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Self-Care Enhances Effective Parenting

Self-care enhances effective parenting. My definition of “effective parenting:” train children to take good care of themselves and love themselves to enhance their capacity to have things the way they want.

Love is learned. If children drink from a fountain of love, they will grow to love themselves and others.

Our ability to love another is limited only by our ability to love ourselves. We learn to love by the model our parents provided in their love of us. We apply that model to loving ourselves, upon which time we can love another. Only when we respect, recognize and appreciate ourselves can we receive or provide another’s respect, recognition, and appreciation.

All of us have these less than perfect models (our parents’ love of us) because our parents are humans and had parents who were limited by the level of love they had for themselves. And on and on through the generations. That is not to say that children cannot come to love themselves more than their parents loved themselves; it is just a slow, if any, improvement across the generations. “They” say it takes 3 generations of the absence of physical (or sexual) abuse to remove it from a family system. So, our parents’ self-love (or absence of) is not a limit to our self-love, it is simply a very strong influence. I have always claimed it would be much easier to be a parent if we were not human; however, if we were not human we could not provide a model of being human for our children.

The Platinum Rule: Treat yourself the way you wish others to treat you. Be a model for us. Be an example for us as to how you wish to be treated. You wish to be treated with kindness, be kind to yourself. You wish to be treated with respect, respect yourself. You wish to be treated fairly, be fair to yourself. Or a more direct way of stating it: You deserve to be treated well. That includes how you treat yourself!!! [I need the most work on this rule, myself.]

Whenever I observe parents treating themselves poorly I ask them how they wish their children to treat themselves. I remind/inform them they must treat themselves the way they want their children to treat themselves. We are a model for our children (as I mention above). Though they are not privy to those lovely (I’m being sarcastic) and mean (often to the point of self-abuse) “conversations” we often have with ourselves, particularly after we’ve made a mistake or did something “wrong,” our children pick-up on the gist and effects (on ourselves) of these inner “conversations.” How we treat ourselves has a huge influence on how our children treat themselves.

If you truly wish your children to love themselves, you have no choice but to work on loving yourself. And just one more time: How do you want your children to treat themselves?

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One Response so far.

  1. Margot Schindler says:

    I remember the shock, I had as a teenager, on learning that my mother made sure I went to the various doctors that all kids are supposed to see. Only, she hadn’t been to one in years… It was the first time I realized that she didn’t apply the same principles to herself as she did to her children… and how lucky we were…

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