In order to help you create healthy family dynamics, I am going to ask you to play a little game with me for just a moment.
What happens when you try to fit a square peg into a round hole? You can push and twist and turn and shove and all you will get is resistance. Sure, you might wear down the corners a bit from trying to force the square shape to conform to the round opening but the reality is that it is never never going to fit properly.
You have tried your hardest, given it your all and now you are left feeling frustrated and anxious. And in the end you have most likely damaged the peg and the hole from attempting to make them one. Although you see the beauty of the square peg by itself with its unique shape and size and many possible uses and recognize the value of the round hole offering equally important aspects, you have decided, for whatever reason, that they should be intertwined and become one unit in the same.
Your frustration brings you to the point of throwing your hands in the air, feeling defeated and worn out, wanting nothing more than to walk away…but your heart won’t let you…
Now, using the example described, let's apply this same concept to how we raise our children. Let’s place You in this scenario as the round hole and Your Child as the square peg.
When you think about the challenges and struggles of raising children most often the conflicts appear when the child (square peg) has a different perception than the parents (round hole) and the parents insist their perception be the same. Throughout past generations this has been the approach and the criteria of parenting.
- IF your child obeys-does what he is told-he is considered a “good” kid.
- IF he has his own ideas and perceptions, he is considered defiant and uncooperative.
The parenting paradigm of our parent's generation revolved around making children succumb (trying to force the square peg into the round hole) to the ways of the parents. However, many parents in our generation disagree with this parenting philosophy. But, as the saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding” so let’s look at the effectiveness of the past generation's parenting philosophy…
How do we do that?
We begin by looking at the results of being raised by this parenting approach, that's you and me! A look at the status of today’s adults and their level of success in the main areas of life…financial, relationships and personal fulfillment are a good indicator.
Financial-Our country is influenced by greedy corporations that have succeeded in gaining control over the bulk of the monetary resources (about 1% controls 90% of the wealth) while the rest of the country struggles and suffers and sacrifices sometimes even with things as basic as their health. Millions and millions of people are working at less than fulfilling jobs simply to survive… feeling trapped and overwhelmed to pay their monthly bills.
Relationships-At last glance statistics showed that 2 out of every 3 marriages end in divorce. And that only addresses those that even get married. For the rest, living with whoever the current “mate” is considered acceptable. Where two people once dated to establish a relationship in order to determine their level of compatibility, they now simply live together and if it doesn’t suit them after awhile no harm no foul…just pack up and move on. The sense of deep lasting commitment is rare.
Personal fulfillment-Have you seen the shelves at the bookstores lately? The self-help industry is BOOMING! Books to help uncover, discover, examine and heal almost every area of our emotional life is available to the point of creating a billion dollar business in the last few years alone. Apparently happiness and joy are not the prevalent emotions.
This all tells me that the process by which our generation was raised by did not produce the results our parents intended.
Like it or not, we are all a product of our childhood. Right or wrong, positive or negative we are geared to pass on what we learned from how we were raised to our children unless we consciously choose to approach parenting differently.
The following five suggestions are designed to alter the parenting paradigm that many of today's parents inherited from their parents. The goal is to apply these suggestions in order to produce the results we desire…raising children who are confident, courageous, clear about their worth and approach life with a strong sense of personal responsibility. In doing so, empowering them to create a life that is successful in all areas bringing them the true joy and happiness that all parents want for their children. AND creating healthy family dynamics along the way!
- 1. Don’t Tell…Ask!
When you speak to your child ask them for their help, ideas or opinions rather than telling them what you believe they should think or do. Incorporate the same respect in your choice of words, tone and manner that you wish to receive from them.
- 2. Accept choices that are different than what you would choose!
Children need to be able to choose based on their own preferences. You may like to read sitting in a chair but your child might prefer lying on the floor! You might really enjoy a meat and potato diet but your child might feel better eating salads.
- 3. Offer options rather than orders!
When your child faces a challenge offer options and guidance to help him choose what feels right to him rather than ordering him to do what you think is best.
- 4. Honor differences!
When differences between you and your child are established, honor those differences. Be careful not to negate his preferences. It is through the process of establishing who we are and being allowed to be who we are that builds self-esteem.
- 5. Celebrate uniqueness!
We are all unique individuals and like to be respected as such. Show interest and enjoyment in the unique qualities in your child. Being loved unconditionally is the single greatest gift a parent can give to a child.
Our children are not meant to be forced into living their lives according to the ideas and thoughts and beliefs of anyone's other than their own…not even their parents. When parents impose their ways upon their children, denying them their right to be themselves, not only will the child be impacted negatively, but so will the relationship between the parent and child.
Implementing these five tips comes down to choice…one that only you can make. Make the decision today to change how you relate to your children and create healthy family dynamics. The improvements in the dynamics and direction of your relationship and family environment will follow.
The Missing Secret to Parenting
Skills, tools, insights and strategies to
BE the Best Parent YOU Can Be
Denny Hagel is a child advocate and parenting coach, devoting over 25 years to the success and well being of all children. She is the published author of over 150 articles on parenting, many of which have attracted international attention in over 24 countries.
Denny was blessed with forward thinking parents who raised her with an understanding of her value as an individual, her innate power to choose by way of her thoughts, ideas, opinions and beliefs, thus, instilling in her a strong sense of personal responsibility for what happens in our lives
She is the founder of Awakened Parenting LLC, a company dedicated to helping parents release parenting paradigms of the past and consciously choose to raise their children to approach life with a positive mindset and strong sense of self. It is Denny’s passion to combine what she learned through her formal education in early childhood education and psychology and what her parents instilled in her and pass this on to all parents.
Denny has created the discussion group "Awakened Parenting Discussion Forum" on Face Book which now has nearly 600 members. She does on line coaching with parents and teachers who consult her on a regular basis. Denny collaborates with counselors, authors, coaches and others working in the parent coaching field. Denny Hagel is the author of the newly published "The Missing Secret to Parenting", "The C.P.R. Program for Parents & Teens: Conflict Prevention/Resolution Formula", "Mini-Me Syndrome" and two free e-booklets “Parenting Using the Law of Attraction” and “Becoming an Awakened Parent".