Parenting on Purpose

Dear friends,

I recently completed a year of doing my column “Parenting on Purpose” and I’ve written my last article, at least for now. It has been a wonderful year and I have very much appreciated your support! It has been so gratifying to hear from you, and answer questions you’ve had regarding the very important job of parenting. I’ve also appreciated sharing what we often live and experience with our parenting and receiving tips from you.  Thank-you!

Moving forward, I will be involved in other aspects and programs for parents that I’m currently working on. In the next several months, I will be launching a parenting institute online, which I’m really excited about! I’m working now on finding the perfect name for the institute.

I’m also very grateful to Beliefnet for giving me this wonderful opportunity to share my views and support parents, thank-you.

Please know you continue to have my support and can reach out to me anytime.

Much Love,   Sharon

Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

Whether you are approaching the teen years with your child or right in the middle of them, the time is now to find more ease in this aspect of your parenting. Why does our culture teach us to fear the teen years? Most of us are conditioned to respond almost with pity when someone mentions the age of their child when it falls between the ages of 12- 18. Have others ever reacted to you in this way?

Anyone who has ever been a teen or had a teen will tell you the reason our culture teaches us to dread these years with fear, is because they have the potential to cause us angst as our kids rebel, hate us and desperately want their freedom. Granted, not every teen on the planet becomes this person but it is common, and it is necessary. It is necessary because this is your teen’s time for self-awareness, self-discovery and the time their hormones start to dictate autonomy from us, their loving parents.

Why are we at odds with our teens? In my experience, I was at odds with my teens because I wanted to control the uncontrollable. I wanted to control their homework schedule (you know, insist they do it) control when they went to sleep (so they would feel good of course) control how they ate, (how could they function with all that sugar) control how they dressed (I couldn’t imagine how the school allowed some of the outfits) control the quality of their friends (was it even safe to hang around that person?) on and on.

It was years of trying to control what I couldn’t control and didn’t really have a right to. After pushing against the situation to the point of possibly losing the relationship I treasured with my son, I finally came to realize that each of us is in charge of creating within ourselves whom we want to ultimately become. We do this by living through a vast amount of experiences, some we want and others we don’t want. This is how we come to select our personal identity and life path, and this is the time of life and the primary job of every teen.

It was quite a challenge to let go of the illusion of control. When I did, and allowed my kids to make their own decisions, face their own consequences and be in control of what they lived, all of our lives changed for the better. I was allowing them to decide for themselves what they wanted to experience. If they didn’t do their HW then they didn’t do well in a class. How could they know what they really wanted if they weren’t allowed to possibly fail?

As a parent with three grown functional, happy kids that went through their teen years in different ways and in varying degrees of trauma, I would like to offer you some comfort. This too shall pass. And even though it can be really challenging to believe this when we are right in the middle of a storm, know this. It does.

If we can approach each day with the strong intention to resist being in control, and being reactive to our teens non compliance and maybe even harsh words, then we stand a chance of ending the day in a more easeful manner. And when we can end the day in a more easeful manner, we stand the chance of conserving and protecting the long-term relationship we hope to have with our kids. We stand the chance of being the ones they turn to for support rather than turn away from.

Please feel free to comment.

© 2015.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.



Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

One of my favorite subjects to talk and write about is Intention. Our intention toward any subject or aspect in our lives is the most powerful tool we have. This is because our intention is what I like to call the “Rocket Fuel” toward our desires. Intention creates powerful energy behind our ideas and this energy propels us toward our goals.

Our intentions are sometimes conscious and deliberate and sometimes they aren’t. For example: if we get up in the morning, dress and get ready for work, we don’t necessarily think about the fact that we are intending to get to work that day. It is a more unconscious intention and therefore the energy behind it isn’t very powerful.

However, if we deliberately and consciously intend something, put thought into it, make plans and fully believe we can have or achieve something, the energy behind this intention is incredibly powerful. This is the kind of intention we want to have in our parenting.

Have you intended the kind of parent you want to be, or the relationship you want to have with your kids? Have you started this powerful energy moving toward what you want to experience? It’s never too late to do this, whether you start when they’re born or when they’re teens.

When my three children were little, I was slightly terrified as to the way in which I would raise them and there were many unknowns. I had my own ideas about how I wanted them to be, and the relationship I wanted to have with them. I observed my friends who had much older kids and loved how they related to each other.

I knew I couldn’t leave our relationship and my general parenting to chance, so it became clear what I wanted to do. I had been using strong intention successfully in my life up until then and I knew how powerful it was. I was going to have to intend the relationship I wanted to have with my kids to have the greatest chance of getting what I wanted.

I used a notepad and I started to write down the aspects of what I intended with my parenting.

~ To have a close and loving relationship which would last a lifetime, and be stronger than any hardships we would have along the way.

~ To be fully present and listen with my heart.

~ To foster a spirit of cooperation between us.

~ To take care of my needs so I was completely able to care for theirs.

~ To maintain a playful attitude so my parenting could be fun.

~ To expose them to new ideas and experiences as often as possible.

These are just a few of the intentions I had as I was raising my children. You can have fun creating your own list.

How would I know if I was moving in the direction of what I intended or away from my intentions as my kids were growing up? I would know by how I felt when I experienced an event with them that tested any one of these intentions. If I felt positive emotion, then I was moving toward my intentions and if I felt negative emotion then I was moving away from my intention.

For example: If I had the intention of being fully present with my kids and I found myself starting to be distracted from what they were saying or doing more often than not, I would notice this and not feel good about it. This was my indication that I was moving away from my goal and I could then consciously make a new choice.

Parenting is a life long experience with many variables. We have the ability to create this ongoing experience and outcome with our strong intentions. There will be times we forget our intentions and times we revel in how powerful we are in creating the kind of parent we want to be.

Please feel free to comment.

© 2015.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.





Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

As a parent, you may feel like you want to watch over your kids’ health like a hawk. You want to make sure they eat right, take their vitamins, go to sleep at a decent hour, wash their hands, etc. etc.

You know it isn’t possible to watch their every move, but at least you want to set a good foundation of habits for them.

Are you observing this same set of good habits, and when was the last time you were so diligent over your own health? Of course you want your kids to grow up to be healthy. That’s why you encourage them to do all the right things.

As they get older, you teach them why healthy habits are important. At some point, you might teach them to check in with their Internal Guidance System (IGS) and make some of these decisions for themselves. How does it feel to them when they eat poorly, don’t get enough sleep or are out of balance in some way? Chances are, not well.

I remember as my kids were growing up I tried to be so diligent in teaching them the best habits of self- care, but they were often rejected. I knew though, that some day they would pay attention to the fact their habits made them feel poorly. Sure enough that’s what happened and they eventually chose healthier ways that felt better. It was in their-own timing, not mine.

I knew that in order to affect my children in the positive way I wanted to I needed to live in the manner I was trying to influence them in. It’s important that you take care of your body for two very important reasons. One is for your own health. The second is to inspire your kids in the way you want.

While taking care of yourself for you own sake is important, many people tend to misinterpret the concept of taking care of oneself as wrong and as being selfish, so they’ll put their own needs last.

Yet if you tell your kids it’s important to take care of their health and they see you neglect yours, what do you think they’ll do? Chances are, they’ll most likely model your behavior instead of do what you tell them to do.

When you demonstrate to your kids that your needs and health are less important than theirs, they unconsciously pick up on that message. They learn to treat you as being less important and they also learn that parents in general are less important than their children. This isn’t a lesson that’ll serve them well when they become parents themselves one day.

So if you aren’t going to take care of yourself because it’s important for you, then do it for your kids. And maybe in doing so you’ll discover how important it is to put your health needs at the top of the priority list.

The important lesson to teach your kids is that everyone is responsible for their own health. Kids need help when they’re young and need to be taught how to take care of themselves by adults. And they need to see that these lessons are to be carried throughout their adult lives when there won’t be anyone there to remind them.

Please feel free to comment.

© 2015.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.