Parenting on Purpose

Parenting on Purpose

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.







Turning “No’s” Into Possibility With Your Kids

posted by srballantine


Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

There was a time in my early parenting when my children would make a request about something they wanted, and my knee-jerk reaction was to say no. It wasn’t something I gave much thought to, it was my natural reflex. Looking back, I think it felt like a safe place to start and perhaps we could take it from there. Their reaction was to go into defense mode and the games would begin. Could they convince me and ultimately get what they wanted? I came to realize that starting in defense mode was not a productive way to parent, and it wasn’t much fun for the kids either.

Good communication and close connection are qualities parents want with their children and, believe it or not, kids want to have with their parents too. Before you can have good communication, everyone has to feel calm and also safe. This means making a deliberate choice to listen to your child with an open heart and an open mind when they come to you with a request.

What are some of the reasons you may be tempted to say no to a request from your child to do be or have something? One of the main reasons may be fear. You may fear for your child’s safety, or maturity level in regards to what they are asking of you. Maybe when you were a child, you weren’t allowed to do what they are asking for. Perhaps it feels easier to say no rather than taking the time to be fully present and consider their request. Whatever your reasons may be; leaving the door open for your child to practice their communication skills will serve them, as well as your relationship.

How you can turn a No into the possibility of a Yes.

~ Take a deep breath and allow your child to fill you in on the details of their request without jumping to conclusions. For example: Do they have the information needed for you to make an informed decision?

~ Encourage your child to research what they are asking for. For example: If it’s an object, do they know the price, or if an experience do they know what’s involved?

~ Ask your child questions regarding their request. For example: What is motivating them toward what they want? Is it their true desire or that of someone else?

~ Ask your child to use their Internal Guidance System when making requests. Is this something they are truly wanting and how will it feel if they do get their request met?

~ Use your own IGS when faced with a decision your child has put on the table. How does it feel to consider a “Yes” to your child? How does it feel to say “No”?

~ Allow your open mind to consider that your child has a creative process that you may not be privy to. For example: Part of their soul purpose may be indeed inspiring them toward whatever they are asking for.

Few parents will say “Yes” to all of their child’s requests. Take the time to take an objective view of your motivations and that of your child’s before coming to any rock solid conclusions on any subject. Also, consider you don’t have to answer your child immediately. Knee-jerk responses can be avoided by telling your child you want to take some time to think about their request. As a parent, you want some wiggle room to consider your responses and possibly change your answer.

Please feel free to comment.

© 2014.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.



Keeping Kids Safe In Wake Of TV Violence

posted by srballantine


Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

Today’s media experts claim that watching television does not have a negative impact on kids. The exception they say,is made when your kids watch too much television and are therefore not getting enough exercise or socialization. You’re repeatedly told that the violence that’s aired doesn’t create violence in children.

Why is it that you’re seeing an increase in violence among young people then? It is now common to hear of teenagers who bring loaded weapons into school and open fire on their fellow students and teachers? Other kids, not even in their teens, are exhibiting extreme violence in a myriad of different ways.

This is scary stuff for any parent. You worry about your kids — it’s part of the job description. You want to be sure they’re safe and in a safe environment. In the past, parents had the luxury of getting to know their kids’ friends and parents. That’s still a good idea, even if it may be a little more difficult due to busy schedules and large schools. It’s at least a good idea to encourage your children to surround themselves with other like minded kids.

It used to be that people didn’t worry about their children when they were at school. School was a sanctuary. Yes, there were bullies who threatened to take lunch money, but parents were more worried about the kids picking up a bug or breaking an arm on the playground than being shot by a classmate.

So how does a parent balance keeping his or her children safe without making them fearful of the world or paranoid?

You really don’t want to encase your kids in a giant bubble. You want them to experience life and all the wonders that are available to them. Your job is to help them be aware of all the good there is in the world and how great it feels when they’re surrounded by true friends, whether they’re enjoying nature, playing games, or just going to school together.

One of the places to start is by helping your kids recognize the types of television shows that support their happiness and those that do not. When your children are very young, you can directly monitor the programming they watch. As they get older, this becomes impractical if not downright impossible.

Watch shows that meet your parenting goals as a family. They don’t all have to be educational programming, although there’s nothing wrong with that, either. Discuss the shows you watch with your kids. Explore how you feel while you watch the show.

What sort of emotions come up? Did you feel encouraged or discouraged as a result of the show; uplifted or pushed down? Did you laugh or cry? Did you feel anger? Did the show motivate you to take action? Did it make you aware of how different things are for other people?

If your children are older and insist on watching a show that you feel is too violent or otherwise inappropriate, discuss your feelings about it with them. Your son may be watching it because it’s cool or because his friends watch it. Maybe he just watches because it gets his heart pumping with excitement. Ask him to check in with his Internal Guidance System while he’s watching the show to see how it feels, during and after the program. Be willing to have a dialogue about the parts of the show that bother you.

You can watch television shows that have violence without becoming violent yourself. One of the keys to doing this is being able to separate the television fantasy from real life. Unlike the actors on television who will get up, walk away, and get another role to play, real people bleed. They feel pain, and potentially die as a result of violence.

When you allow your children to tap into their IGS and know what it would feel like to be both the perpetrator and victim, they will be guided towards non-violent solutions in real life.

Your job then, as a parent, is to actually allow your children in age-appropriate ways to experience what they do not want and what they do want. You can then help them to discover non-violent ways to get the excitement they are looking for or the independence to choose not to watch something just because everyone at school is watching it.

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



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