am a recovering perfectionist. Before, I experienced that I and
everyone else was always falling short, that who we were and what we did
was never quite good enough. I sat in judgment on life itself.
Perfectionism is the belief that life is broken...Wholeness lies beyond
perfection. The life within us is diminished by judgment...." -- Dr.
I first went to therapy as a young woman because I hoped it would make me perfect. Even once I realized that I'd never be perfect, I still tried for it, figuring that falling short would at least get me closer. READ POST
“Why do you want your child to hurry
up? Because you're done and figure he’s had long enough to finish?
Because you have something else to do? If so, can that wait so that you
can give your child the time he needs? Because you've promised to be
somewhere? ... If you are constantly rushing from one place to the next
(doctor’s appointment, haircut, playgroup, music lessons) have you taken
on too much? Should you plan more downtime in your schedule so you have
more time to be patient? More time for play and cuddles?” -
Now that kids are back in school and activities, are you noticing that life is too busy? Most of us take it for granted that we're always rushing from one thing to the next. That we have a never-ending to-do list that keeps us from catching our breath, never mind catching a sunset together.
But it costs us. And it costs our kids even more. Our society is so hooked on adrenalin that we don't acknowledge the high price our children pay for our lifestyle. Rushing our children through life: READ POST
"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." - William Shakespeare
The problem with parenting is that we don't get any prep time. We're always on stage, performing for an audience that responds to our every thoughtless word or action. We learn our lines as we go, improvising. As soon as we master a cue, it's replaced by a new one. We spend the entire play just trying to get ahead of the action enough to think about what to do next. READ POST
Laura....I just want to give my kids a better start in life than I
had. How can I make sure they're self-disciplined but happy?" - Katie
All of us want to raise children who become self-disciplined -- and happy -- adults. The only question is how best to do that. Luckily, we know the answer. Research studies have been following children from babyhood to adulthood for decades, so we actually know what works to raise great kids. Here are the five most important things we know.
1. Children need a secure attachment with at least one parent. Parents facilitate this secure attachment in the first year by listening to their unique baby and responding to her needs. They continue to nurture secure attachment by accepting the full range of who their child is -- including all that messy neediness and anger -- into the toddler years and beyond. Parents who are controlling, intrusive, unable to tolerate the child's neediness, or otherwise responding out of their own needs rather than responding to their child's are less likely to raise a securely attached child. READ POST
"Before we're 8 years old, we have almost no
capacity to filter out information that comes to us. So if parents or
teachers, people we count on to nurture us, say something hurtful to us
before the age of eight...it goes in quite deep and we carry those
misbeliefs with us. They profoundly affect our relationship to
ourselves, to others...our sense of value in the world." -- Dr. David
What did you learn before you were eight? That you're a capable person, worthy of adoration and an abundant life, lovable exactly as you are, even with all of your messy imperfections, bodily functions, anger, fear, and neediness? Or maybe that you somehow aren't lovable enough to have your needs completely met, that some of your feelings and body parts are shameful, that harsh words or even blows might rain down on you at any time? READ POST
"Since I have
found your daily posts, I am more patient with my children and I can see
that they are happier and better behaved. Does being an alpha dog mean I need to be more strict again?" - Karen
"The example discussing "dominance," "leadership," and "alpha" are all concepts that are considered out-dated, made obsolete by further scientific investigation of behavior both in domestic dogs and in wolves." - Christie Circle
Yesterday's post on the need for parents to be leaders in their homes turned out to be controversial, because the whole concept of the "alpha dog" is apparently so loaded. Just to be clear, I did not use the words "dominance" or "strict" in the post. The quote referred to the "alpha dog" taking care of and protecting to create a sense of safety. READ POST
"Dr. Laura, I appreciate all the posts about how
to stay calm. They really help. But what about those times when my kid
does something really awful -- and deserves what's coming to him?! Won't
he misinterpret it if I stay calm then? How do I teach him a lesson?"
Because we're better parents when we’re calm, my daily inspiration emails lately have focused on mindfulness -- noticing our own moods and emotions, so we have a choice about whether to act on them.
Here's the thing to remember about that choice. We have to Choose to calm ourselves. Just like our child has to choose to "act right" when everything in him wants to act "wrong." And it's just as hard.
Claudine is describing how tough it is to choose to give our child what he needs, over giving him what we think he "deserves." But if we're honest, that "giving him what he's got coming" smacks of revenge, not teaching. READ POST