Parenting – Guide Yourself While Guiding Your Kids

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, July 13, 2016
By Kenia Garcia-Pi, LMFT

When we become parents, the love that has been nurtured and handed from generation to generation flourishes, but also all the fears. As caregivers, we pay a lot of attention to our kids’ wellbeing and development, but we also need to pay attention to our own progress and reactions.

As parents, self-reflection is a powerful tool we can use: taking care of our own thoughts, emotions, and actions before delivering them to our children. They will develop these skills and will later use them in their own lives and relations. Many times, we feel triggered by our kids’ behavior. Before reacting, we need to make a conscious choice about our response, being mindful of the impact it will have. Here are some ideas to think about:
  • Consider carefully which labels you want to pick for your kids. Take time to explore and highlight their strengths and good qualities. Out of all the possibilities, make sure you come up with the most beautiful and loving ones. Make sense of, and learn from, their struggles. See them as opportunities to be more tolerant and open-minded.
  • Understand the difference between the aspects we can change in our kids and the ones we can’t. Who we are is determined by a complex variety of conditions. There are characteristics within a person that are perpetual. However, respect, acceptance, joy, gratitude and love, are qualities that can be learned and are valuable to have in our life and family dynamic.
  • Learn to listen to your kids. Regardless of their age and condition, they have value information to share. Instead of desperately wanting them to listen, take time to consider and appreciate their honest opinion. When they feel validated, they will be more willing to connect and listen to us.
  • Embrace your mistakes as a lack of knowledge, not of love. Understand that parents are learning too. At times, we react in a way that we don’t feel proud about, because we couldn’t deliver with a better response. Take it as an opportunity to expose yourself to alternative views and education, so you can choose and practice more satisfying ways to interact with your kids.
  • Empower your kids by teaching them that growth is possible and limitless. Let them witness your own evolution as a person and parent. Even after kids leave home, they continue learning from their parents and how they continue coping with life.