I’m often asked questions on parenting. I normally love to dodge them, yet today I'm inspired to write one as I fulfilled a very old promise that I had made to myself...
Arizona, August 8th-14th, 2010:
This was my first experience of a program called Breakthrough to Success under Jack Canfield that changed my beliefs on life forever.
It gave me my calling and a desire to help people with my perspective.
And I believe I’m really good at it.
But helping others is one thing -
Trying to help your kids is a totally different ballgame!
I remember thinking then:
Omg this is too good...
how can I ensure my kids experience this information? So I made a commitment to myself
that whenever they become eligible I will bring them here.
So here I am today, 8 years later. I've landed in Scottsdale again to introduce my children Hriday (18) and Viren (14) to the Success Principles. The course starts Monday
I rarely write on parenting because I don’t believe in any one style of parenting. Rather, I believe in concepts
Styles are like religion--choose any one, as they are all designed to allow you to surrender to the higher energy to increase your faith in life.
In the same way all parenting should be designed to give your child the platform to facilitate better choices in his/her life so that they can live up to their highest potential
Some like rigidity
Some like flexibility
Some like to create choice and consequences
Some like boot camp army style
Use the style you align with most and you will be congruent
In the meantime I’m sharing with you:
My top 10 concepts of parenting that I have used to parent my kids until I could bring them here to move into self correction
1. Role modelling - just be and believe there will come a day when they will make better choices because they saw you do it more than they heard you say it (A funny example here is when a parent shouts at their kids for being too loud!)
2. Consistency in style - mean what you say and say what you mean. Remain consistent in the values you are trying to embed Don’t teach them about honesty and then write a note to the teacher about being sick when they take off from school when they are not
Or don’t ask them about their commitments when you don’t keep many of yours with them
Teach them about the price to pay with every quality that they choose to prioritise
3. Synchronised way of handling the children by both parents - (something Puneet and I struggle with and continuously work upon)
Children are very smart - they know what Dad does not like about his wife as a mom and what Mom does not appreciate in her man as a dad and then they can use this information to play with our weakness. If Puneet and I can’t come to a common conclusion we at least conclude who on this will have the final say so kids can’t take advantage
4. Ability to have frank conversations - especially around topics that are taboo, and allowing your children to give you feedback as you give them...for the world has changed
I often tell my kids, give me time to explore for I’ve never handled such a situation before and I need to understand how I’m supposed to parent you here. But as this is a new experience for me too...I don’t want to deprive you and I don’t want to spoil you either
I need to explore and get back to you soon
And then I look for guidance from people who have already been there done that
5. Honesty and awareness around every members strengths and weaknesses -
and what we are working on trying to improve this quarter
Life has to be a gradual but continuous process of improving for every member
Also a great way to check honestly is to see if your kids make a mistake, are they comfortable coming back to let you know
We are all the time discussing what Puneet needs to work on, what I need to work on
What Noni and Viru need to work on.
Remaining aware towards our flaws
Knowing no one is perfect and that we don’t need to be either
this allows all of us the space to fall, to make mistakes, to be wrong
and say ok, one more thing I need to work on or learn from is...rather than be ashamed/embarrassed
The biggest gift we can give our kids is to not be judgemental - you are fine just the way you are already...counter intuitive but true
6. Guidelines for what is allowed and what is not -
Children love certainty - Less of double standards - all rules applicable on everyone is always a fair way to play the game at home
However, no matter how fair we try to be every once in a while one of them will express how we are partial to the other or how we ourselves didn’t follow the guideline
So I’ve started to accept that this is not about what they think of me but me knowing my own intention...and also a lesson for them in accepting life is not always fair
7. Flexibility within a framework -
Framework- gym three days a week for all
Flexibility - you decide the how when where
Helps them understand boundaries yet giving them complete responsibility within it
8. Respecting the being beyond the doing -
So no shouting/screaming/anger/control
As an adult you are required to be in charge of your emotions
And your children should never be the trash can where you dump your frustrations and fears
I often will come home with a panic attack
Some days because I will in my head either compare my kids to others or will suddenly feel something is not right and get reactive
The word is being aware
There is nothing you can’t solve better with calm then you can with anxiety
Anxiety is just feedback that something needs to change
Don’t attach it to your fear and feed it to your child making horrible predictions for his future on the basis of one mistake he/she made
(I practise this a lot therefore I can’t remember the last time I raised my voice on my kids and no, I don’t feel I’m giving any less feedback to them...instead of showing my anger, I just express it by saying mom is feeling angry/disappointed/hurt because...)
9. Enabling everyone to choose better and having consequences so that they can choose differently -
My children will always know my opinion
But I believe making mistakes and experience are better teachers than parents
Teaching children to make their own decisions
Has been one of my greatest challenges because it’s so much easier to make the decision for them...then to get a teenager to agree
Yes I negotiate
Yes I influence
But the final decision is always theirs
(except - of course when it comes to safety we cannot take chance so in that the final decision is always ours)
10. Accepting getting parenting right is an art and a science and we are no gurus -
Knowing this journey is flawed and that we all do the best that we can is enough
I always tell myself I’m making the best decision with my current knowledge
Tomorrow is a new day and I might realise one of these points or some decisions of mine did not work out as per plan
(Which happens often by the way)
Wow you reached here
Then let me tell you the most important point
Any sort of arrogance in parenting is a parent's greatest downfall
For life and your children will often prove you otherwise
I see sometimes parents taking great pride in their ability to crush their child’s spirit by making him/her listen to them through physical assault
That’s the only time I openly disagree to that style
To me they won the battle but lost the war
So being open that you could be wrong no matter how good your intentions are may be the most important foundational principle of parenting
I always laugh when I attempt writing on topics that I myself struggle with daily and yet share knowing I’m not alone...and I’m not done...so please use what you like and discard what you don’t!
Would love to hear your favourite point and why. Do log in to comment below or send me an email and feel free to express your thoughts
The fact that you read this - tells me you are one awesome parent. Congrats!
May god always bless our kids For I read this somewhere: You are only as happy as your unhappiest child