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Parents Are Mirrors - What Are You Reflecting Back To Your Child?

intentional parenting parenting tips raising kids role model May 04, 2022
What Are You Reflecting Back To Your Child?

I’ve been talking about Parenting From Neutral a lot lately, but do you really know what it means and why it matters?  I’ve mostly talked about how when you learn to Parent From Neutral, you take the heightened emotions of frustration, anxiety, and overwhelm out of your parenting process so you can calmly and effectively parent your best when your kids need you most.

But there is another factor to parenting from neutral that I haven’t discussed yet. It’s just as important and can play a major factor in how your kid’s grow up to see themselves.

Imagine that you are standing in front of a mirror looking at yourself.  Realize that the mirror for you is neutral.  You are the one that gets to decide what you think about your reflection.  Did you know that? You can choose to think that you look fabulous that day, or you can choose to think that you’re having an ugly day and focus on all your flaws. The mirror doesn’t tell you that you’re looking a little chubby in those pants, that’s your own thought.  The mirror itself is completely neutral.

But now I want to bring awareness to the fact that as parents, we are our kid’s mirrors — they look to us to help them figure out what to think and believe about themselves.  And we are NOT neutral.  

As parents, we have lots of opinions and thoughts about how things should be for our kids and how our kids should be, and we can think that there is a problem when reality doesn’t match our vision of how it should be.  And when we think it’s a problem, our kids can start to believe that it’s a problem and think that something is wrong with them.

We also have lots of thoughts about the traits and characteristics of our kids and what we see as positive or negative.  We think they are facts and how our kids just “are”, not realizing that it could be programmed behavior based on what they are consistently hearing and our thoughts and beliefs about them.

This is one of the areas that I work on with parent clients.  I help parents gain awareness in areas where they are not neutral by uncovering what they are thinking and believing about their child — and what they are reflecting back to them.  It is always a big eye opener for them when they are able to see how their thoughts and opinions directly affect their ability to parent most effectively through any situation they see as the issue.  They are always amazed to see the connection.

This happened recently with a client who came to me feeling that her child was very negative.  She felt that how her child thought negatively about things was a problem.  She felt like a failure because she hadn’t been able to fix it and things had been spiraling.  We talked about how she parented when she felt like a failure, and she was able to see that when she had thoughts about how her child was negative, she ended up being very negative too which didn’t help her best show up and parent effectively.

I realize that this may seem complicated, but I can assure you that I have simple tools to help make it easy.  Awareness is the first step, and I hope this has helped give you a place to start looking at where you may not be neutral.

Ultimately, when you Parent From Neutral you reflect confidence in your child back to them, and you affirm the qualities in them that you want to become stronger.  You model how to handle situations calmly and effectively so your kids learn self-regulation and impulse control from you.  You keep the lines of communication open and collaboratively solve problems so your kids learn problem solving skills and get better at navigating life’s challenges.  You are more intentional about your thinking so your kids naturally learn more positive self-talk.

When you Parent From Neutral, you teach your kids to parent differently and you break old and ineffective parenting patterns so they stop being passed on.  You establish a new parenting legacy and change lives for your future generations.  This work matters, and I have put it all into a unique format that is simple and easy to learn and implement.  Visit melpeirce.com/parentfromneutral to learn more.

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