Written by, Kate Oliver, MSW, LCSW-C
I recently read a book by Don Miguel Ruiz titled, The Four Agreements. In this book, the author states that one of the most important things we must all do is to “be impeccable with your words.” This week, I want us all to use this as our affirmation:
I am impeccable with my words.
When you are using this affirmation, take a moment to think about what it means. It means that we speak truthfully to and about ourselves and to and about others. When you find yourself saying out loud or internally, “I am terrible! That was awful!” STOP and remember our affirmation this week: I am impeccable with my words. Are you really terrible? Was that really awful? Or perhaps would it be more true to say that you wished you handled something differently? Look at the difference between saying you are terrible and saying you wish you handled something differently.
Many of today’s parents of younger children are familiar with the recommendation to say to children, “I don’t like what you did” instead of saying, “Don’t be bad.” When you say, “I don’t like what you did.” a child hears you tell them something about their behavior. When you say, “Don’t be bad.” a child hears you say something about your beliefs about who they are. Being impeccable with our words is so important for us and for our children. My belief is that many of us work to be flawless with our words with children while we neglect the words we say to ourselves. I really want you to stop neglecting this part! Be precise about the words you say to yourself.
This week, whenever possible, take time to examine the language you use with yourself and your child. Work to be precise rather than over generalizing. Please refrain from using this affirmation as an additional excuse to be hard on yourself. When you hear the same old language come out of your mouth that you are beginning to see is not actually accurate, gently say to yourself “I am impeccable with my words.” and correct the language you just used with yourself or with someone else.
If you are looking for the book I mentioned, you can find it by clicking on my recommended reading widget at the top left of this webpage.*
- Parenting with Affirmations (help4yourfamily.com)
- Monday is Parent Affirmation Day at Help 4 Your Family! 6/25/2012
- Monday is Parent Affirmation Day at Help 4 Your Family! 6/18/2012
- Affirmations and the Parent-Child Well-Being (wholemeprograms.com)
From now on, Monday is going to be parent affirmation day at Help 4 Your Family. Sometimes I will share affirmations I have created and used, other times I will quote affirmations from teachers I have come to trust.
For this Monday, May 7, 2012 your parenting affirmation is:
My children give me constant opportunities to learn and grow.
Now, you know this one makes you smile, even when you are tired. I would suggest that, to make this part of your self-talk, you repeat it many times throughout the day. Say it to yourself in the mirror, and mention it to your friends in conversations.
If you have a parenting affirmation that you would like to share, please feel free to let me know. Maybe you will see it some other Monday
All the best to your family,
Well, I’ve been tagged by Rebecca from Mom meets Blog. What does that mean? It’s some kind of game in the blogosphere, and I’m a child therapist so I know games are good. Here are the rules of this game:
- Answer the question the “tagger” listed for you in their post
- Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer
- Choose 11 people to tag and link to them in the post
- Let each blogger know that you have tagged them
Rebecca was kind enough to allow me to choose a question. I figured since she listed me as the fifth blog she tagged, I would answer question number 5. It’s a good one. ”Was there a teacher who had a particularly strong influence in your life?” Why, yes, quite a few as a matter of fact.
I recently took a meditation class where the teacher, Claudia, explained about people with a name she pronounced ( ash-o-les). When she said it, I thought she was talking about her wise, spiritual teachers. The actual spelling of this word is assholes. In fact though, Claudia said that assholes have been some of her best teachers. Well, the same is true for me! They are, indeed some of our best teachers if we allow them to be. In figuring out how to live life with, around, and in spite of, assholes, we learn so much about ourselves, including our weakness, strength, resilience and even courage. I have had several teachers in my life who, I have to say, sometimes I thought were real assholes (and sometimes they really were). I won’t name them here- they don’t really need it. Most of them were wounded and were assholes because they carried the belief that whatever they were doing was self-protective.
Now, on to another great teacher for me who is most definately not an asshole. Well, not to me anyway. My mom thought he was a real asshole for a long time. She’s long since worked it out, but who can blame her? After all, she and my dad divorced back in the early 80′s after he came out of the closet. The non-asshole is, you guessed it, my father. Stay with me, I’m going to bring this right back to the beginning. My father is one of my greatest teachers because, among other things, he decided to be true to himself. Back in the 80′s, being gay was not considered to be too awesome. In fact, things were pretty hush, hush. My dad’s coming out caused quite a ruckus. He lost his marriage (and almost his children), and he came close to losing the private practice (he is a physician) that he started when his partners nearly voted him out. He has told me, in the many conversations we have had since about this time in his life, that he felt he no longer had a choice once he came to the late understanding that he is gay. In coming out, my father modeled for me how to stick with the strength of my convictions even though sometimes people are going to think you are an asshole.
I offer this to you, readers, as a lesson as well. Sometimes in life, we need to be okay with other people thinking we are assholes. It can save lives, literally. We can also learn that sometimes, when we think someone is being an asshole, they are just trying in the best way they know how, to protect themselves, or even save their own lives- even if it does not look that way from the outside. The people who think you are an asshole sometimes could be your kids, your parents, your boss or co-workers. They could all think you are an asshole when you don’t do what they want you to do. The trick is to figure out if you are doing what you are doing for the greater good and whether this is actually self-protection (or protecting your children) or not. I’m so glad my dad was able to weather that storm. His decision to be true to himself gave me so many gifts. I am also grateful and for all the other lessons he has taught me- like, that being honest is really the best policy, and how to maintain long-term, healthy relationships (he and his husband have been together for more than 30 years). Thanks Dad.
Now, on to the next part of the game…tagging others.
- Queen of Familosity
- Anger Management Chicago
- 400 days til 40
- Science of Mom
- One Inch of Grace
- Let Life In Practices
- Boundaries of the Soul
- Unhappy Mommy
- Danielle’s Story
There are so many great blogs to choose from! If I didn’t choose yours, or you don’t have a blog, feel free to just answer one of the following questions below. I pose the same questions (pick one or more) to the chosen blogs.
- What is advice you would give to new parents?
- How is your life different now than you imagined it would be ten years ago?
- Have you ever had a good lesson that came in strange wrapping paper?
- What is something you said you would never do that you now do routinely?
- What books are you reading and what do you think about them?
- What path did you take to do the job you are doing now?
- If you could change something about your life, what would it be?
- What is the best thing that has happened to you in the past year?
- What do you think will be different about your life in ten years?
- What is your favorite blog post ever, and why (you can include your own)?
- What is something about you people might not guess from your blog?
Today’s parenting tip that I have for you is so simple but it could change so many of the more frustrating conversations you have with your children. Are you ready? When your children are hounding you about doing something you don’t think is a good idea, instead of saying no and negotiating back and forth about when they can, how much, why not, etc. try framing the issue in terms of what they deserve. You know how this usually goes. You tell your child they can’t do something or they have to do something and they start to argue and negotiate. Why can’t I? All the other kids do! You’re mean! Until you wonder if it was really important in the first place, or their arguments become so darned sophisticated that they have convinced you to go against your better judgement in regard to their health and safety. Telling your kids what they deserve can end some of that and help you to keep focused on the main goal, the health and safety of your children. It looks like this:
Kid: Mom, the other kids in my class don’t have to sit in a booster car seat any more! (feel free to imagine this as a whine)
Mom: You deserve to be as safe as possible and the booster keeps you safe.
Kid: Why can’t I have another cookie? I only had a few!
Mom: You deserve to be healthy, let’s give your body the food it deserves.
Kid: Hey Dad, can I go to Joe’s party this weekend?
Dad: Will there be adults present?
Kid: But Dad! You don’t trust me?! I never get to do anything!
Dad: You deserve to be safe.
Framing your decisions this way will not save you from eye-rolls, huffing and puffing, or pouting all together. Nothing saves you from those things completely, but it may shorten some of the duration. It also saves some of the mental gymnastics for you. For every arguement they come up with about the same issue, you can stop and ponder for a moment, then repeat how much you feel as though they really deserve to be safe, healthy, free from hurtful relationship or friendships, etc. After all, it is difficult to argue back with someone telling you how important you are over and over. Also, remember that our internal self talk is shaped by the way we were spoken to by our parents. Wouldn’t you prefer that your child’s self talk as they grow be “I deserve to eat healthy foods” over “don’t eat that, it’s bad for you?”
- Two things your kids tell their therapists about you (help4yourfamily.com)
- Trash Your Behavior Charts! (help4yourfamily.com)
- This is your brain on attachment
- Last Chance for Two Great Opportunities
- Mother’s Retreat Weekend- It’s Really Happening!
- Stopping the Parent Shame and Blame Game
- Making Peace With Your Inner Critic
- Putting together something fun for you!
- Quick Jobs for Kids
- Staying Strong as a Couple
- Letting Go of the Parent You Thought You Would Be
- Add a Little Awe to Your Life
- Upcoming Trainings
- Older Kids with Bathroom Issues: Why Does it Happen? How Can You Help? Part 2