Posted by: coachingparents | August 9, 2007

Parenting-It Is Not Too Late


By Sandra Couts

Have you ever wondered what your life like would be had your parents interacted with you in a different way? Have you ever thought that some of your problems are directly connected to how you were raised as a child? Most people have asked themselves these questions. Studies have shown that there is a direct link between the choices we make in our lives and how we were parented. Without a doubt, our parents play a significant and valuable role in our lives. Realizing the impact parenting has on each of us, gives us an opportunity to understand ourselves as well as to create healthy interactions with others.

The purpose of this article is to look at the complexity of what it means to parent and be parented while demystifying the idea that parents are infallible. The purpose is to honor the significant role that parents play in our lives while understanding that ultimately it is up to us to choose how we want to live our lives.

The fact that we have all been parented by someone establishes a commonality between us. This someone could be an adoptive parent, a grandparent, a relative, a neighbor, a step parent, staff at an orphanage, our biological parents, or a friend of the family. Parents pass on their various beliefs and perspectives, influencing who we become and what we do with our lives. Regardless of what our parents may believe or think, the other commonality between us is that we want to be loved, accepted and recognized, especially in regards to our parents.

Defining what it means to parent gives you an opportunity to realize the important role that all people play in parenting children. Whether you have children or are seeing parenting from the eyes of a son or daughter, you can probably grasp how your parents have influenced your life. Parents are people-people are not perfect. Yet many parents live under a strong pressure to be perfect. At the same time, children live under a heavy pressure to be ‘good and perfect ‘, in order to feel loved and accepted.

Realizing the impact that parenting has on our lives allows us to make positive changes towards healthy interactions. Awareness is the first step in the cycle of understanding and change. The following information brings awareness of what it means to parent and be parented. The bulleted replies come from a handful of people, some who have children and some who do not.

The first question is: What does it mean to parent?
•To parent is to love and understand children. Many people equate parenting to being an authority figure, someone who knows what is best for their children no matter what. Children get lost in the equation, treated as if others always know what is best for them.
•To parent is to give children nurturing, support and unconditional love.
•A parent is someone who expresses his or her love for children through physical touch and verbal acknowledgment.
•With kindness and compassion, a parent supports you in being who you are.
•A parent teaches you how to express your feelings in a healthy way through modeling the expression of his or her feelings.
•To parent is to provide a safe and loving environment where another human being can learn how to effectively live on this planet.
•To parent is to take the time and energy to be fully present with children, giving them direction, guidance and support according to their potential, their individual challenges and their physical, emotional and spiritual needs and desires.
•To parent is to be willing to find healthy ways of interacting and engaging in one of the most complex relationships on the earth.
The second question is: What are two significant qualities that contribute to being a loving parent?
•Patience and understanding
•Acceptance and allowing a child to be fully who she or he is
•Nurturing and support
•Unconditional love and true acceptance of a child’s strengths and their challenges
•Caring and nurturance
•Respect and kindness
•Compassion and honesty
•Acceptance and fun
•Love and healthy boundaries

It is not too late to understand that in their humanness, our parents guided and taught us according to their understanding of what it means to be a parent-sometimes limited by how they were parented. With this understanding, we can effect change in our lives. It is not too late to learn from the mistakes of our parents or to learn how to parent ourselves as adults. Most of all, it is not too late to learn new and different ways to love, nurture, accept and parent children and ourselves.

The following books can assist you in connecting with the parent within you as well as learning how to parent in new ways.

•Nurture Your Child’s Gift: Inspired Parenting by Dr. Caron Goode
•Connection Parenting: Parenting Through Connection Instead of Coercion, Through Love Instead of Fear by Pam Leo
•Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason by Alfie Kohn

Sandra Couts MSN, RN, CNS is an Intuitive Counselor, Certified Full Wave Breathing Facilitator, Author, and a Certified Parent Coach. For more information about her services or to make an appointment for a phone session call her toll free at 1-866-501-2555.

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