Being a parent is a wonderful gift but can also be challenging and demanding. Have you ever asked your kids how they think you are doing as a parent.
A friend of mine Kay recently asked her 15 year old daughter how she was doing as a mother and was interested to hear the response. She was told she shouts and waves her arms about a lot. She wakes up every day moaning how busy she is but seems to spend a lot of time watching catch up TV. At first Kay was surprised to hear this. Kay is busy its true but did not realise how negative her behaviour was to her 15 year old. Her daughter then started to cry and said she missed baking cakes with her mum and having bedtime chats. Kay then started to cry and realised that she has been putting to much pressure on herself to be a success at work and a perfect mum. She then asked her 8 year old son what he thought about it. He said he likes it best when she puts him to bed and reads to him. He didn’t mention all the after school activities that took so much time and money. Kay realised a lot then about herself as a parent and what was really important to her and her family.
Bill, an unemployed father of 3 asked his children what they liked best about him and if there was anything he did that bothered them. He had been feeling very bad about himself for a long time being out of work and with little money to provide the essentials. He did however have lots of time for his children although much of it in a depressed state. What he learnt was that all his children loved that he picks them up from school and that plays with them and talks to them. One said he felt a bit upset around his dad when he just sits in the chair staring around. This information helped Bill to see that although he was not able to provide financially in the way he would have liked he was providing security for them on a daily basis, picking them up from school with lots of time to play. He told his son that when he is sitting and staring he is making big plans for the family so its nothing to be upset about. The knowledge enabled him to become more self-aware about his own qualities and skills in being a father.
Communicating with your children in this way is a wonderful opportunity to truly listen to what they think and this will help them to value themselves and their own opinions. It also offers them a chance to tell you about any worries they may have, being assertive towards you in speaking their truth. It also offers you the opportunity to be self-reflexive and self-development.
So, instead of just looking at how your children are doing try the 360 degree feedback and you can all learn something.
All names and identities are fictional
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