Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids

How to raise self-disciplined, connected, happy humans

How To Be The Parent Your Child Always Wanted

What one thing could you do today to support yourself to be a better parent?

"What I have learned from this book (Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting) has already improved my relationship with my eight year old son. My son thanked me this morning for reading this book. He said I am turning into the mom he always wanted. 'Even if it means you don't always get your way?' I asked. He replied, 'It's easy to learn from my mistakes when you aren't yelling at me about them.' I almost burst into tears."- Shannon

Kids like to get their way. But there's something every child wants even more: Someone who loves you, no matter what. Someone who doesn't yell when you make mistakes. Who loves you even when you're mad or whining, who listens and empathizes...even when you're wrong, even when you were so upset you were rude, even when you hit your sister. Someone who loves you enough to overcome their own upsets to help you through yours. Someone who holds a vision of you as your best self, even when you can't find that self.

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Every child deserves that parent. Of course, we can't always be that parent, because we're only human. But if you're wishing your ratio of good parenting moments was higher, or if you're feeling stuck in a negative cycle, maybe it's time to give yourself the support you deserve.

What's that? You already know how to be that parent? If you're like most moms and dads, you DO know how to be that parent. So you think you'll just get tough on yourself and "do better." You apologize to your child, and then you yell at yourself.

But if you have a plant that's wilting, you don't yell at it to straighten up and grow right. You figure out what it needs to thrive: More water? More sunshine? More room to grow? This applies to your child, of course. But it also applies to you. Being hard on yourself doesn't make you a better parent. Resolving to be more patient doesn't necessarily make you a better parent, if you don't give yourself the support to stay calm and regulate your own emotions.

Why not give yourself the sunshine and nurturing you need to thrive? Life is short, and you deserve it. And your child deserves it. The days with your child may feel long, but childhood is short. Every day, your child is creating memories. He's shaping his brain. She's laying the foundation for relationships for the rest of her life.  

What one thing could you do today to support yourself to be the parent you want to be? Maybe you need to get more sleep. Maybe you need to slow down a bit so you aren't so stressed, and you can enjoy your child more. Maybe you need to make a star chart and let your kids give you a star for each day you don't yell. Maybe you just need to love yourself and your child unconditionally, even though neither of you will ever be perfect.

You know, deep inside, what the next step is for you to be the parent you want to be.

Why not just make a plan and do it?

Laura Markham, Ph.D., is the author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting.

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