We recently met a man on an airplane who proudly informed us, "Spanking worked for my grandparents, was used on me by my parents, and I am upholding the family tradition. What worked for them will work for me."
What this young parent doesn't grasp is that spanking did not work for any of the generations he mentioned. It failed miserably to show children a model other than "might makes right." It failed to produce grownups who felt no need to hit their own children. It failed to create adults who were skilled enough at parenting not to have to resort to physical punishment. In each generation spanking failed to help children grow into the type of parent this world so desperately needs, one who models a respect for human dignity even in the midst of holding children accountable for their actions. It failed to break the chain of unskilled parenting.
Do you want to create something new for yourself as a parent and for your children? If so, it is important to pay attention to your thoughts. Perhaps this is the time to discard some of those old, dysfunctional thoughts and turn them in for new, more helpful ones. Consider the following suggestions.
If you have been thinking your job is to insist that children follow an outside authority and learn to obey, consider changing your thoughts to thinking your job is to help children develop their own inner authority.
Do you think the most important part of what just happened with your children is what you do about what just happened with your children? If so, why not alter that thought? Think instead that the most important part of what just happened with your children is how you choose to be in response to what just happened.
Do you think judgmental thoughts about mistakes your children make, seeing mistakes as bad and as behavior to be avoided? If so, 2009 could become the year to think of mistakes as learning experiences and opportunities for teaching.
If your thoughts reveal a demand that your children think, feel, and act the way you do, rethink that traditional parenting position. Take an uncommon parenting approach by thinking thoughts that recognize that your children are different from you, and encourage them to become their own person.
A thought system that continually looks for your children to improve can be altered to one that helps you look inward to examine your own beliefs, skills, and attitudes about parenting. By altering your thinking, you can come to believe that in order to raise children who grow up to be like no one else, you have to first raise yourself by working to raise your consciousness so you can parent like no one else.
Do you think it is your job as a parent to fill your children up with goodness? Think instead, in 2009, that your real job is to find the goodness in your children that already exists and allow it to emerge.
The important change you are looking for may well be a change emanating from deep within yourself. Remember, you can think whatever thoughts you want about the sacred role of parenting. And you can believe whatever you want to believe. Choose carefully, because what you think and believe you will create as true for yourself.
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose. They also publish a FREE email newsletter for parents and another for educators. Subscribe to them when you visit, www.chickmoorman.com or www.thomashaller.com. Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are two of the world’s foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. For more information about how they can help you or your group meet your parenting needs, visit their websites today.