“I just want my kids to know they can talk to me. About anything.”
“All I want is for my kids to grow up and be compassionate, healthy adults.”
“I don’t want the police to call some night and tell me that they’ve got my kid for ___________.” (You can fill in the blank.)
“My old man didn’t listen to me. That’s not what my kid is going to say when he’s my age.”
As a parent, I wanted to be able to say “I did my best.” I did not want to have to admit to having a negative impact on my children’s lives. Did I succeed? YES.
Did I inadvertently set beliefs in motion that may not have been helpful? YES.
The main thing was, I worked every day at being the best parent I could be. That left some days with “good enough parenting,” and even, hopefully less days with “I could have done much better.”
It’s called “Emotional Security.” This little gem is what gives us the ability to have those “off days” and yet help our children to survive with all the good stuff intact.
This is what I believe is needed in the old parental EMOTIONALLY SECURE tool box:
1. A parent who is attuned to the child as a beloved individual, needing safety, love, limits, and the joyful attention of a loving parent.
2. A parent who only reacts vehemently when the child is in absolute IMMEDIATE danger of risking life or limb.
3. A parent who LISTENS without prejudice.
4. A parent who can provide a framework in which the child can learn to solve his or her own problems (Resourceful).
5. A parent who looks for the underlying emotion and belief of the child’s concerning behavior.
6. A parent who consistently demonstrates the ability to follow the rules on the Refrigerator Door:
- Nice to be Around
Not too difficult, right? It’s one of those “take each day” kind of list. Do your best. Forgive yourself for when you feel that you have failed your own expectation. Hug your child. And tomorrow is a new day.