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What's My Job As A Parent?

Parents, I am going to ask a question and I want you to stop and think for a moment before answering.

What is your job as a parent?

Write down some ideas before going on.

Here’s what most people think:

  • To teach children right from wrong
  • To instill values
  • To teach them respect
  • To teach discipline
  • To encourage them to be confident
  • To love them
Are any of yours there? I could go on and on.

Here’s what I discovered. When I began my practice it immediately became apparent that clients who had relationship problems where they always met abusive or emotionally unavailable men had beliefs like “Men are dangerous” “Men are selfish and self centered” “Men have all the power” and “Women are victims.”

Clients who had difficulty standing up for themselves had beliefs like “I’m not important,” “What I have to say is not important,” and “People aren't interested in what I have to say,”

Clients who were stuck in dead end jobs or were afraid to take risks had the beliefs “I’m stupid,” and “I’ll never get what I want.”

And on and on.

So it became apparent that peoples’ beliefs about themselves and life, most of which are unconscious totally determine their behavior and their feelings.

And how did they form these beliefs?

From interpreting events that happened when they were children.

And fortunately it isn’t what happens to you as a child that stops you later in life, it is the conclusions you reach about those incidences that do it.

(That’s why it is possible for any of us to change ourselves later in life. We can always change the meaning we give to events but we cannot change the past.)

Imagine if I told you that Bill Gates had the following beliefs “Money is scarce” “Money is hard to get” and “I’ll never get what I want in life.”

Would you believe me?

Of course not.

And if I told you that I had a friend who was happily married to a wonderful man for 20 years. He was attentive, loving and giving but that she believed that men are selfish, inconsiderate and jerks that can’t be trusted would you believe me?

Probably not.

I've had clients with those beliefs who met a string of abusive men.

And isn’t that what you’d expect?

If my hypothesis is correct and people’s lives are determined by their beliefs than what is our job as parents?

Yup.

To facilitate our children to create positive beliefs about themselves and life.

And how do we do that?

That's what the other articles on this site are about.

There are things we need to avoid doing to keep our children from forming negative beliefs from our behavior.

There are things we need to do to help our children form a positive sense of themselves.

And there are conversations we need to have to keep our children from forming negative beliefs based on what they see happening on TV, school and in the world? These are the parenting issues I will address in the articles on this site.

If you have any specific questions you’d like answered please click on parenting questions to send me a note and I’ll make answering you personally and on this site a priority.