Following my blog How to Raise Bully-Proof Children, one parent, who is familiar with the techniques I use, told of a bullying incident and how she handled it. It’s a wonderful example so I asked if I could share her story. I’ve changed the names to protect identities.
What if we really could raise children to be bully-proof – neither bullies nor victims? It must be worth a try.
What if we’ve got the bully / victim story completely wrong? This blog presents a radically different solution.
In this blog, I’ll explain the root causes of bullying and why punishing the bully and commiserating with the victims actually makes matters worse. I’ll show what both bullies and victims gain from their experience, and suggests five strategies for parents and teachers that will help raise children who are less likely to be bullies and unlikely to be picked on as victims.
“Mommy, I’m Bored!”
Now that it is mid-summer and the children are not in school, there’s a good chance you’ll have heard the words: “I’m bored!”.
There’s a likelihood that it’ll trigger you in some way and cause an irritation or worse. Perhaps you’ll feel guilty “Oh no, I’m not a good parent –otherwise my child wouldn’t be bored –I haven’t provided enough activities or encouraged sufficient independence for them to find something to do on their own!”
Job #1 then, is to process your own upset over the statement. Remember it’s about
In the previous posts, I have established that we all grow up with barriers to love that can be removed when we tackle our negative beliefs. In this week’s post, I’ll explain give some strategies for helping your children to own their Inherent Worth so that they can receive the love that you offer.
A child who has a strong belief that he is not good enough, bad, unworthy or any other belief, will find it impossible to let love in. That child will think, consciously or unconsciously “If only you knew how bad, unworthy, unlovable (fill in the blanks) I am, you would not choose to love me. You have to say you love me because you are my parent, but I can’t believe it.” This is the subconscious thinking of any child who has a strong negative belief about themselves. We may not be able to tell what that belief is, so the antidote to all negative beliefs is to own our Inherent Worth. We cannot be Inherently Worthy and unlovable or worthless at the same time. Therefore, it is imperative that parents spend some time helping their children to tune into their Inherent Worth.
"I don't trust people who don't love themselves and tell me, 'I love you.' ... There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt."
~ Maya Angelou
You can’t give something you don’t have! In order for any parent to be able to extend love unconditionally that parent must first love themselves. It is not possible for someone to love another fully without loving themselves. You can only really love your children if you love yourself.
At one of my recent talks on Unconditional Love, a mother told me that her young daughter had asked her “Mommy, who do you love the most – me or you?”. That mother had a difficult time answering her. She said “I love you to the moon and back, but if I didn’t love myself I wouldn’t be able to love you, so I love me just as much!”. That’s such a beautiful, but uncommon sentiment.
In Part Three we established that negative or limiting beliefs block love. In this section, I will show you how to find and fix negative beliefs using the Choose Again Six-Step Process (Diederik Wolsak). The method is applied to any upset however small, because these upsets reveal to us the feelings that we replay the most. These feelings are chosen by our beliefs. By following our familiar feelings we can retrieve early childhood memories in which we can discover the genesis of our beliefs and we can begin to transform them.
In order to learn to love unconditionally, you first need to discover the barriers that you have to giving love, and the barriers that your children or partners have to receiving it. The negative beliefs that you carry, often subconsciously, prevent you from having the loving relationships you want to have. I’ll show you how negative beliefs get started and strengthened, and how they block love.
In last week’s blog, I suggested that you take a quick quiz to determine where you are on the loving / fearful parenting spectrum. You may have been surprised to learn that fear plays a role in your parenting style. This week’s blog will explore the importance of learning to love unconditionally. I was able to learn so you can too!
“Hey, wait a minute,” you may be thinking “Of course I love my children unconditionally!”
I know I thought that – that is until my daughter went off the rails as a teenager in a dramatic way. The way back for our family was by learning to love unconditionally. We learned it the hard way and I don’t want that to happen to you.
We discovered that although we thought we were a loving caring family, and certainly anyone who knew us would have agreed, our parenting was largely fearful making unconditional love virtually impossible. We had worries about our children’s futures, and expectations of what that should look like for each of them. We felt we needed to shape them into fine humans rather than simply to accept them as they are. The good news for us was that it was possible with a few simple techniques, to learn to love without fearand to become more effective parents as a result.
You can do a quick assessment of how much fear versuslove there is in your own parenting style by taking the quiz below:
“Smile at everyone you meet, the gift of life will then be yours to give” - Nachman of Bratslav
When was the last time someone smiled at you? How did it feel? How do you feel when you smile at others? Have you ever smiled at someone across a crowded room and felt as if you’ve shared a ‘moment’ that is precious?
“Smile more – you won’t regret it!” That’s the advice I give parents who are having challenges raising their children. The reason? When things go wrong and life feels tough, it is easy to forget to smile, but our children are nourished by our smiles. Here are a few things smiles communicate to them:
I know firsthand the emotional and financial costs of having a troubled teenager and I don’t want that to happen to you. That's why I wrote my book What They Don't Teach in Prenatal Class: The Key to Raising Trouble-Free Kids and Teens (available on Amazon).