Free gifts your child really needs.

By David Joel Miller.

Being a parent is difficult, give your child what they really need.

tin box

Holiday Gift your child needs.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Christmas is almost here, but then it could be any day and this principle still holds. Parents want to be good parents. Even when you are struggling you still would like to think that you are doing the best you can for your children. Many people have been out shopping the whole season trying to find the just right thing. If you could just buy them the perfect present, then that would mean you were a great parent.

Don’t try to be the perfect parent. No one has ever been both perfect and a parent. The perfect gift will not mean you have arrived as a parent. Work on being a good enough parent. The really important gifts you will give your children are ideas and values not physical things. Concentrate on the gifts that will last a life time.

Here is my list of wonderful gifts you can give your children which cost nothing in terms of dollars.

The gift of love.

Make sure you give your child the gift of feeling loved.  Teach them how to love themselves and love others.  Don’t make your love conditional on anything they need to say, be or do.

Acceptance.

Make sure your children know that you accept them.  Let them know they are worthwhile just the way they are.  Don’t insist that they be stronger, faster, or smarter, in order to win your approval.

Personal Boundaries.

Teach your children to have and to respect boundaries.  A cardinal rule of parenting is that parents need to be parents and they need to allow their children to be children.  Don’t try to make your children into your best friend.  Don’t encourage them to grow up faster than they need to.

Life skills.

Teach your children life skills that are consistent with their developmental level.  Don’t expect them to do adult things when their small but don’t continue to do things for them when they’re old enough to be able to do them themselves.

Consequences.

Teach your kids the consequences for their actions for good or for bad.  It’s not healthy or good for your child to let them get out of the punishment they have coming.

Responsibilities.

Allow your children to grow into responsibilities.  Knowing your responsibilities and being able to fulfill them gives children a sense of accomplishment.  To build their self-esteem and self-efficacy children need to do things that can make them proud.

Reality.

Help your children to learn the distinction between what’s real and what’s fantasy.  Allow them to have their dreams and be creative.  Don’t encourage them to pretend that things are other than as they are.

A listener.

Give your children the gift of being a really good listener.  Having you listen to them teaches them how to listen to others.

Your time.

To a child, particularly a small child, the gift of your time and attention is far more valuable than the presents you will buy.

Happiness and Joy.

Encourage your children to become happiness experts.  Teach them to live a joyful life.  Please encourage a positive, can do attitude.

A good example.

Be a good example for your children.  Teach them the rule do as I do. They are going to copy your behavior anyway.

The difference between their needs and their wants.

Help your children to see that happiness does not come from getting everything you want.  Not all needs are physical, material ones.

Words, reading and writing.

Make learning an important part of your family life.  The more words your child knows the better they will do in school.  When they are small read to them.  As they grow encourage them to read out loud.  Help them to write communications which convey what they mean.

Curiosity.

Give your children the gift of curiosity, help them to explore the physical, natural, and the mental worlds.

Knowledge about work.

Don’t leave your children unprepared for the day they become adults.  Teach them about what it is to work and the types of jobs that they might be able to do as they grow.  Encourage them to research some of the careers that they dream about doing.

A clean slate – don’t saddle them with your baggage.

Don’t give your children the job of settling old scores.  Don’t bring them into adult quarrels.  If you have baggage from the past work on unpacking your own suitcase.

The chance to be them. Individuals, not a mini me.

Make sure your child knows that they will be different from you.  Let them explore what it means to be them.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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Parenting.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Raising good children. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Raising good children.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Parenting.

“If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money.”  Abigail Van Buren

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”  James Baldwin

“Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.”  Marcus Tullius Cicero

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Family.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Family.

Your family

Family.

“I have learned that to be with those I like is enough”

― Walt Whitman

“That’s what people do who love you. They put their arms around you and love you when you’re not so lovable.”
― Deb Caletti

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”
― George Burns

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Children with mental illness.

By David Joel Miller.

How much do you know about children and mental illness?

Childhood is not a happy time for many children.

Sad Crying Child

Sad Crying Child
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

We used to think that childhood was the happy time and then you grow up and have to struggle with life’s problems. That is the scenario for some people but more and more we are realizing that childhood is the time when these emotional problems begin to develop. There is a whole lot of anxiety and depression in children.

Being anxious is not something that you automatically outgrow, Truth is that most people with adult anxiety disorders had serious anxiety attacks in elementary or middle school. Untreated these kinds of problems can follow you throughout your adult life.

In adult therapy we discover that many adult issues were things that people experienced, learned from experience, between 8 and 18. These life lessons may have made sense as a child but as an adult these learned lessons can hold you back. Some of them can keep you in pain for decades.

Part of healing from adult issues is going back and looking at the things you experienced and the lessons learned as a child that are not helping you now as an adult. Anything you learned can be unlearned. I recommend parenting education for most adults even if they have no children. Knowing what is normal at a particular time in life can help you fix the parts of your life blueprint that you have gotten wrong or that you never drew in the first place.

Learning about childhood mental illness can help you, it can help you in raising your children and if everyone knew enough we might not pass on so many emotional problems to the next generation.

Here are some resources that may help you learn more about childhood mental illness and how to keep those issues from following you or your loved ones throughout the rest of your life.

Here are some resources that can tell you more about childhood mental illness.

National Institutes of Health

Take a look at this interesting infographic on children’s mental health issues titled:

Are the kids alright? 

Also:

Mayo Clinic

WebMD

Have you found any other good resources for information about children’s mental health?

Isn’t it time we looked more carefully at this problem?

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

11 ways to be a great parent.

By David Joel Miller.

Want to be a great parent? Here are some parenting basics.

Being a good Parent

Being a good Parent
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Many people worry about how good a parent they are and how to be a better one. Those who don’t worry probably need the help more than those who do worry. I recommend parenting education to many of my client’s, even ones that do not have children.

Learning how to be a good parent can help you with the skills to be a good grandparent, friend or any mentoring role. Knowing something about parenting and how it affects children can also help you if you have unresolved issues from childhood. This is a skill I think of as self-parenting.

Here are some tips gathered from all over on how to be a good parent. My apologies to those I learned these things from as I forget who taught or wrote about which point. If you have gathered some other parenting ideas feel free to comment or use the contact me form.

1. Catch your children doing something right.

There are plenty of people who will point out a persons flaws. You do not make better children by attended to only those things they do wrong. Too much attention to the mistakes makes the child think they are not capable of doing anything right.

Help them learn that they are capable of doing things and doing them well. They do not need to be the world champion in that endeavor at age 5. It is sufficient that they find their talents to develop and enjoy the process of mastering that activity they love.

Help children develop a sense of mastery. They will feel better about themselves if they can do good things.

2. Make sure your children know you love them.

Many parents think their children know they are loved. Trouble is a lot of adults say their parents never told them they loved them. We show our love sometime by the things we do, feeding and caring for family members. Trouble is other people may give you food or tangible things, that doesn’t mean they love you. Doing things or buying things just isn’t enough. People need to hear those loving words also.

Let your children know you love them not just for what they do or the successes they have but that you love them even when they are less than perfect. Love unconditionally, not just for the good times.

3. Parents need to be parents and let the child be a child.

You can have a good relationship with your children but you can’t neglect your duties as a parent. They need friends but that is not the parent’s job. There are times a parent needs to say no. You have to deliver the bad news. There will be times you need to set limits and boundaries. If the parent does not set limits the child begins to think they can’t be controlled. Eventually they will come to believe that they can control themselves.

4. Take good care of yourself – set a good example.

Children learn more by watching what you do than by listening to what you say. Lots of people talk about what others should do. The lessons of what you do, come through loud and clear. If children see you never taking care of yourself they think that is what they need to do to be like you.

5. Maintain your adult relationships.

Parents need to have other adult friends. If you are in a relationship you need to spend time with that partner maintaining that relationship. Stay in touch with friends. Your children will develop friendships and eventually relationships. The kids can’t be the ones to meet all your social needs.

There will be life after children. If you are in a relationship maintain it. If you are a single parent develop other healthy adult relationships. You will need friends as your children venture out into the world and they will not be able to stay around to meet all your needs.

6. Get along with others. Especially the other relatives.

If you and the other relatives do not get along then you put your children in an impossible situation. You and your ex may not be together any more but no matter how much that other person hurt you they will always be your children’s other parent. Don’t put your children in the position of having to take sides. If you keep your children from the other parent it is the kids that you are punishing not your ex.

Short of keeping your children out of real danger it does not pay to inflict your pain on the children and keep them from having contact with a relative because they have angered you.

Having an extended family that the child can learn from and be supported by anchors them and give their life meaning. Don’t let your squabbles and rivalries with other relatives keep your child isolated from having a family.

7. Have good mental health – learn to manage anger and reduce stress.

Having a depressed parent leaves a lasting impression on a child. It is not noble to suffer in silence. If you have issuers get help. Mentally healthy parents rise healthy children. Addicted parents raise children who struggle through life. Get healthy for their sake.

Do not alibi that “that is just the way I am.” You say you have always had a lot of anger? There was a time that you ate with your fingers and went in your diaper. If you could learn to eat with silverware and use the bathroom then you are capable of learning to control your anger.

Learn stress reduction techniques. Develop healthy ways of managing your anger.

8. Accept your child’s differences. They will not be small copies of you.

Parents want their children to be all they can be. What is not helpful is to try to overcome your failures by pushing your children to succeed where you did not. Love a sport? You can teach your child that love. They may excel. But don’t try to redeem yourself by pushing them to make the team where you failed or to win the championship you lost out on.

9. Make learning important.

In this world what we know can become obsolete. Any of you still using rotary dial phones? Not likely your children will get far with only that technology. Learn something new every day. Encourage your children to learn also.

Learn for the fun of it and then life becomes fun. The most successful people have interests and knowledge outside the field in which they work. Taking knowledge from one area and applying it to others is where much of the creativity in this world comes from.

10. Keep life in balance.

Life is not all about one thing. We need to work hard but we need to play. Children need to study and they need to laugh. If you do not have your life in balance then your children will have difficulty learning how to keep theirs on an even keel.

We all have many aspect to our lives. You need to eat well, exercise well and sleep well to live well. Do not neglect the social part of your life. Pay attention to your religious or spiritual needs also.

11. Spend time with them.

Time is more important than money when it comes to raising healthy children. Do things with them. Take them along. Plan activities together. The toy may break and be discarded, the candy is eaten and gone, but the experiences you create together will last a life time.

Those are some of my suggestions for being a great parent. What suggestions do you have?

You can find more at: Parenting and Children and Family Problems.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books