7 Habits of Emotionally Healthy Parents (Part 1)
If there was a parenting recovery group at church you would stand up and say, “Hi, my name is Craig and I am a parent.” “Hi Craig,” is the response. I'm not making fun of 12 step groups or recovery groups, what I am saying is, the people in those groups have something that many of us don’t and that is the power of authenticity. Each person is there for one reason, connection.
When one person shares their hurts and hang ups there is no doubt they will hear a “Me Too” response and honestly, that is quite reassuring. It's reassuring to know you are not the ONLY one going through life facing what you are facing.
Parents, your 13 year old daughter is not the only one who walks away from you rolling their eyes mumbling under their breath. Every 13 year old daughter does this to their parents! It’s their job. Our job is to help them keep their eyes focused and speak clearly and that’s not easy. “Hi, my name is Craig and I have a 13 year old daughter.” Understand?
Can we all agree that our children, at some time or another…
Roll their eyes.
If our children did not do those things then there would be no need for us as parents. With that in mind, parenting can be exhausting. Amen?
When we experience those fiercely exhausting moments we need connection. Healthy, transparent, authentic connection! We need someone to talk to and connect with! However, as a parent there were times I didn’t want to connect with others. Especially to the parents down the street who appeared to have it all together.
Now that my children are older I have come to the realization the parents down the street didn’t have it together, they thought we did! Here’s my question, why? Why did they think we had it all together? Well, apparently, that's the image we gave them.
The story we told ourselves was that if other parents really knew how our children behave they would look down on us as parents. They may not understand what it’s like to have your child tell you “no.” Or that your child learned a new word on the playground in second grade and decided to announce it on Sunday morning at church.
This was our greatest fear…
“What will other parents think?”
The fear of rejection or the realization that others could or would think we were bad parents reinforced the story we were telling about ourselves which was, “We aren’t good enough parents,” and “Other parents don’t know what we are going through.”
Your parenting situation is not unique. You, as a parent, are incredibly unique, that’s how God made you. However, the situation you are in today as a parent is not unique. Someone else is going through the same thing or has been through the same thing you are going through and connection brings us together to talk about them.
I hope I have at least opened the possibility for you that all parents have similar “opportunities” they face every day. Open up, share your life, connect with others and begin the emotionally healthy habit of connecting regularly with other parents.
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