Alternative to Punishment #7: Self-Reflection
Parenting is a journey of endless learning. Which is why we
created a community for parents who are actively learning to be
better parents: Busy Moms Guide to Awesome Parenting
In order to learn, we need to take a fresh look at many of the outdated
parenting tactics and methods that we may have been raised with or tend
to use more reactionary.
As parents who are learning to raise healthier and happier kids,
we also need to reflect on our actions in order to clearly see the
effectiveness of our own parenting tactics. In order to gain perspective
on how these tactics are affecting our child's emotional, mental and physical
health, for good and bad.
Ask yourself: "Is what I'm doing now based on what is actually
happening in this moment or am I reacting to a memory from
my own childhood; or something that more recently happened?"
Or ask yourself...
"Is it really necessary for me to respond this way?
Will what I'm doing effect my child positively or negatively?"
The aim of this alternative is to first put things in perspective. After all,
we can't expect to make clear and just decisions when we are reacting
impulsively from things that happened to us in our past.
That's why it's critical to take a moment and ask ourselves important clarifying questions.
Let's face it, when we're parenting on auto-pilot (without self-reflection)
we tend to treat our kids the same way we were treated by our own parents.
We often use parenting practices without questioning them.
While these parenting tips and tricks may have been necessary for our parents
to cope with all the demands in their lives, if you're reading this, then you now have
a chance to assess whether or not there may be a healthier way to raise your own child.
Try this Self-Reflection Exercise, and see how it works...
Get a piece of paper and a pen, and, throughout the day, while observing
your interactions with your child, ask yourself these questions, and write
your answers on the paper:
- How did your parents talk to you? Is it how you want to talk with your child?
- Are you doing to your child, what was done to you, out of habit?
- If you're tempted to react or punish, question your motives first, and have a
look at your own childhood.
- Were you punished as a child?
- Did your parents threaten you? make you feel guilty? did they be-little you?
- What did you feel you needed most from your parents that they didn't give
you enough of?
- What did you love most about your parents?
- Can you remember a time that you felt really connected with your mother?
and with your father?
- Was there a game that you played with your parents that you were fond of?
- What kind of physical affection did you receive from your parents?
- What things did your parents do that you don't want to do to your child?
- What things did you learn from your parents that you would like to pass
on to your children?
We can only change things we're aware of.
The first step to become aware of this is to
question what we're doing NOW and get
clarity on our first lessons in parenting from
our own upbringing.
In summary, follow these simple steps:
1. Notice how your parent parented you.
2. Ask yourself if what you say to your child is REALLY coming from you, or
if it's the same things that were told to you as a child.
3. Think about your upbringing and answer the above listed questions.
Just noticing for now is enough. You don't have to take action.
Remember, awareness is the first step. Nothing can be effectively "fixed,"
"changed" or "improved," until you are clear and aware.