10 Minute Parenting
Penny Cohen, LCSW
Two women are talking on the phone about their busy lives. Jennifer complains to Sue, “I have to leave for work by 8:00 AM. But first I dress and feed David and get his lunch ready. Then I have to drive him to the baby sitter across town. I work all day then I’m supposed to pick David up at 6:00. But it seems that something always comes up, either a deadline at the office or traffic. By the time I get him, I’m so hassled I just want to scream. Since Bob doesn’t get home until after 8:00 I have to get dinner, clean up and put David to bed myself. I try to find quality time for David but it seems impossible.”
Sue agrees. “Even though I don’t work, with three kids I’m always playing catch up. Mornings are impossible. Heather wants me to help her dress and do her hair. The baby needs to be changed and fed. Andy is busy watching cartoons instead of getting ready for school. Getting the two older ones to the bus on time with homework, lunches and books in their backpacks is a circus. When they come home from school it’s even worse. Heather has gymnastics and Andy has soccer. The baby is learning new things everyday and I seem to be missing it. Having individual time with each one is a joke.”
Being a parent has never been easy. In today’s world with so many stressors like both parents working, single parenting, and the general fast pace of life, there’s little time to be a “good parent,” or so people think.
What does it mean to be a good parent? Most of us want to help our children grow up to be self confident, self sufficient, responsible and happy adults. Accomplishing this takes a lot of time and effort. Everyone talks about needing to give children quality time. But today who has that time to give?
The secret is, no matter how busy we are we already spend a great deal of time in the company of our children. Just think about it: mornings, meal time, bath time, bed time, TV time, homework, chauffeuring, shopping, weekends, illness, vacations and more. The question is, how can we make the time we already spend with our children more satisfying and enriching.
How To Spend Valuable Times With Your Children
In Short Snipets Of Time
Getting Connected paying full attention to our children the time we are with them.
Developing An Effective Parenting State of Mind: Set the intention to love, support and guide rather than control.
Ridding the ghosts of the past. “I sound just like my parents.” Process your unresolved issues with your parents, which you might be repeating with your own children unconsciously – or even consciously.
Accepting your children just the way they are. Ridding yourself of perceptions, expectations, judgments, and criticisms.
Guide with love not power: Having the intention to love, listen, validate and empathize rather than lecture and demand.
Laugh at yourself and make your family life fun and enjoyable. Take yourself lightly by forgiving yourself and when you are with your children intend to make it fun and inspirational.
Find activities for fun and reward. Engage in valuable conversation that can be inspirational, informative or just plain silly. Of course depending on age, you can discuss how to get something, perhaps at dinnertime ask each other what was negative and positive about their day, or bedtime play games of asking each other questions about yourself – favorite interests, pastimes, hobbies, etc. These all make the short periods of time together valuable.
I invite you to start the process of getting connected to your children by setting the intention to do so rather than putting yourself down for not staying connected and resenting them for needing your time.
Keepin in touch and in love,