The Operating Manual for the Self tm
Parenting for the 21st Century
What do children need to learn from their parents to succeed?
1. Courage: the ability to identify what our needs and desires are and to seek to fulfill them.
2. Responsibility: the ability and willingness to look at our actions and see the consequences of those actions. If we are getting what we want, we can then continue what we are doing. If we do not like what we are getting, we must change our approach, which takes courage.
3. Cooperation: the ability to understand what other people need and to work with them to enable everyone to succeed.
4. Self esteem: a form of healthy self love. We feel self esteem when we behave according to the standards we set for ourselves. Self esteem is necessary to live a happy and healthy life.
How do parents teach these qualities.
1. We love our child. We show our love with hugs and kisses, with loving words, with actions that say, “I value you as a person”. We give to our children and take care of them. This instills self love which naturally gives rise to courage, responsibility, cooperation and self esteem.
2. We discipline our child. To discipline is to teach. We discipline with ‘natural’ and ‘logical’ consequences. Consequences are what follows from our child’s behavior. Natural consequences occur when behavior automatically brings about unwanted results. The parent does not have to do anything. Logical consequences (formerly called punishment) are created by the parent to show their child that their behavior is unwanted. An example is taking away a toy that a child is abusing.
3. We encourage our child. This is done by showing confidence, by building on strengths, by valuing our child and by stimulating independence. We have expectations that are appropriate for our child’s age.
4. We love ourselves. We know that as parents we will make mistakes. We forgive ourselves and learn. We love ourselves to set an example for our children so that they can learn to love themselves. From self love comes the ability to love others and have satisfying relationships.
I hope this information has given you some ‘food for thought’. Being a parent is demanding and frustrating, challenging and exhilarating, satisfying and rewarding.
Please contact me if you have questions or comments. Professional help is useful if a child or parent seems stuck, when common sense solutions to problems do not seem to be working.