Parents Heal Thyself - Why It's Important For Parents To Identify Their Own Issues
Many parents realize that they could benefit by learning different parenting techniques. Some buy books, others search for parenting tips. And others invest in parenting classes. While all of these methods can help them understand their children better, and can do some good; the single most effective thing they can do is explore their own upbringing and identify issues they have. Until they identify and work through issues in their own life, they will have problems implementing what they learn.
In a recent "In-Person" Parenting Class, I had a young lady who was ordered to take parenting classes to help her understand her two young children.
Now, in both our online parenting classes and our in-person parenting classes, we encourage participants to explore their own issues and work on any they may have. (It's very common for adults to suffer from various issues and not even know it.)
We had started talking about teaching children self esteem. I asked the class if they had any questions about the importance of teaching children to recognize their assets and feel good about themselves.
This beautiful young lady raised her hand. When I called her name, she refused to raise her eyes. Hanging her head down, staring at the table, she softly asked, "What happens if you teach them so good that they figure out that they are too good for you? I don't want my babies to be too good for me."
At first, the class thought she was joking. They all laughed.
I said her name and she looked up at me with "deer in the headlight eyes".
My heart broke. This young parent had such low self esteem that she was afraid her children would leave her!
I'm telling this story to make two points:
1) Many, many parents today simply have not learned valuable life lessons. They can't possibly be expected to teach their children what they themselves do not know.
Some parents suffer from anger issues. They were never taught to deal with anger. How can they teach their children?
Some parents suffer from low self esteem. They were not encouraged or praised as children. How will their children learn good self esteem?
Some parents are caught up in the "victim syndrome". Everyone is out to get them. What are they teaching their children?
The most prevalent issue I see is - most parents taking our parenting classes were raised by authoritarian parents. They were forced to comply with rules, but never learned to think on their own. They suffer from low self esteem and anger issues. And, since they learned how to parent by watching their own parents, they have no way of understanding what they are doing wrong.
So many little life lessons are simply not taught to kids today because the parents have not learned them first.
2) Children learn by watching and modeling. Parenting classes are a good source of information, but unless parents learn the life lessons first, they can't possibly model them for their children.
Parenting classes need to teach adults how to work on their own issues, in addition to showing them how to deal with children's issues.
Now, the young mother in my in-person parenting class did make progress on her own self esteem issues. I also introduced her to a local pastor who counsels adults. She has come a long way. She now looks healthy and happy and her two young daughters have quick smiles and are doing a lot better in school.
Sometimes parents don't realize that the parenting style they use will harm their children more than help them. When they enroll in parenting classes, they learn new techniques. But before they can begin implementing what they learn in parenting classes, they need to work on identifying and understanding their own issues.
Many parents pick up what they need to learn from the parenting classes they attend. Our parenting classes help parents identify personal issues and teach techniques to work on them. Not all parenting classes do.
The bottom line is: