February 21, 2016
My mom sent me this quote this week, and I love it. Given that my children are 16, 14, 12, and 9, I have attended countless parenting lectures, purchased more books on parenting and understanding kids at every different age than I can count, and I read many of the parenting articles that scroll onto my Facebook newsfeed that seem somewhat interesting. All four of my kids attended a cooperative preschool for part or all of their preschool years. Those many many years were also filled with more parenting meetings, discussions, and hours of volunteer time. As many of you know, I also have a MEd in Counseling Psychology and did spend many hours as a Marriage and Family Therapist working primarily with adolescents. So this quote hits home.
You see, it’s not that the sun is too hot, or the rain is too heavy, or that the soil does not have enough nutrients, the problem is the flower got placed in the wrong environment and it’s your (collective you) job to find the right spot that will allow it to grow and flourish. We cannot control mother nature. We seem to have arrived at an epidemic of perfectionism, denial and displaced responsibility in our society these days. Way too much blaming and litigation. It’s no wonder that our children have a difficult time taking responsibility for what they can control. Everyone (and yes I am guilty of this too) wants to blame the referees and umpires for the games they lost, wants to blame another child if their child keeps getting in trouble (it must be that other child’s influence), wants to blame their lack of better nutritional choices on it being too expensive or my kids won’t eat those things, wants blame not exercising on not having enough time to exercise, and the best excuse/denial I have heard in the past 4 years is that “it will be social suicide if my kid is not given an iPhone”. In all of these examples, denial has just destroyed your chance for change or progress. I truly believe that enlightenment happens only when the egg of denial has been cracked open.
The common question that one asks if wanting to improve is “how can I do better?” But I am going to challenge you all to ask yourselves instead, “how have I failed myself, my child, my friend, my spouse, etc. today?” In owning where you have failed, you are able to crack open the egg of denial. If you ask, how can I improve, well, it’s easy to just keep living like there is no need for improvement. I believe that a healthy “gut brain” will always guide you in knowing where you have failed. So learn how to turn it on and listen. No need to beat yourself up, that was in a different blog, that is NEVER healthy. Your acknowledgement of your failure is to propel you forward, not set you back!
When a client is not reaching their goals, it’s time for me to ask myself how am I failing them. I can always think of an answer! Success will be more likely when one can embrace failure as a means to progress. Are excuses denial? Sometimes, but being mindful can distinguish between an excuse, denial, and a legitimate issue.
So parents, and non parents alike, it is our job to take the bull by the horns and control what we can control! Yeehaw! If you are failing yourself in taking care of your health, ask for help. Small changes over time can make a huge difference. If you really want to read about my parenting pet peeves of denial, then read on. But know that I am not in any way judging, these are my pet peeves and I am giving you the chance to stop reading or hit the delete button now!
1. If my child is spending too much time playing video games, watching TV or You Tube, has signed up for apps that I don’t approve of, spends too much time on social media, then SHOCK, it is MY FAULT. It’s my job to set boundaries with my kids, and if they do not respect the boundaries that I have set, then it is my job to set logical consequences, PERIOD!
2. If my daughter is wearing clothes that over sexualize her body, then it is MY JOB to try and figure out why she may be seeking attention or maybe I dress that way or maybe she is just proud of her body. In a perfect world, she could go out and every male out there would look at her for her radiant beauty coming from within, but we are just not there yet. So, if she is just trying to parade her pride in her body, then it is my job to have a conversation with her about what type of attention it might attract and possible messages she might be giving off. At least she can then make the choice as an informed teen.
3. It is my job as a parent to set boundaries around social media. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let’s all educate our children on the reasons why it is a bad choice to take nude photos and send them to ANYONE and why it is a bad choice to EVER forward a nude photo to anyone.
4. It is my job as a parent to decide at what age my child can have an iPod, phone, social media apps, etc., and my job to monitor their usage.
5. As parents, we should always check our own behavior first. How do I dress when I go out with friends or to a party. How do I talk to my partner or what language do I put up with. Do I tolerate my children mistreating each other?
6. I am responsible for teaching my kids empathy, kindness, compassion, service, tolerance, etc. All kids do not come by it naturally. If my kid is being an asshole, then maybe I need to look at/rethink how I am treating others or what I tolerate in my children.
6. If my child seems to be suffering from stress, anxiety, or depression, it is my job to eliminate the possibility of a chemical imbalance then to address the notion of stress and balance in their own lives. What is causing them stress and what is bringing balance and how do I help them navigate their world to shift the pendulum. Also, it is my job to address what they are eating, how much sleep they are getting, how much physical activity they are getting, etc. Diet, stress, sleep, and activity can all impact depression and anxiety.
7. If my child has terribly unhealthy eating habits, maybe I need to address my own or maybe I need to change what I buy at the store and provide at mealtimes.
8. If I want my child to not text and drive, maybe I should not text and drive myself. If I do not text and drive and I still have evidence that they are doing so, maybe I should go back to driving them where they need to go or making them pay for an Uber.
9. If I want my children to take responsibility for their actions, maybe I need to set a great example for that that looks like and check how I enforce logical consequences for their actions.
10. And last but not least, if I want my children to live a long active, healthy, and happy life, I need to set the example for what that looks like.
We are back this week for a full round of Perfectly Fit classes! I have a feeling I will be hearing all about where I have failed my clients or where my parenting practices need to be improved, but I promise I will try to embrace the feedback and make improvements! Also, be on the lookout for information regarding my Teen Summer Skills and Conditioning Camps. I am super excited to run these camps again!!
Don’t forget to sign up online at www.stellafit.com..
Hope to see you all this week!