What Every Parent Needs to Know

                                                           

When you become a parent, you are given the most important role you will ever have; to mold another human being from their first breath. You have the amazing ability to influence your child’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors and beliefs about themselves and their world. Life becomes about giving your child the best possible chances in life and doing whatever it takes to raise them to be happy, hopeful, and joyful adults.

You have the power to create a safe and secure environment or one that is fear-based and unreliable.  You are the one who has the chance to teach your child the value or self-respect, resilience, fidelity, respect for others and what it means to be a kind, compassionate and giving person.  You are the one who can ground your child in religion, faith and/or spirituality, or not. 

You are the one who can make your child feel and believe that it is ok to take risks, as long as the risks serve their highest good. You are the one who can get them to believe that they can achieve whatever they desire and that they are supported 100%, even if their interests are not your own.  You are the one who can subtly or directly encourage them to be fearful or courageous. 

You are the first, and will always be, the most important person in your child’s life. 

Your child will always want your approval, support, and guidance.  Your child will always feel obligated to choose between divorced parents, because divided loyalty is incredibly painful, confusing and scary.   Your child will always wish that you are approachable, open and nonjudgmental about them.

Your child always wants to belong and always fears rejection, as we all do.

Your child always wants you to keep your promises.  And you should!  Even when it comes down to the small stuff like buying their favorite dessert when you go to the grocery store because you told them you would or follow through when you say you will take them to the toy store or to play tennis. Keep your promises!   Do what you say you are going to do and if you can’t, admit that you can’t. Your child will respect your honesty, even if disappointment follows.

Your children are your number one priority.  They come first and are never to be used as leverage against their other parent.  Doing so only causes the child more harm.

Be mindful of how much you complain around your children; children pick up your habits very easily and they can also feel unnecessarily responsible for making you feel better. That is a heavy burden to place on a child.

Live in gratitude. It is the backdrop for how your child copes with life. Be someone who emanates possibility, options, and respectable work, personal and play ethics.  Know that your children watch every move you make and they listen to every word you say.  So do and say wisely.  Act in your highest good, so both you and your child will be proud of who you are.

Epitomize those characteristics that you loved in your parents and give yourself permission to parent differently. You will create an entirely new legacy for your family.

As a parent, you MUST do everything you can to be an honorable, trustworthy and respectable. You children will idealize you anyway, so why not let them base the idealization on real things?

As a parent, you have the right to be involved, to ask questions, to create rules and regulations that provide structure, safety and nurturing.  Don’t ever question that.  It is your duty to stay connected. If you have a hard time setting boundaries and creating mutual respect between you and your child, get help and make it happen.  

It is your duty to always keep this one thought in the forefront of your mind: “Kids are a product of their environment and I am their environment.  Therefore, I can fully understand how they have become who they are, because I was the most significant factor in helping them be that.”

Greatness is within all of us.  Nourish that greatness in your child and in yourself. Declare that you will forever have the best intentions when you make decisions on your child’s behalf; that you will always love your child even if you don’t like their behavior; that you will support your child regardless of their sexual preference, their opposing beliefs or their passion for something for which you have none.

You are the most influential person in your child’s life. Don’t ever forget that.

In love and light,

Janis

www.cohenfamilycounseling.com

 

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