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Being a Positive Parent. The Top 10 Questions to Ask Yourself.
1. WHAT TYPE OF PARENT ARE YOU CURRENTLY? Rate yourself. If you could score yourself on a 1-10 basis, one being the worst and ten being the best, where would you put yourself and why? After having over fifty parents answer this question, I have found the most common answer to be anywhere from a five or less. As parents, we tend to think we are never doing enough. We think we're ok but could always do better. We remember everything we did wrong. I just yelled at my daughter, I wasn't fully listening, I couldn't get off of work to see her school play. We never think of the good we did.
2. WHAT TYPE OF PARENT DO YOU WANT TO BE? What personality traits do you need to work on as a parent? Think of all the traits you would like to portray to your children. Think of the person you would want to be that would make you a great role model. Remember, most traits are learned. This means you can learn any new traits you think your missing (patience, listening skills, empathy, etc). This also means you can teach your kids some really great personality traits which will help guide them through life is a positive way such as respect for yourself and others, kindness, gratitude, helping others, etc.
3. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR CHILD? For example: my child has made me see the joy in life. I watch her innocence (not knowing the world has a dark side), the laughter of just enjoying the flowers, the sky, and ice cream—living in the moment. I also learned from my daughter that we are born happy. We are born to love life. This gives me the motivation to find that joy in my own life and share it with everyone around me. Think of the influence your kids have on you?
4. WHAT DOES MY CHILD NEED FROM ME? Don't think about just what you want to give or think she needs? Ask your child what her interests, likes, dislikes are? Find out what your child really needs and wants? Make sure you really listen to your child. Don't tune out thinking you know what's best for your child all the time. Don't get me wrong—as a parent, your always looking out for your child and protecting them. But you need to listen to them and follow their interests to help them grow and become their own person.
5. DO YOU FIND YOURSELF "KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES"? This typical statement that we hear all the time holds a lot of truth to it. Do you find yourself comparing yourself to other parents or trying to compete with other parents? If you do, stop immediately. This will only cause failure for both you and your child. Be yourself—be the parent you want to be. Let your child grow and develop in its own pace. Every one grows, develops and learns differently—this is ok. Don't push your child to be someplace they are not. Encourage but don't push!
6. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SAID SOMETHING POSITIVE TO YOURSELF OR YOUR SPOUSE ABOUT YOUR PARENTING TECHNIQUES? If you haven't found something good you have done—you're not looking hard enough. We are learning how to be parents through trial and error. We have help and support but there is no degree on parenting. You have done a lot of good already. Think about and praise what you have done right. Your children need to see you praise yourself. They need to see you have a good sense of self.
7. WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR YOUR CHILDREN? Have you set realistic expectations for them? Write a list of your expectations. Make sure they are realistic - don't set your child and yourself up for failure.
8. WRITE A JOB DESCRIPTION FOR YOURSELF. I actually have written a job description for a mom but you can do the same for a dad. (Mine is printed, left.) You can also rewrite your job description if it has changed. Maybe, you have become a single parent or you went from a stay at home mom to a working mom. Your job descriptions as a parent can change at any time. Be prepared. Write your description.
9. WHO ARE YOU OUTSIDE OF BEING A PARENT? You're a parent—that's great must not only should you have a sense of personal accomplishment but also have a sense of professional development. You should have outside interests, hobbies and friends. This will show you as a well-rounded person that your children can admire. Having outsides interests and friends will also make you happier. A happy parent = happy children. To be a good parent, you must first be a happy individual.
10. DO YOU HAVE A SUPPORT NETWORK? Always make sure as a parent that you have a strong support team. Don't be afraid to ask for help. This was extremely hard for me. I always thought I could handle everything. (I had some control issues.) But then you realize this is impossible once you have kids. I remember, the day my babysitter got the stomach flu, my husband was at work already and I had an important meeting at work I couldn't miss. The obvious answer/solution: ask for help. It was hard, but I did it, and it worked. Think of a few people that you could turn to in an emergency situation or just for when you need a break. It might be family or friends— just have those people's numbers close by. Parenting has a lot of spontaneous moments you want to be prepared.
As an expert in her fields of therapy, Lang has been featured in the Daily Record, Family Beautiful Magazine, Health & Beauty NJ, Family and Working Mother Magazine, seen on NJ 12 TV and the national television program "Fox & Friends". She has also participated in a reality based Internet show, ourprisoner.com, hosted Generation X-tinet and appeared in various educational videos. In addition Lang writes a bi-weekly column In the Health section of Health & Beauty NJ magazine and shares her expertise on lifestyle issues on The WTBQ Expat Show.
Diane is the author of "Baby Steps: the Path from Motherhood to Career" & "Creating Balance & Finding Happiness".
Please visit Diane's website at www.dlcounseling.com
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