-establish, re-connect, and deepen in my relationships with my children.
12. I ALLOW MY CHILDREN TO DO AS MUCH AS THEY CAN AND TO MAKE MISTAKES – I have learned to not to over-do, rescue, over-pamper, manipulate and try to control the outcomes. For in doing so I rob my children of great learning opportunities in life. After all, I really don’t know what their journey is “suppose” to be. I am here to unconditionally love, guide, support, and to be a conscious role-model for ALL behaviors.
13. STAY GROUNDED, CENTERED, AWARE, AND CONNECTED TO YOURSELF – Take good care of yourself so you can take care of others. I can’t give away something I don’t have first. I have learned to take care of myself Mentally, Physically, Emotionally, and Spiritually. When the girls were younger it was challenging to find time in the day to take care of myself. However, I would find small moments throughout the day where I could nurture myself knowing how important it was to re-charge myself.
14. BE A “LIFE-LEARNER” – Continue to be curious knowing “You don’t know, what you don’t know!” I continuously ask myself, “What do I not know about parenting, that I need to know, to take me to the next level?” This simple question has kept me growing as a mom and as a parenting instructor! Every time I learned something new, I would practice it with my children first and then I would have the opportunity to share it in our parenting classes! For example, one of the most exciting moments for me was when I learned about all the brain research a few years ago! I am enthusiastic about the brain research now and how it has supported our parenting program! I am grateful for all the information it provides to me and my family. I use this information every day in my life!
15. MOST IMPORTANTLY, I HAVE LEARNED THAT – “It is only 15 inches from your head to your heart and sometimes, this can be the longest journey of all!”
FROM MY HEART! Linda