Tell us about your proudest moment as a parent.
These moments are created each and every time I feel I am doing my best in being the best parent I can be. Each time I avoid saying things that are hurtful, and each time I work towards building a relationship instead of disconnecting, then I feel I am being the kind of parent I want to be.
My child has the right to be who they want to be, and my role as a parent is independent of them and their behaviour. My parenting is a reflection of me and the choices I make each and every time I interact with my daughter.
Yes I am super proud when I see her smile, her happiness, and her success…. but that is her achievement and life process. I am even prouder when I know that I will do whatever it takes to be the best parent I can be for her.
How do you develop close relationship with your daughter?
When it comes to relationships, I love the analogy of water in a bucket. You can put more water into a bucket to fill it up, and you can close the holes where the water drains out of. I have found there is an intrinsic “natural” connection and love I have, and then there is the conscious and committed connection I nurture. The natural connection is the default parental love, but the conscious connection is the effort I put into developing myself and my skills in becoming the best parent I can be. And this is learning the ways to boost self esteem and love, and also learning the ways to avoid (and repair) disconnection and hurt.
Why, in your opinion, is parenting so hard?
One of my favourite quotes goes: “It's only in relationship to others that we come to know ourselves and discover who we are as people.”
And with our children we discover the deep emotions that lie within us, and at times these emotions are totally contradictory to each other. Our challenges in parenting are reflected in our abilities to work with our intense emotions, and our willingness to take on learning new skills to improve our parenting styles. When a parent takes this on for themselves, then parenting is a fulfilling journey where there are still challenging situations.. but not bad or wrong ones.
In my international work with parents, we have all come to the deep conclusion that happiness as parents is not the absence of problems with our children, but in our willingness to work with, and through them.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in parenting? How do you deal with them?
My formula for overcoming any challenge is Awareness + Skills + Action = Possibility or “A+S+A=P” (because we want solutions As Soon As Possible). Every situation I find myself in can be resolved through this formula.
Awareness: I increase my awareness of what is going on? I explore what's working, and what is making this not work.
Skills: Then I find the skills that I can use in these situations (problem solving skills, setting boundaries, etc).
Action: Then I consciously and strategically take action of implementing the skills.
Possibility: And as a result, I get an outcome that works for me, and for my child.
My formula for overcoming any challenge is Awareness + Skills + Action = Possibility or “A+S+A=P” (because we want solutions As Soon As Possible).
What influences your parenting style?
I guess I would say that I am results driven. I do what works, and change what doesn't. And I believe that developing myself as a person is the key to supporting my child. I cannot support my child through any emotional situation if I myself have also not worked through my own emotions. I cannot expect my child to be self disciplined if I myself am not committed to that in myself. I cannot expect my child to achieve goals if I do not put in the time and effort to strive for my own goals. My parenting is a SHARED journey with my child.
What advice do you have for parents who have kids of the same age?
My advice for any kind of parent is the same. As we are all unique, and as our children are each unique, we look to finding the solutions that will take us closer to the results we want. And the more this parent believes, and takes action towards taking responsibility for that result, the greater success they will have.
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Proud father of two lovely kids, who at times pushed me to seriously consider editing out the word “lovely” from this sentence. (I am not alone in this.)