Chady Dunmore Parenting Tips
I am not a therapist nor am I here to discuss how I have this parenting thing down pact. But I will say how being sincere to my child has helped my daughter grow up to be just as sincere to who she is around. Our children mimic us. So here’s my two cents on how we show up in the world sets how our children show up.
I think most of us would agree that the world often looks like it is going crazy. People are dumping their pain all over others, rarely being accountable for themselves or recognizing there is another alternative. I know. I’ve been there…
All you have to do is turn on the television or look at a video game or watch the news….murder, mayhem and politics, addiction, domestic violence, divorce and child abuse, bullying by parents at their children’s sporting events, and adults having sexual relationships with children….to know that adults are STILL trying to figure out how to navigate their own feelings and emotions.
How then are we to teach our children how to be emotionally healthy when we live in a world that is so emotionally unhealthy?
Emotionally healthy people do not need to oppress others. Emotionally healthy people do not hate others for their differences. They are more likely to see their similarities. Emotionally healthy people never think they are better than anyone else, for any reason.
Emotionally healthy people know how to express themselves in life-giving ways, and are rarely in abusive relationships or having affairs. They aren’t lying, cheating, or abusing drugs or people. They are generally happy people.
Becoming an emotionally healthy person is an ongoing journey and needs at least as much, if not more, attention as we give to our physical health.
Raising children to be healthy, happy, productive, and loving adults becomes on the job training at its worst, since mistakes can be life altering.
So how do we help our children become the happy, healthy, productive, and loving adults most parents want them to be?
1.DON’T deny your feelings. EVER!
Most kids are naturally intuitive and inquisitive. Their environment will either nurture that experience or hinder it. They communicate information to us that is necessary for the successful navigation of life. Unfortunately, there is often little tolerance of them, unless they are happy.
If we aren’t being truthful about our own feelings and emotions, how can we teach our children to be truthful about theirs?
We as parents often think we have to protect our children from our own emotions and feelings. It goes something like this…,
You, the parent, are feeling sad. Your child says, “Are you sad, Mommy/Daddy?”
Mommy/Daddy says, “No, honey, Mommy’s/Daddy’s not sad….”
Your child is now confused. S/he knew what sad looked like and felt like, but they are now doubting themselves, because of course, they trust you know better. They also take in an unspoken message that says, “We don’t talk about our painful feelings and/or some feelings are not okay to express.”
Acknowledging when your kids are right WILL nurture your child’s natural intuitiveness and emotional intelligence. That will go a long way in contributing to their mental health, like exercise for the body contributes to physical health.
I am not suggesting we dump our feelings on our kids (like we can do with frustration). I am just suggesting we be more honest about our feelings. Reassuring them that we can handle our own feelings will relieve them of responsibility for how we feel, as well as communicate that they, too, can have and learn to tolerate their more difficult feelings.
THEY LEARN FROM WHAT WE DO.
If we blame our children for how we feel (“You make me angry” VS “I feel upset when you…”), we will leave them with a lifetime of taking on responsibility for the feelings of others, while also learning to hold others responsible for how they feel. That has contributed to a large population of narcissistic people blaming everyone else for how they feel, unable to have any accountability.
2.DON’T tell Your Kids What You Think They Should Think.
When you don’t push your own views onto your children, but rather listen to them with interest and unconditional acceptance, they will learn to accept themselves and see their own views as valuable.
Remember, THEY ARE NOT YOU, nor are they an extension of you. They are their own person, with their own thoughts, feelings, perspectives, and ideas.
Notice their strengths. Nurture them.
Kids will not tell you what they are thinking or feeling unless you create an environment in which they feel safe enough to do so. That means being able to tolerate the things that might make you uncomfortable
3. SET AN EXAMPLE.
It can be helpful to look back on your own childhood to gain understanding into how you learned or did not learn to deal with your feelings and emotions. It will have everything to do with how you raise your own kids.
There is no shame in it. It is never too late to go back and heal what we helped to break. Acknowledging our own inadequacies can be freeing. We live in a culture that demands perfection, where perfection does not exist.
We do not know, what we do not know. There is always room to learn.