When I talk to parents about improving their parent-child relationships, there is often a look of uncertainty on their faces. They question whether they can really change.
Here are examples of what they say to me. Which ones do you recognize in yourself?
Lack of skills
- I don’t know if I can change.
- This problem has been going on for too long to change now.
- I sound at times like my parents, and I don’t want to.
- Even when I try to change, when I’m upset or tired, I slip back into my old ways.
- What if I change and my child doesn’t?
- Don’t they have to take responsibility for change, too?
- They’ll take advantage of me if I stop yelling at them because that’s all that works now.
- I’m afraid to become vulnerable because they won’t take me seriously then.
- My family members won’t understand a softer approach to discipline.
- How do I get the grandparents to change?
- They’ll grow out of it. (It will get better on its own.)
- All teens argue.
- They’ll be leaving home soon.
- It’s not always this way.
- It’s not important that they don’t do chores.
- I was that way when I was young, too.
- I can figure it out on my own.
- I turned out fine, so why do I need to change?
- I don’t need a therapist. (To clarify, I’m an educator.)
- I’m too busy. I don’t have the time. (Message: Work is more important than my family’s happiness.)
Do you have any of these thoughts? Do they keep you from getting support so you can make fundamental and long-lasting changes?
So, the first hurdle is to recognize your thoughts that are convincing you that you can’t get help or that you don’t need help even though you are suffering. Write these down! Don’t keep them in your head where you can change them or forget them.
Once you accept your mental blocks, you can say, “I don’t want these thoughts. They aren’t helping me progress to greater happiness.” You will be amazed that your actions will automatically start to positively change, and your children will start to improve a little, too.
I commend you for seeking answers to your parenting challenges. That is why you are here. Congratulations!
I’d like to delve deeper into the mental blocks that may be getting in the way of what needs to change first: your beliefs and thoughts. We all grapple with the beliefs we learned growing up that somehow protected us. But they are no longer needed and can get in the way of becoming the parent you want to be.
However, first, a disclaimer. I approach the topic of mental blocks not as a licensed therapist or psychologist. Rather, I have a B.A. in child psychology from U.C. Berkeley, past elementary school teacher, certified in four parenting programs, author of Ally Parenting, raised an adult daughter, enjoying a daily practice of personal growth for 48 years, and listening to and offering parenting advice to hundreds of parents for 30 years so they can create greater cooperation, collaboration, and connection in their families.
I trust that my thoughts will trigger your insights into what mental blocks may be hindering you from becoming the parent you feel proud of being. Keep in mind that all parents make decisions they question and may regret afterward. I’ve even asked my grown daughter recently about some decisions I made and what she thought about them. Could I have done something that would have been better for her?
I would encourage you to continue to self-reflect, learn from experience, and move forward in reaching your parent-child relationship goals.
Let’s look at the mental blocks 1) “I don’t know if I can change”, 2) “The problem has been going on for too long to change now”, and 3) “I sound at times like my parent, and I don’t want to.”
When you have children, you have beliefs about what a parent should be like embedded in your brain. You will also have beliefs about what you don’t want a parent to be like. These come from your experiences, whether positive or negative.
As a teen, I have a strong memory of being very upset with my mother. I was in my bedroom crying, and I could hear her in the kitchen talking as if nothing had happened between us. I was suffering, and she was ignoring me. At that moment, a determination started to germinate inside that I would have a close relationship with a teen daughter in the future. I would not repeat with my daughter what I experienced with my mother.
Can you find a strong memory that can be a catalyst for you to not give up on achieving your goals of having a closer and more harmonious family? Often, a motivator away from pain can be strong. So, if you can reveal the determination and write it down, you have created the endpoint in your mind.
This suggestion is based on my experience. Perhaps having a clear vision will give you the incentive to keep searching for and following a well-proven roadmap to change.
Cynthia is available for private coaching sessions, so you can quickly get the answers you need and make those much-needed changes right away. Click HERE for a complimentary 45-minute Fast-Track Clarity Session to learn what you can do now to create more harmony in your home.
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