My respect for Moms and Dads grows each day. Here’s just one reason why. Walk a while with me in my shoes. In my work with parents and families, parents come to me looking for answers to their children’s learning, behavior or mood challenges. In some instances they may have been to other practitioners, with disappointing results, because the problems persist. In other cases I may be the first person they have visited in their quest for an answer. In all cases, I am faced with the delicate task of showing these loving parents that the answer they are looking for lies at home and not ‘out there,’ I am faced with showing them how some aspects of the way they relate to their children may be aggravating their children’s problems.
This is obviously a sensitive topic and one that some parents could find difficult to hear. And yet I am so inspired by the fact that, except for a very small number, most parents do not become defensive. Instead they say, ‘You are right. Show me what I need to do differently.’ It takes great courage, openness and humility to respond in this way. It has become clear to me over the years that there is a direct link between the ability of parents to be honest with themselves and a significant and rapid reduction in the child’s symptoms.
Groundbreaking and mind-boggling research into the way the brain works is causing us to take a whole new look at what it takes to be a great parent in this day and age. On one hand this is a tremendously exciting time to be a parent. On the other hand, it is also probably the most challenging and scary time ever in the history of parenting. Technology is advancing at an amazing speed. Parents need to keep up with this. Social media is a huge part of children’s lives. Parents need to be highly informed and on top of that. Education and the way kids are being taught is changing (or should be!). Parents need to be up to speed with this. Bullying is a real problem. Parents need to be alert to this. There are environmental toxins that can affect children’s behavior and ability to learn. Parents need to know how to prevent this. The air our kids breathe, the foods they eat, the drinks they drink, all have the potential to harm their bodies and brains. Parents need to be on top of this.
So we see that progress has a great upside but also a toxic downside and as parents you need to know how to avoid the toxic aspects of life and make sure that your kids are eating, drinking, breathing, socializing, and learning in the best way possible. But before you can even think about this all, you need to first think about the parent-child relationship. You need to remember that as mom and dad, you are the primary source of every belief, feeling, thought and behavior of your child. Your children unconsciously absorb your thoughts, beliefs and feelings and mirror your behaviors. This is an awesome responsibility. Taking time to explore your relationship with your children is the greatest gift you can give them.