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    9 months ago · · 0 comments

    Four Keys to Successful Parenting

    Want to talk about the best parenting skill you can absorb and take on board and live by? It’s the four keys to successful parenting!

    As a parent you are likely to be focusing on so many things that are not relevant. These things often lead you to feeling more stressed, more anxious and to develop unrealistic expectations for your children. In turn, these feelings lead to stressful parenting, rather than more successful parenting.

    A Happier Child

    In order to parent more calmly, we really only need to focus on four key parenting outcomes. These four outcomes end up resulting in a:

    • happier child
    • happier home life
    • more successful child
    calm parenting and successful parenting

    So what are these 4 key outcomes that lead to successful parenting?

    1. HEALTH – Is is my child healthy?
    2. SAFETY – Is my child healthy?
    3. HAPPINESS – Is my child happy?
    4. SECURITY – Is my child feeling secure?

    How you manage to achieve these four outcomes is up to you!

    Where is your parenting focused?

    We shouldn’t be focusing on what other people think about our children.

    We should be focusing on what our child needs in order to feel healthy, safe, happy and secure.

    YOU know your child best. You can take advice, read books, watch shows and seek professional help. BUT…. at the end of the day, as long as your goal is to end up with a happier, safe, healthy and secure child. You can know in your heart you are achieving successful parenting!

    As I’m sure that you’ve discovered, people are quick to tell you their opinions on how best to parent. However, every child is unique and what works for one, is not guaranteed to work for another!

    The Development of the Four Keys to Successful Parenting

    I developed the four keys to successful parenting as a system to achieving Calm Parenting. I realized very early on as a parent that most parenting books focus on the steps to achieving particular outcomes, like getting a baby to sleep. But what happens when your child does not follow the steps to achieve the desired outcome. For example, your child won’t sleep in a cot alone!

    Parenting books are good at proving guides to achieving an outcome – like safely swaddling a baby to sleep. However, there is a gap when the steps do not lead to the desired outcome. Such books just focus on a behaviour – SLEEP. So, the result is many parents, like myself, end up feeling stressed focusing on the sleep outcome without dealing with issues controlling sleep, like mood, temperaments etc.

    What we should be focusing on how to help our child feel happy, safe, secure and healthy – so that sleep will be much easier to achieve?

    Successful parenting and Calm Parenting
    successful parenting

    The 4 Keys: Detailed in the Book Perfect Mum: How to Survive The Emotional Rollercoaster of Motherhood

    I wrote in detail about the 4 keys to successful parenting in my book – Perfect Mum: How To Survive The Emotional Rollercoaster of Motherhood. At the time of writing that book I detailed a range of experiences I had in motherhood.

    One time my daughter and I went to the library. There was a little girl there. In the middle of looking at the books, my daughter decided to hit this little girl who was playing beside her. The girl began to cry. I apologized profusely of course to the mother and child and left wondering what was going on with my child.

    We returned to that same library a few weeks later. The same mother and child happened to be at the library again. My daughter spent no time repeating the same behaviour with the same girl. The girl began to cry. I apologized again, however, this time the mother berated me, saying I must be a terrible parent and that this child has a problem.

    The interesting part was, I went back to the library and I saw the same mother and the same girl and guess what? This time, the little girl hit another child and left her crying. I laughed a little bit to myself because by then I had research that little kids often hit other children to get attention because they don’t know how to express that they actually want to be friends.

    Coming back to the four key outcomes for successful parenting

    As a parent, I could have started to question myself, my child and my parenting by simply focussing on the outcome – the hit! However, once I started to evaluate my child’s behaviour based on the 4 key outcomes to successful parenting, I calmed down and was able to deal with things in a much calmer and proactive state of mind.

    Evaluating Events Based On The 4 Keys To Successful Parenting

    1. HEALTH: I researched childhood behaviour and realized this was normal. Yes it was something to address and change, but it did not reflect that my child had anything ‘wrong’ with her as the mother had originally suggested.
    2. SAFETY: The hit was not hard and did not cause any physical damage. It was definitely a shock for all of us and not nice for the poor little girl. However, no-one was hurt.
    3. HAPPY: I realized my child needed some teaching in how to make new friends. Being an only child at the time, we organized many more play dates after this. Needless to say, this hitting behaviour never happened again.
    4. SECURE: I made sure I separated the behaviour from her as a person. The behaviour was not acceptable, but she was still a good person at heart. This made it easier for her to listen, absorb and learn.

    Above I have analysed the 4 keys with simple questions

    Is My Child:

    • Health
    • Safe
    • Happy
    • Secure?

    These four simple parenting questions, led me down a much calmer and proactive parenting path. The outcome was a success and I learnt something very valuable about my child’s behaviour in the process.

    Becoming a More Rational and Calm Parent

    successful parenting

    When you look at the four keys to successful parenting, you can start to be more rational about how you respond. You can be more rational about your views on your child’s behavior and look at them in better perspective too.

    Hitting can mean a range of things. In this instance, my child was trying to get attention. In another instance, it might be that the child’s observing aggressive behavior and role modeling. It might be that the child’s feeling neglected and is acting out to get any attention. The key is looking deeper than on the surface.

    Regularly ask yourself these four key parenting questions

    The most important thing about these four keys to successful parenting is to assess and then only address when these 4 keys are not being met. For example, if your child is eating too much junk food which is causing tooth decay, it’s time to change eating patterns. If your child is often anxious, it’s important to address this and so on. However, if someone tells you off for giving your child the phone in public. Ask yourself, “is my child healthy, happy, safe and secure”? If yes, dismiss the comment!

    Your child is not going to be happy all the time. That’s not normal. Your child is going to have emotional reactions. But generally speaking, happy kids are talkative, they’re affectionate, they’re smiley, they’re playful, they get excited about things, and they generally engage with you. If a child is disengaged, then it’s time to adjust your parenting in order to support higher happiness.

    successful parenting

    Wrapping up the Four Keys to Successful Parenting

    So these four key outcomes to successful parenting are where you want to focus on in order to be a consistently calm and confident parent. It’s really simple. Regularly ask yourself … Is my child healthy, happy, safe, and secure? If something’s not working, just try something else until you get back on track.

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    4 years ago · · 0 comments

    How To Stop Feeling Guilty – Coping With Mother Guilt

    How To Stop Feeling Guilty – Working Mother Guilt

    As a working mother, one of the most challenging emotions to deal with is guilt. This negative feeling permeates through most of working mother’s lives, leaving mums feeling exhausted, anxious and with loads of self-doubt. However, no-one teaches mothers about how to stop feeling guilty. If guilt is not dealt with early in motherhood, it only gets worse and can significantly impact both personal and professional relationships.

    Why is guilt such a big part of motherhood

    How To Stop Feeling GuiltyOne of the biggest changes that occurs when you become a mother is this immediate sense of protection and responsibility for your child and his/her development. This instinct is seen in all cultures across the globe. Along with this instinct in human beings, comes judgement as mothers take responsibility for every aspect of their child’s life – from friendships, to academic performance and physical and mental wellbeing.

    The problem with this sense of responsibility is that there is no perfect outcome, or a manual to guide mothers towards the perfect way to parent in order the assist her child to achieve the best outcomes.

    There is no ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL. So mothers are left to judge themselves based on the opinions of others in their lives, social expectations, media portrayals of the perfect parent and on the ever changing landscape of research. The latter is often contradictory and very confusing and thus leaves many mothers stressed about whether or not their chosen parenting method is the ‘right’ one for their child. These feelings lead to constant guilt over whether or not they are doing the ‘right’ thing for their child. Further, mums are often too embarrassed to even begin to ask how to learn to stop feeling guilty in motherhood, for fear of admitting they are not perfect.

    Is it possible to learn how to stop feeling guilty when there are so many conflicting guides on parenting?

    Research into parenting is often at polar opposites. For instance, one researcher will find that babies should not be left alone for one moment. They should be carried all the time and co-sleep safely with parents. Another, equally respected researcher will find that babies are best placed in a routine, should be sleeping safely in a cot and this cot should be in a separate room. These researchers and popular opinion lead parents to have particular views on best parenting.

    These views often result in criticism of other parents for not adhering to perceived best parenting styles. For instance, stay at home mothers may assume working mothers are not providing the best care for their child, whereas working mothers may believe they are providing the best example for their child. So you can see why it’s so easy for mothers to feel stressed, depressed and full of guilt and self doubt. However, the reason for these feelings is that parents are focussed on the wrong aspect of parenting – the method, rather than the outcome.

    Low self-esteem: the culprit and the savour

    Research shows that women in general have low self-esteem (low levels of confidence, self worth and self belief). In motherhood, this level of self-esteem is tested even further. Mothers often find it very difficult to trust they are doing the right thing for their child. There is often self-doubt and worry over their chosen parenting styles. There is also a huge amount of self-criticism when things do not go according to plan or expectation (e.g. a child acting out in public, or achieving poor grades).

    However, those mothers that have invested in themselves to boost self-esteem and self-confidence find parenting much easier. They research the best parenting methods to suit their lives and their child’s best interests. Mothers with high confidence can block-out the opinions of ‘well-wishers’ and criticisers trying to tell them their way is the best parenting method. These mothers know that one of the biggest mistakes the population in general makes is assuming there is a ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL approach to parenting.

    Mothers with a higher self esteem know that children differ significantly due to their temperament, personality type, family customs and cultural and religious norms. Most importantly they know that the best way to measure a parenting style success is in their child’s level of health, happiness, safety and security. These are the key elements of parenting success.

    The key to good parenting and thus learning how to stop feeling guilty

    The key to good parenting is not whether or not you are using a particular method – it’s in regularly evaluating your method to assess the outcomes. For instance, regardless of whether you are co-sleeping or using controlled crying with your baby, if he/she is safe, secure, healthy and happy that’s all that matters.

    If any of these four elements are compromised, then yes it’s time to re-evaluate and modify your parenting style accordingly. Similarly, if you are working full-time and feeling highly stressed on a regular basis and you can see this is having a negative impact on your children, then it’s time to change something. If you’re working full time, but managing your stress well and have a positive and healthy relationship with your children and they are healthy, happy, safe and secure – you do not need to feel guilty and you do not need to change anything! The core element here is NOT working full-time, it’s the outcome for your child and for your personal health too.

    Good parenting comes from creating a lifestyle that best suits your needs and those of your family. That’s what really matters. What hold most mums back from trusting they can ‘have it all’ is lack of self-belief and an expectation that they need to live up to other people’s expectations of good parenting. In order to trust that in yourself, it’s imperative that you invest in yourself to build your self-confidence and self esteem.

    Begin building your self-esteem in motherhood now

    Download these two free books

    1. How to understand your child’s temperament from birth
    2. 5 everyday ways to add serious self-confidence to your life

     

    lizzie o'halloran - How To Stop Feeling Guilty

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Lizzie O’Halloran, Founder of Help For Mums