Featured # Article: Get Selfish!
When I work with parents as part of my Easy Tiger Parents Programme, I use a term I call "positive selfishness", whereby I encourage parents to focus on themselves. For instance, a parent that I have worked with has two children, one is attention seeking and the other is hyperactive. The parents are arguing and there is tension in the home. The parents focus is for me to give them tools and solutions to manage their children's behaviour. My response is to work with the parents to manage their own emotions/challenges (behaviour), bringing about a calmer atmosphere and environment in the house, which in itself, will help to put their children at ease and be more re-assured and self assured.
If you focus your attention on loving you, or learning to love yourself, nurturing you, feeding yourself with the correct food and knowledge, supporting you, respecting you, giving to you, then you are in a better position to attend to others around you and their needs, including your children.
How can you love others?
How can you love others if you don't love or know how to love yourself? How can you truly respect others if you don't know how to respect yourself? Loving yourself could well mean starting from scratch to learn to love yourself, as I did, especially if you hadn't learnt this from your parents. So be it, start right there.
One parent thought that this sounded a bit like a cliché but then realised it was indeed what was needed in order to change the situation and circumstances in her home. She was so focused on what her husband was/was not doing that she missed what she was/was not doing and this in itself created more of the friction at home.
Some people tend to project outwards and want to 'fix' everyone else or blame everyone else for what's going on and going wrong in their lives. This is sadly, exactly the same for some parents. These parents find it far easier to focus on the children's behaviour rather than admit that it's their own 'stuff' that's creating the situation, circumstances and environment that the children react to, 'act out', and children are then labelled by parents, schools and others as 'naughty', 'misbehaving' a 'trouble maker' or 'always up to no good'. Children and young people who self harm are also reacting to their conditions and environments.
Parents' and others projecting outwards is the problem! If we, as parents and adults stopped and stepped back to focus more on ourselves and look inwards, we wouldn't need to do a lot of mopping up and attempting to fix the children!
I get disheartened when some parents opt out of the process when they realise that the focus needs to be more on them than on the children. It is far easier and more comfortable to treat the whole situation as a problem with the kids. Ok, I accept that some parents may not be ready to deal with their emotional 'stuff'/baggage or Emotional RoadblocksÂ?, and that we are all at our own stage of development, however, what happens to the children in the meantime when the parent does nothing at all to deal with their 'stuff'? It's all about taking a small step! And I actively encourage parents to take small steps especially if they are just starting out on their journey of development or discovery.
When my eldest son started having constant stomach pains/crams at the age of about 5, resulting form tension at home between me and his dad, this was my trigger to do something about the relationship, myself and make some life changing, yet very difficult decisions.
We teach others how to treat us. Likewise, when we project our problems and 'stuff' outwards, we are really teaching our children to blame other people for their problems, aren't we? If this is the case, how can we therefore tell our children to 'take responsibility for your behaviour'?
After my divorce and alongside horrible experiences at work, I used to mediate for roughly 10 Â? 15 minutes as soon as I got home from work. I know that my children experienced a much better, calmer and balanced mum than if I had not taken those few minutes out.
Learning "positive selfishness" is what took me out of my unhealthy and abusive situations in the past, so that I could offer my children a lot more than I had and a better perspective on life.
'Positive selfishness' is not self conceitedness and focuses on creating and finding a balance in mind, body and soul. I strongly recommend that parents create and take 'me time' or 'spiritual hour' for themselves to recharge their batteries, relax, unwind and rejuvenate so that they come back to the children in a much calmer & healthier state of mind. This helps to prevent children being shouted at or being blamed for 'stuff' that really belongs to their parents.
Now over to you!
Q: What would need to happen in order for you to change one small thing, that if you did, it would make a huge difference to your children and family life?
With Inspirational Blessings
This article © Jennifer McLeod 2009. All Rights Reserved
Tel +44 (0) 121 551 1668 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author:Author, Professional Speaker, Inspirational Parent & Relationship Coach Creator of Easy Tiger Parents SystemsÂ? Creator of Born To Win! Programme for Young PeopleÂ?
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