Definition of Parenting

Parenting, as defined by Wikipedia, is “The process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood.” While Google may provide countless lists of parenting techniques and how to accomplish this, I’m here to provide a unique perspective.

Instead of learning techniques for proper parenting, I encourage focusing more on your ability to “promote and support” the emotional and mental well-being of your child. And that starts with focusing on you. Promoting and supporting your own emotional and mental well-being, allows you to become better equipped to support your children.

Finding the perfect parenting technique to diffuse a situation, and guide your child, isn’t necessarily the answer. In fact, you may recall a time, or a situation, when you were in a good mood, felt present and happy, until your child did something unacceptable. You more than likely, you had the wherewithal to handle it, whether or not you utilized a specific parenting technique.

On the contrary, reflect on an instance when you were in a bad place, totally self absorbed or distracted, and your child did something unacceptable. Did you have the ability to pull off one of those perfect techniques in that moment? Stay calm, don’t yell, be consistent? Or did your state of mind run the show and you’d be embarrassed to see the rerun of the interaction?

This distinction, proves that techniques aren’t always the most important in diffusing situations. In fact, it’s the state of mind, your emotional and mental well-being, that determines how successful you are at “promoting and supporting” your child’s needs.

Healthy parenting is understanding how human beings work, where emotional and mental well-being is found in ourselves and our children and teaching them how to be resilient in the face of shifting emotions (ours and theirs).

Being clear where your feelings are coming from, and how they affect your thinking and communication with your children, is the first step in promoting and supporting our children’s wellbeing. It’s in this moment, when we can share best practices with our children, and promote emotional intelligence. Doing this, will prevent them from spending years of their lives blaming other people or situations, for their upset and mistakes.

Feelings come from within us. From thought in the moment, translated to an internal flow of Divine energy, feelings pipe through our bodies, and express themselves out into the world.

This insight has completely transformed my ability to confidently parent my children, and I hope it empowers you to do the same.

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By Aviva Barnett, MSW

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