Parents want the best for their children and are often confused by so many varying approaches to rearing – in particular, limit setting, investment of time and energy, diet and nutrition, sleep and the list goes on. New parents ask: “Is there a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to do it all?” The answer to THAT questions is: “Yes, there is a right and wrong . . .” The issue, however, is not “right” or “wrong” per say – but rather, “How can I determine what is best for MY child, to help facilitate fulfillment of his/her potential/ highest good?”
Learning to Ask the Correct Questions is KEY
It helps to keep in mind what your goals are. If you have a secret desire to create a caretaker for yourself in your old age, then you might choose parenting techniques that instill fear, shame and guilt. The brutal truth regarding this approach is as follows: Unless your child grows into an adult lucky enough to find a well educated mental health provider, his/her life will be filled with years of frustration, anger and resentment. So, unless you are interested in creating a societal misfit emotionally incapable of investing in a mutual loving relationship with another human, consider dissolving the fear, shame and guilt approach at its source. The source may be YOU.
Am I able to give the best of myself to my child? Once we become parents, old wounds from childhood are suddenly ripped open. We often make conscious decisions to never follow the poor examples set, and to only follow the good ones . . . and yet, unless we are really resolved, we are destined to not only repeat the old poor parenting patterns to which we were exposed, but we invent new dysfunctional patterns. Click here for recommendations about how to break old toxic patterns.
How can I avoid robbing my child of an adulthood filled with balance and internal peace? Consider recognizing that your little bundle of miracles came into this world to experience joy and channel positive energy – as did you. Your child deserves unconditional love, and the best you have to offer. If you are able to channel positive energy, peace and comfort, you might be healed enough to be able to give the best of what you have to your child. However, if you (&/or your parenting partner) struggle with addiction, phobias, fear, shame, guilt, anxiety, or even rage, try to embrace the truth that these don’t define the true spirit. These flag that the person was damaged as a child and deserves to be healed. You might find this resource helpful: click here. For additional resources, click here.
Ready to embark upon a healthy parenting adventure
How can I help my toddler become an independent thinking adult? Once you are healed enough to offer your ‘best parenting self’ to your young, you are ready to set limits and boundaries in a way that facilitates your child’s healthy development. Click here to read guidelines offered by the Parenting Assistance Line.
How can I help my child become a go-getter? If your goal is to inspire your toddler to become a ‘go-getter’ – be aware of the pros and cons. While you wish to give your child a competitive edge, the risk you run is that you might accidentally create a self-protective person who believes success is a ‘win-at-all-cost’ adventure. If this is not your goal – reconsider your question. While you might strive to help your child embrace life’s journey safely and with wisdom, you might actually create a young adult who has one goal: to ‘be the best/ be top dog’ and one who has a ‘win at all cost’ attitude. Click here to read more about the possible outcomes to be considered.
What is the best way to set limits? There are as many opinions on this issue as there are children on the planet. For a few tips on age-appropriate limit-setting, click here to read a few easy-to-navigate blogs. Appropriate limit setting helps children feel secure, safe, confident and loved. Using fear, shame or guilt are not ever appropriate. These tactics are distractions to healthy development, create frustration and anger, and may even arrest your child’s development. This creates a ‘wounded toddler’ – setting the stage for unhealthy life choices, poor interpersonal skills and a lifetime of misery. We are all ‘wounded toddlers’ to a degree. In order to avoid perpetuating this pattern of poor parenting, click here for a few insights.
To read more about ‘wounded toddlers’ and the life poor parenting (using fear/shame/ guilt) may set children up for, click here. It is essential to set healthy boundaries and appropriate limits. To understand why, click here.
What about diet and nutrition for my toddler? Dr. Mark Hyman has a few wonderful, very easy-to-read and even easier to implement recommendations. Click here for useful hints and tips.
Life is filled with obstacles, mazes, challenges and lessons which, once mastered, are followed by a continuing adventure filled with even more paths that help us fulfill our potential. I wish you a journey filled with blessings, and the ability to embrace all with gratitude and good humor. wishing you balance, wellness and positive energy,
~Dr. Nancy Iankowitz