Parenting yourself.

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

child

Learn like a child.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Learning the lessons, you didn’t get in childhood.

Many adults discover that there are things they should have learned in childhood, that they missed out on. Whether your parents didn’t know, weren’t any good at parenting, or just weren’t as available as you would have like them to be, you may need to go back and fill in those missing lessons. Even people who say they came from wonderful homes may find there are some lessons they should have learned in childhood that they still need to learn.

Below are some of the lessons of parenting you may need to work on to develop yourself. Studying the lessons of parenting helps many people in recovery to fill in the gaps and become the mature person they want to be. Here are some of the things adults should do and not do with children, and that you need to continue to do or not do for yourself in adulthood.

Don’t yell at yourself.

Yelling at children is likely to increase their anxiety. High anxiety can be protective if you live in an uncertain world. Too much anxiety is harmful. Yelling at yourself undermines your self-confidence and destroys your self-esteem. The things you tell yourself come true. Don’t call yourself names, put yourself down, or yell at yourself about the mistakes you have made. Learn to talk to yourself in a supportive, comforting way.

There is little evidence that you can make someone try harder by yelling or criticize them. There is lots of evidence that continued negativity will make people give up trying.

Communicate with yourself.

It’s important to pay attention to your wants and needs. Listen to your feelings and your thoughts. Many people find it helpful to keep a diary or journal. Writing down your thoughts can help to clarify them. If you are afraid of things, pay attention to those fears.

There are no right or wrong ways to feel. Your feelings are a valuable source of information.

Don’t dismiss your thoughts as unimportant. Your opinion on things matters. Especially pay attention to physical sensations. Learning to eat when you’re hungry, drink water when you are thirsty, and sleep when you are tired are important parts of self-care.

Practice patience’s with yourself.

Don’t expect that you should be able to master a new skill the first time you try. Don’t push yourself to do things before you’re ready. Be patient with yourself. Don’t confuse patience with not trying. Encourage yourself. Nurture yourself.

Allow yourself to relax.

Machines that are run too fast, too long, breakdown. You’re not a machine. You will need to give yourself enough relaxation and rest time. You do not need to spend your whole life driving yourself to do more. Giving yourself time to recharge your batteries. Life is a journey, enjoy the trip. There is a reason humans are called human beings. Don’t define yourself as a human doing.

Acknowledge your achievements.

Good bosses know that you can motivate employees by recognizing their efforts. Appreciation can be more motivating than money. Unfortunately, many parents forget to praise their children. People who are told their contributions are valuable are motivated to work harder. People who never receive any praise or acknowledgment eventually give up trying. Learn to accept compliments. Each day watch for the things you have done well and reward yourself for your achievements.

Remember to love yourself.

It’s hard to love other people when you don’t love yourself. Practice each day some self-compassion. Love should be unconditional not something that’s earned or bought. If you grew up in a home where love and affection conditional, based on what you did, work on loving yourself unconditionally.

Remember it’s never too late to learn the lessons of childhood that you will need to be a happy adult.

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.

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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.