To be a parent is undeniably one of the most challenging jobs as once you are a parent for at least another 20 years you have to keep yourself as well as your kids at the highest priority. In case as a parent, you feel that your own personal needs are being ignored, you need to take a step back and foster a new relationship with yourself first.
I have met many parents who believe that this is a kind of selfish act because as parents you have to give your children the top most priority and therefore they do not have the time to take care of their own needs. I would first like to explain why this is not at all selfish in reality. If you have ever travelled via an airplane, you must be aware of the instructions that during emergency it is required to wear an oxygen mask and before you make someone else wear it. You must help yourself first and then others. If you have ever reflected over the reason behind this rule, you must be aware that by ensuring to help yourself first you are highly probable to be empowered enough to serve others. However, if we continuously keep looking after others at the cost of ignoring our own needs then by default, we are causing harm to ourselves and others in the long run. When we ignore ourselves even if we keep serving others, after a while we will feel exhausted and frustrated and then we are more likely to burst out in anger over those people for whom we have been sacrificing ourselves. If we talk specially about typical Indian moms, if they are highly conditioned to serve others by sacrificing themselves, then they may continue with such sacrifice for years but unconsciously they are feeling ignored, which makes them more likely to develop a disease because since years they have continuously repressed their emotions of anger, resentment, regret etc. As we know all diseases have their inception in the mind and when all negative emotions do not find an outlet, they find their way inside the organs, tissues, cells etc.
Therefore, when as Parents we take care of our own needs and simultaneously the needs of our children, we are empowering ourselves and thus in the bargain we empower our children. When we are healthy and happy, we feel highly energized and then whatever we do in the outer world is based on mature responses, so when kids act unreasonably, we won’t get into the trap of our own negative emotions and react to them at the same level at which they are operating. As adults we need to stay calm, when our children yell, scream, or misbehave.
The most common compliant made by parents is that children do not listen. So, when you ask the child to switch off the television or the video game etc., they ignore or keep asking to wait for some time. I understand that parents lose their patience as with so many added responsibilities and tasks when kids don’t do as required, parents feel frustrated. However, the most important insight is that when we lose our cool, we only make our tasks more difficult to accomplish. By staying calm, we are more likely to focus and more energized to perform our daily activities. In the grip of emotions, we can’t act maturely, think clearly or be decisive. So, if getting angry doesn’t help and make things worse, we need to learn emotional management. This will also help to discipline the children. Let us understand the meaning of disciplining children. Many people believe that in order to enforce discipline, we have to use punishment as a tool to stop misbehavior or to instill healthy habits. However, harsh punishment may work with younger kids, but it will work only temporarily. Often, parents complain that their teenager acts rebelliously and opposes everything that the parents say. This happens because of two reasons: Firstly, when a child enters adolescence there are drastic changes happening at physical and psychological level which is difficult to adapt.
Secondly, when during early childhood the child faces lot of dominance, they develop a tendency to self-sabotage. Self- Sabotage is basically about unconsciously causing harm to self in order to take revenge from the parents. This gets reflected when the kid is no more a child and is now mature to react to the early childhood experiences. This may create an unconscious revenge cycle at certain levels. So, in order to discipline a child, we need to modify its definition so that it really meets the objective for which we originally intended. Punishment creates fear of the one who is enforcing it and the child indulges in the desired habit not because s/he understand its importance but only to avoid punishment. So, in the absence of the parent s/he will avoid the desired habit. E.g. if you want to teach your child to develop the habit of doing her/ his homework regularly you may use the concept of ‘teaching’ instead of punishment. The thumb rule to teach anything is to be
- Specific: Letting kids know what they do right or wrong. This means excluding one’s own interpretation.
- Responsive: Making kids understand the relationship between choice and consequences.
- Concrete: Giving clear examples about what they can do in the future to improve.
- Positive: Teaching children, how to take control one’s actions and expressions.
- Interactive: Telling children why you expect a particular behavior and how it benefits them.
- Informative: You become a coach or a guide and help children learn how to actively solve problems.
If you often find yourself arguing with your kids or threatening them or repeating the same instructions or you find yourself in an incessant loop where whatever you do doesn’t work and there is a constant battle between you and your kids.
I would strongly suggest that you incorporate these tips in your daily life.
In case you need detailed guidance on the above subject, feel free to connect with me via mail/ wats app or call conversation.
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