Are you a Parentified child? – Video

A counselorssoapbox.com video by David Joel Miller, LMFT, LPCC

Parentified children grow up too soon. They often must take care of siblings or work at an early age. Children in dysfunctional homes don’t get a chance to be children. This can result in problems when they become adults. This video discusses the signs that you may be a Parentified child.

Parenting

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Parenting.

Parenting.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Parenting.

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”

― Margaret Mead

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

― Albert Einstein

“One thing I had learned from watching chimpanzees with their infants is that having a child should be fun.”

― Jane Goodall

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.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Free gifts your child really needs.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

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 lifetime.

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 of 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.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – 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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Crying child

Youth mental health.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How much do you know about children and mental illness?

Childhood is not a happy time for many children.

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?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – 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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

11 ways to be a great parent.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Parenting.

Parenting.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

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

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 person’s flaws. You do not make better children by attending 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 sometimes 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 anymore 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 issues get help. Mentally healthy parents raise 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 aspects 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 lifetime.

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.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – 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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Secrets of the Parents Club.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Parenting.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

There are parent secrets you can only learn on the job.

Parenting is one of the most common tasks on earth. You would think there would be better preparation. Unlike most vocations and avocations parenting has no training required and little provided before you start the job.

There are a few parenting classes, I highly recommend them. I know however that most people do not get into a parenting class until after they are actively participating as parents and discover it is harder than it looks.

Seems like parenting is something like swimming, hard to learn in the classroom and most people are learning this skill by the old fashion method of sink or swim. Below are some secrets that the survivors of the real world parenting boot camps have shared with me.

There are no minor leagues for parents.

Taking a class in being a parent is nice. Being raised in a family with lots of children and helping care for your siblings or relatives is helpful. So is having had some experiences as a babysitter. None of that prepares you for the challenges of being a parent, especially if you have to do this while working out relationships and having to work a job to support yourself.

Becoming a parent is the equivalent of going from tossing the ball around in first grade to being drafted into a major league. Some time in school athletics and the minors would have helped. Being “drafted” as a parent gives you nine months tops to prepare. Most of your learning will be on the job and you will get hurt a lot. Still, if you try really hard there may be a few times you do something right.

You will make mistakes.

There are no perfect parents except in the movies. There you do not see what happens when the camera stops rolling. In real life, the role does not end until you are dead and gone. Along the way you just do the best you can.

Studies have suggested if you get more than half of things right your kid will think you did a good job. At least till they become a teenager and decide to try and improve on your efforts.

Do not try to be your kid’s friend.

Having a good relationship with your kids is nice. Remember though that parents need to be parents and kids need to be kids. This precludes you having the kind of relationship your child has with their friends. If you try too hard to their best friend you stop being their parent.

You have to wait for them to learn things.

Pushing too hard can make a child fall down. The old school way was to constantly push kids to do more and be more. Some of that worked. What you need to be careful of is trying to push your child to do things that developmentally they are not ready for. A three-year-old should not be carrying heavy objects and they are not ready for some mental tasks. Expecting a child to act older than they really are is a bad formula. Spend some time learning what a “typical” child should be able to do at what age. Then cut your child some slack. If they are on average doing things they should, they can take longer to learn some things than others. We all have different skills. If they seem to be falling behind get them professionally evaluated.

Let them be kids.

Drive a car too fast for too long and it will fall apart. I see a lot of clients who were pushed beyond their limits to be perfect as children and then once out of the house they fell apart.

That “playing around” is not a bad thing. Play is a sort of rehearsal for life. Well-adjusted children learn to play so they can enjoy what they do later in life. In your haste to prepare your child for adult life do not take away the joy of living.

Encouraging is not nagging.

Encouragement is pointing out the successes not yelling at them to do more and do better. Saying you believe in them need not convey the message that you will only love them if they win big.

Be slow to point out their mistakes.

If all you ever get is criticism you may think you are incapable and give up. There is such a thing as “learned helplessness” where after a while when nothing you do is adequate, you stop trying. Do not teach your child that no matter how hard they try it will never be possible for them to measure up.

Be fast to recognize your mistakes.

As a parent, you will make mistakes. Accept that. Learn from that. Doing the thing that is not working over and over will not change the child. It will wear you and them out. Learn from your child and from others. Practice your parenting skills and you will get better. The truth is that the youngest children will have very different parents than their older siblings.

They will change.

Children change whether you want them to or not. Just about the time you figure them out, they will have changed. But then often the child thinks this same thing about the parent. The person you were ten years ago is not who you are now or who you will be ten years from now. Neither is your child.

Your answers will not work for them.

You had to find your way in life, hopefully, you are there now. If not keep working on you. Your child will need to do the same. You may be good at music and they have no interest what so ever. Or they may have your interest but like a form of music, you can’t stand. That is the way it works.

Occasionally we see a person that is in the family business or who is a third or fourth generation professional in the same field. That is rare. What is more common is parents who push their child into their footsteps and the path does not fit that child. Let them explore and find their own way.

Once they start to think they will come up with new stuff.

A common parent mistake is to try to tell your children to think for themselves and then be horrified at the things they think. Your children are living in a different world than you did. They will grow up with technology you will struggle to keep up with.

This attraction to and willingness to accept new ideas is not limited to technology. Accept that the next generation will experiment with new ideas. Some will work and some will not. Old is good but so is new. There needs to be a balance. Rejecting your hobby or your ideas does not have to equal a rejection of you. Do not think that because your child thinks about new things that invalidates you.

The stuff will not make them love you.

A whole lot of adults fell into the trap of thinking that working hard to give their kids the things they never had as children will make their child happier and healthier. That does not work.

Ten, twenty, thirty years from now most kids will not remember the exact thing you bought them. They will remember the time you spent or did not spend with them. Remember to give love and time as much or more than you give things.

Popular does not last, hard work does.

There is a time in school when being popular and with the in-crowd matters. The life lesson we mostly learn is that who is in and why can change in an instant.

That popular person in the senior class in high school maybe not so popular three months later when you start college. The in musical group or politician may be out tomorrow. Popularity is a lot about others. Those who stay at the top over the long haul work really hard at what they do. They have talent but talent is hugely about how many hours you practice what you do. Talents grow with use.

Feelings will change.

Feelings can and should change. This is a real life. Some days are better than others. Do not think that the way you feel now will be the way you will feel some other time. We used to think of childhood as the happy time, free of responsibilities, and then as an adult, you had to struggle. Nowadays that is upside down. Many kids struggle with anxiety, depression or loneliness. Then when we get to be older life is happier. Not because you have everything, may elderly have much less than before, but you just start to appreciate what you have and don’t care so much what others think.

There will be life after children.

From the first day you have a child in your life, or even the day you know you will have one, your life changes. You think a lot about your child all that time. Then one day that child leaves you and you have to think about what will happen next. Some couples go through a crisis then. They spent more than half their life doing things for their children and now they can’t figure out what to do together or with the rest of their life. As important as your children are you need to still have a life that you will want when the kids are gone.

Some of you will try to substitute being grandparents for being parents. Being active in your grandchildren’s life is good, but remember you can’t take over the role of being your grandchild’s parent. You need to let your children parent their children and then the whole cycle starts over.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – 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 my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.