Monday, March 5, 2007

Parenting Lessons

With five children and nearly twenty years of marriage, I have come to realize that you do get to know your kids. You get to know how they act, how they think. The differences between each one.

Watching they way they react is fun in a way. Under the same circumstances they come up with completely different results.

But all in all this day to day experience does come with a learning curve. And after a time you find there are a few lessons you can pick up.

* Don't Jump to Conclusions. I love this one. It applies not only to your children and to your spouse, but to everyone. As for your children, you can easily jump to conclusions, because you know them, and they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. And then with a little research you find you have really put your foot into it. It wasn't Jane it was Joe.

* Don't Be Hasty. An easy way of looking at this is: Slow down, I'm in a hurry!

* Don't Judge. This is my all time favorite. Perhaps because I`m tempted to do this. It really makes a difference on your outlook, how you act or react, the outcome and above all the future relationship. If you judge a person, you have in effect closed the doors. Judgment implies a guilty / not guilty stance.

- Not guilty, which is far easier to live with, is an OK, a good mark. (But still implies the other went through a process where there was doubt).
- As for guilty, well, some sort of sentence will come forth. From forgiveness to outright life sentencing.
- With a little effort, based on awareness of one`s mental process, the end results of looking at the whole picture will have a better chance of positive results, with a long term relationship intact. In addition to that personal, long term view, this allows you to be much more objective. This objectivity, even if it sounds a contradiction in terms, allows for the personal approach as the decision making can take into account individual needs and impulses, without the emotional weight of a judgment.

Having said all that, there are moments when a parent reacts with what seems a contradiction to all the above. It is a fast reaction and appears impulsive. In actual fact, it can be an intuitive reaction. A parent's intuition, and notice this implies not only a woman's, but also a man's intuition (but that is a subject for another blog), is based on reading the signs very quickly, and most of these are the non verbal kind. This reading of the signs is contrasted with the knowing of the person.

And the point I am trying to make with a parent's intuition, is that:

* Don`t discard it. Look into it.
* If there is smoke, there is fire. If you as a parent, feel there is something wrong, it usually means you are reading the hidden signs. Trust your self and your feelings, then apply the don't jump to conclusions and don't judge rule.
* Once you have perceived the feeling, the intuition, review it consciously.

A couple of examples on intuition.
1. We felt something was going wrong with P., before having any kind o proof or knowledge. Amore, had the strong "intuition".
2. We recently had to make some choices with C., our middle child. I just didn't feel comfortable with the obvious one, but couldn't put why into words. We went with the obvious, and really messed it up. What did help though, is we were able to correct very quickly as I had my doubts previously so I was ready for a quick reaction.

So, in a nutshell: Trust your intuition, don't judge, don't jump to conclusions and slow down - you are in hurry.

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