Parenting on Purpose

Parenting on Purpose

Are We Being Fully Present With Our Kids?

posted by srballantine


Father and daughter day at the beach collecting shells togetherMost of us go through life doing our best to manage all of the noise and distractions that are present in our jobs, at home and out in the world. It can truly be an activity in not losing our minds. Our world is buzzing with business, people and tasks that require our attention.  Is it any wonder that we can have trouble being fully present with our children when we have a million things on our minds that require energy from us?

I believe that we want to be fully present to those around us and most especially with our kids, but to be fully present we can use the tools of intention, focus and attention. Perhaps we aren’t able to change the circumstance of our lives in being less busy, but we are in control of the moment-to-moment experiences we have with our children.

Intention is a good place to start, as intention is what drives the energy toward our goals.  Are we intending to be more present? I found that when I intended to be more present with with my kids, I was halfway there. Then, I had to focus specific attention toward them, and stay focused on the conversation or exchange at hand.

Lastly, I needed to pay close attention to what my kids were saying. This is important, as we will want to respond accordingly.

What does it mean for us to be fully present with our children? It can mean:

1)   Pausing whatever activity or chore we are involved in, sitting down and facing our kids.

2)   Engaging in eye contact whether we’re sitting with them or from across the room.

3)   Listening to our kids talk and not speaking until we’re sure they have finished.

4)   Postponing other conversations such as cell phones or television when our children are interacting with us.

5)   Choosing to let situations with our kids unfold rather than trying to direct them.

6)   Grounding ourselves and being fully present in our own bodies, so we stand a greater chance of being fully present.

In a world full of noise and distractions, our kids want to feel valued and heard. As we stay present to what they are saying and experiencing, we develop meaningful exchanges and deeper relationships with them. We know from our own experiences how it feels when others are present with us.

Please feel free to comment!

© 2014.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.


Raising Independent Kids

posted by srballantine

Active Baby Raised Hands Up And SmilingAuthoritarian parenting is an easy trap for anyone to fall into. For many people, it’s how they were raised and so it comes naturally to them. Even when you have the intention of being different from your parents, you will often hear your parents’ words coming out of your mouth — the very words you swore you would never say.

The problem with this parenting style is that it can foster dependence and lack of self-confidence in your children. Even though you want your children to obey you when it’s crucial for their safety, your role as a parent is to raise your children to be their own beings and to think and act independently from you.

Parents must remember that their children are their own unique individuals. They will and should do some things quite differently from how you would have. They will also do some things exactly as you would have done at their age. That doesn’t always feel good to you, but you must recognize that your child will make mistakes. That is part of growing up.

You can’t prevent your son or daughter from making mistakes, nor should you try. Mistakes are how they learn and develop. How you and your children feel about the mistake is much more important than the mistake itself. If your children handle situations differently than you would have liked, consider how they feel about it. Are they proud of how they handled the problem? Would they choose another tack if given the chance?

By teaching your children to trust their Internal Guidance Systems, they will be better equipped to make fewer mistakes and will recognize mistakes when they happen. If they can recognize the mistakes, they will also know how to rectify the situation.

The important lesson for a parent is to accept when a child feels good about the decision that he or she made rather than trying to control every aspect of their lives. When you criticize their decision rather than strengthen their IGS, you will sow seeds of doubt in them over their ability to make decisions.

Keep in mind that what seems important to you may not be important to your son or daughter. Take a step back and rather than demanding they precisely fit a mold you have built for them, try to look at the situation from their perspective. Are their lives in danger? Are they endangering the lives of others? If not, then perhaps they are figuring out their own path in life, which may be very different from your own.

When you have taught your children to listen to their own Internal Guidance Systems, you can break the habit of telling them what to do. Instead, you can allow them to develop into the unique, independent people they are meant to be.

Please feel free to comment.

© 2014.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.


Parenting Without Fear

posted by srballantine


 Inspirational quote by ancient Greek philosopher SenecaOur own wellbeing and the wellbeing of our children is generally a top priority in each parent’s life. We want to feel like our lives are filled with joy and we want our children to be joyous.  However, we cannot feel joy and inspire it in our children if we spend time being fearful. As parents, we must first live what we hope to inspire in them. Don’t we want to inspire safety, trust and wellbeing?

What do we fear in regard to our kids? We may fear for their safety, choices in friends, their health, school performance etc. Fearing for our kids will never serve us, or them.

Each of us can move away from fear by learning to trust our life process and have faith regarding how things will turn out for us and for our kids as well.  One way we can do this is by practicing habits of thought that serve us, or in other words, feel good.  Are we allowing our wellbeing or are we sabotaging it by indulging in these fearful thoughts and expecting the worst? Our expectations will determine what we experience, so we want to learn to expect that all is well with our children and us.

We have a choice in what we give energy to in our thoughts, and a choice in redirecting these thoughts when fear seeps in.  An example of how to redirect our thoughts might be this: Your teen is late coming home from school, you don’t know where they are, and they have your car. They are rarely late and aren’t answering their cell phone.

It may be our natural inclination to default to worry, imagining the worst and getting worked up and stressed out. These thoughts will never serve us as we have no control over the outcome of the situation with our teen, and we are ruining our sense of wellbeing as well. They will arrive home to a freaked out parent that won’t be inspiring faith and trust. Chances are, we will be reactive as soon as they walk through the door.

As soon as we notice that our thoughts are going in an unwanted direction, it’s important to stop this momentum by finding thoughts that soothe us. We might say to ourselves, “ I trust that my teen is fine and will be coming home soon.” Say this over and over if necessary and gently keep any thoughts that don’t feel good at bay.

It’s important to not push against any fear we are experiencing, but to acknowledge it and release it. This is done with intent and by redirecting our focus.

We can never control the outcome where another person is concerned, but our thoughts will affect how we experience it.

When we practice wellbeing we move away from fear. Let’s teach our children trust and the practice of being in control of their essential and life-affirming sense of wellbeing.

Please feel free to comment!

© 2014.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved











Parental Guidance on Giving Up Control

posted by srballantine

girl_holding_appleAs a parent, you like to help your children. You want to see to it that they do not make the same mistakes you did, or new mistakes if you can stop them. With the best of intentions, you attempt to fix situations, thinking you can make your children’s lives better.

Today, experts believe that childhood obesity and all the terrible illnesses that stem from it are at epidemic proportions. With this news, it would seem like the natural thing to do in order to help your children is to help them with their exercise and eating habits.

Most people would probably say that you are being a good parent by pushing your kids towards healthy habits. It is ironic and may seem counterintuitive, but you may actually be causing more harm than good.

How do you feel when you are told that you cannot have something? Makes you want it more, doesn’t it? The same is true for your kids. The more you tell them “no,”  the more you limit the sweets around the house, and the more we hide or restrict chips and other snacks, the more your children will feel they can never have what they really want. This can make them feel deprived.

Rather than empowering your children to tackle their health issues, you have set them up to feel bad about themselves and actually gain weight from binge eating or eating outside of your tightly controlled environment. This does not serve them now and it certainly will not serve them in the future.

While you think you are helping your children by limiting their exposure to foods, you are attempting to control their environment and behavior. This feeling of control is only an illusion. It may feel good to you as the parent at the time, but you actually have no control.

By letting go and giving your children the control over what they choose to eat, you are actually empowering them.

At first, they may overeat and put on additional weight and you may be tempted to revert back to your unhealthy patterns of hiding the food. This is all part of their learning to listen to and trust their own bodies, as well as their Internal Guidance Systems (IGSs) to let them know when they are truly hungry as opposed to wanting to eat out of boredom or stress.

When facing a “bad habit” that your children have developed, it is important for the parent is to take a step back and check in with their own IGSs. Ask yourself — how does it feel when you are trying to control your children’s behavior? How is that attempt working out?

Then take time to consider how it feels to give up that illusion of control. Recognize that by giving up control, you are giving your children the tools they need to become the unique people they are meant to be. They need to find and follow their bliss, and that is what we are all here to do, parents and children alike.

Please feel free to comment!

© 2014.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.


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