From Dr. Jane's Notebook
Nobody likes to be blamed. Criticism is horrible, and no.... I'm not overly sensitive!
When I became a parent, I learned that the scope of things I could be blamed for, now
extended to my children. If they weren't perfect, it was obviously my fault. I think I'm
not alone in this "sea of guilt." Most parents I know feel those twinges of
guilt from "imperfection", whether it be their own or through their extended
family guilt-line. What's a parent to do? Here are a few thoughts on the matter.
- Consider your child as a unique individual. We often get in trouble when we compare our
children to others. All goes well when our child outshines their peers, but if they come
up short, we feel there is something wrong with our offspring. Go easy on yourself and
your child. Value their uniqueness!
- Identify the value system you are using for your reference. Whose parenting guidelines
are you using? Are your feelings based on general comments by your parents, your
neighbors, the latest self-help parenting guide? Or are you carefully considering your own
values about child-rearing? It may be far less confusing to think for yourself about your
strategies for raising your child.
- Talk to your child about the meaning of their actions. Children do not always know the
"meaning" of their actions. Their intentions may be very different from their
behaviors. It is important to understanding the logic behind their actions. Then you can
explain your interpretation of things and achieve a "meeting of the minds".
- Understand that you are part of the problem, and you must be part of the solution. Our
children are often reacting to something in their family lives. This is not a problem...
it is an opportunity. We may hold the key to "fixing" our childrem through very
simple changes in the way we behave or solve problems.
- Work Toward Team Improvement and Team Success! Children learn to solve problems in the
same way as their parents. Tactics range from temper tantrums to talking. When we are
rational and empathetic, we have a better chance of reaching an understanding. If we
insist on winning the battle through "parental power tactics", we may lose the
war of communication.
Self-esteem is a family affair. Our children usually have the same amount of
self-esteem as we do! If we have been bullied and shamed in our lives and raise our
children in the same way, they will lack self-esteem and pass it on to their children. If
however, we respect ourselves and our kids... give them the benefit of the doubt and lots
of supportive guidance... we may give birth to a new tradition of self-esteem and
tolerance. After all, our children can be our best friends for life. And that's perfect!
ęCopyright, 1991, 1995, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.
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Last Updated October 17, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon,