Parenting on Purpose

Parenting on Purpose

Know When To Hold ‘Em: Listening To Your IGS

posted by srballantine
Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

Back in the late 70’s Kenny Rogers recorded the song “The Gambler.” The song was used later as the theme song for Kenny’s TV movie series of the same name. In song lyrics the gambler counsels:

You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em,
Know when to walk away, know when to run.

While I am not trying to suggest that we encourage our children to take up gambling, (or smoking and drinking that are also mentioned in the song), there are some great lessons in these simple lyrics.

Just how do you know when you have what you need, when you should ask for more, or when you should throw in the towel?

By listening to your Internal Guidance System (IGS).

The message in these first two lines is that we have to live in the present moment. The cards are neither good nor bad in and of themselves. The right choices are based on the entire picture — the cards as well as everything else that is happening at the table.

We cannot get caught up in the hands we have been dealt in the past. Also we cannot assume that the choice we made the last time we had a similar hand will be the right choice now.

Nor can we count on what cards someone else will hand us in the future. We must pay attention to how it feels in the current moment and assess whether the time is right for us to go left or go right. To walk away, or to run. Not out of fear, but out of knowing that this is the right decision in that moment.

Of course every gambler knows that practice helps. That is true with just about everything in life: including checking in with our IGS and really hearing the directions we are being given. But practice doesn’t mean that we will have the exact same hand, or that the same decision will always be right for us.

Circumstances change, so even if the hand looks the same, our best choice may be different in this moment. Maybe because we are different now than we were the last time we faced a similar choice. Or perhaps because we are dealing with different people.

There are so many variables at play in our lives that most of us cannot accurately predict our correct course based on past experience like it was a mathematical equation.

Parents can help teach their kids to tap into their IGS at a very early age. In age appropriate ways, we can give kids options and ask them to see how each one feels. Would this choice be made out of fear or anger? Does it feel positive, loving and like they want to move toward it?

Encourage your kids to practice this skill as often as possible. The more we help our children recognize the guidance they are receiving, the better they will be able to handle whatever cards are dealt them in the future.

Please feel free to comment.
© 2014. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.


Are Action Figures Promoting Drugs?

posted by srballantine
Bigstock photos

Bigstock photos

Much has happened in the world of toys this week, namely with the retail store Toys R Us. They released a toy, dealt with a firestorm and pulled the toy off the shelves. That’s fast action, perhaps because the firestorm was over an action figure.

Toys R Us began selling a male action figure doll from the Emmy award winning TV show “Breaking Bad,” which is the story of a high school chemistry teacher who turns to a life of crime in order to provide for his family. It’s not unusual for successful shows or movies to create and distribute action figure dolls that represent their popular characters. I think the controversy and firestorm began because one of the versions of this figure is carrying a package of (albeit fake) Meth, a deadly drug properly termed Methamphetamine.

One of the more popular outcries came from a Mom in Florida who told The Today Show, “anything to do with drugs is not doing the right thing, I just think they need to look at their visions and values as they call them.”

During the controversy, Toys R Us released a statement to NBC, which stated, “ the product packaging clearly notes that the items are intended for ages 15 and up and are located in the adult action figure area of our stores.”

On October 22nd, the dolls were removed from the shelves at Toys R Us. They are quoted as saying, “let’s just say the action figures have taken an indefinite sabbatical.”

I noticed there was an array of different reactions throughout the country to this situation. Some were appalled at the dolls; some were appalled at the negative reactions from people. Who is right, is anyone? Who gets to choose?

Right and wrong will always be subjective and be determined by each individual perception to any given scenario. This perception originates from our belief system.

One belief system will dictate being offended and horrified that an action figure is being sold to kids and seems to be supporting some form of drug use.

Another belief system will laugh at the absurdity of such a toy, not take it seriously and go on with their day.

Yet another belief system and perspective will have no reaction whatsoever. So on and so forth depending on infinite perspectives.

The situation this week made me think of so many questions.

Do we have a collective belief system for our country, society and our world? Do we hold any vision of how we want to evolve and what we want to teach our children? As our TV shows, video games, toys and movies become more violent every day, are our children becoming numb to it all? Are they really succumbing to the rampant drug use?

I wonder how productive it really is to push against everything that offends us. Are we making progress?

It feels more productive (in my perspective) to create and promote a vision of how we want to move forward and hold this vision for our kids. Moving away from so much focus on the negative and deliberately creating a new story of how we want to live our lives. Whatever it is we are focusing on either as individuals or a society is what we will perpetuate. Fostering change in any direction means putting our attention and precious energy toward that change.

I want a world where all things are possible and everyone gets to express their own perspective. I can choose not to participate in any perspective that doesn’t please me, without trying to kill it, judge it and make it wrong.

Please feel free to comment.

© 2014.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.















What You Say To Your Kids~ Did You Mean It?

posted by srballantine
Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

We are all human. Sometimes you say things you don’t mean. Or, you say things because you’re reacting rather than thinking. Maybe you just said something in jest, teasingly.

Unfortunately, these words are the ones your kids are most likely to remember, precisely because you said them without thinking about it. Whatever you said was uttered with so much emotion and energy, even if said in a whisper, that this energy struck a chord within your son or daughter.

Some kids may not believe these emotional words. Others may be wounded to the core.

Your job as a parent is to help your children have such a strong connection with their true selves that they won’t believe the untrue words said by others. You can do this by being their constant source of encouragement and support. Regardless, when words that don’t feel good come from someone they love, adore, or admire, like a parent, best friend, favorite coach, or teacher, it can shake a child and cause them to doubt themselves.

A woman I know was often called “Grace” by her family. Every time someone saw her bump into anything, or trip, they would teasingly call her by this nickname. It became so ingrained in her she became convinced that she was accident prone.

Because she believed she was accident prone, she attracted lots of opportunities to get injured. As a child, her parents took her to the emergency room on numerous occasions, which just reinforced the nickname.

Naturally since their daughter was accident prone, they kept a tighter watch over her and discouraged her from participating in many activities that she wanted to try. Her parents weren’t unkind; they were trying to keep their daughter from what they saw was inevitable harm.

As an adult looking back over her life, “Grace” was able to recognize that she was no more prone to accidents than other active children. She often got injured because she was trying to keep up with the older kids or pushing herself to be better and stronger. This was her natural tendency and rather than be supported and allowed to flourish in a safer environment, she was taught to disown her desires.

Unfortunately, simple nicknames or words spoken without thinking can have lasting effects. When you speak with and about your children, it’s important to think about how those words will feel. Will you always say the right thing? No, but you don’t have to.

Author Toni Morrison asks, “Does your face light up when your child enters the room?”
Of course that is how every child wants to feel; surrounded by love. And parents want that for their children, too. Sometimes that means you have to do a little self-censoring and a little play-acting, if your mood is not in the best place.

When you feel that you are going to say something to your child that doesn’t feel like your face is lighting up, take a deep breath before you speak. If you have already said the words, be ready to apologize and demonstrate with words and actions how you really feel. Are you seeing a trait in your child that you do not want him or her to grow into? Envision what you do want for them. Only call them “Grace” when they are being truly graceful.

Please feel free to comment.
© 2014. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.

Is It Okay To Hit Your Kids?

posted by srballantine
Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

Is it ever a good idea to hit your children in the name of enforcing good behavior, or for any reason whatsoever in the name of good parenting?

Taking into account the varied belief systems that may guide your parenting; and also which generation you were raised in may help determine how you will answer this question. I will also present a series of questions for you to consider, as only you can determine who you want to be.

You are the parent to your child, and an outside party giving you advice on what they think you should or should not do probably won’t influence your behavior one way or another anyway.

When I was growing up, it wasn’t considered a bad thing for parents to strike their child when the parent considered the child was misbehaving. Regardless of what level of striking a child you consider abuse, in the sixties parents that hit their children on occasion weren’t frowned upon. My Mom would sometimes slap my face and it wasn’t unheard of for my Dad to take off his belt and hit my backside when he felt I had transgressed in some way. These events rarely occurred and I don’t feel particularly scarred by them. They are however, etched vividly into my memory.

Modern times show less favor to the parent that occasionally hit their children. These days, it is commonly seen as abuse no matter what level of severity a parent displays regarding this behavior. The question will always be: Who is it that you choose to be in your parenting?

This is an inquiry that is deeply personal to you, therefore only you can decide what type of behavior is true and correct for you.

Your life and behavior is not about outside forces and judgments, it is about how you feel about what you are living. Only then, can your feelings dictate your best direction.

 ~Every behavior towards your child is a reflection of how you are feeling. For example: If you strike your child will you do this when you are feeling happy?

~ Were you hit by your parents and how did it make you feel? For example: Are your children feeling your love and caring?

~What message is your child getting by being hit? Is it the message you mean to send?

~In what manner do you learn new behaviors? For example: When ideas or actions are presented in a positive way or when they are presented in a hurtful way? Is your child learning anything?

~What is your Internal Guidance System telling you? For example: How does it feel to hit your child?

~Is it fear you want to instill in your child or a deep sense of security?

By clearly defining who it is that you want to be which comes from your own life experience, you will then have the ability to choose your highest parenting. How you feel about every action you take will tell you if you are moving closer to or away from your ideals and goals.

Please feel free to comment.

© 2014.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.







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