What gets in the way of parenting at your best? When you lose it with your child, what caused that to happen? When you don’t feel up to parenting, today or any other day, why is that?

All of these questions plague parents. It’s in our nature to be better parents. Some days are better than others. Sometimes we can see exactly what the problem is, and sometimes we can’t. Perhaps you will find some insight on this list.

  • Insecurities – Those little things that have been gnawing at you for a long time. The things that others, including your children, use to take advantage of you. Learn what they are, resolve them, or protect them so they can’t be used against you.
  • Self-doubt – That little voice that gives you pause, that challenges your confidence. It stops you in the moment of decision from doing the right thing because of perceived inadequacy. Fight it, so you can practice doing the right thing time and time again which creates confidence.
  • Time – There just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. Time management and organization are tough for many. Sometimes it is a choice between time with your child or getting something done for yourself. Choose wisely.
  • Listening – I am sure you hear many things, but do you truly listen? Your children are always communicating their needs. Not always in the best way, but they are communicating. Listen to their needs, not their words or tone of voice.
  • Self-control – I’m not talking about chocolate here. Self-control in parenting is about making decisions based on what is best for the child or the relationship, not what they want or what you want. Self-control doesn’t always feel good, but it is more powerful than self-esteem.
  • Boundaries – Can you recognize when something is about another person versus yourself? Responsibility does not always rest on your shoulders. Let others be responsible when they should be, which will give you more time and energy.
  • Awareness – Being aware gives you choice. Sometimes we go through our day on automatic pilot, perhaps out of habit or convenience. Being aware could change the course of an interaction and spark a new journey for both of you.

Notice that all of those are things you control about yourself, not your child. Effective parenting is not about your child, it is about you. If you aren’t aware of how these things affect your everyday, I suggest you become a student of yourself. Study yourself, and how your thoughts and feelings and behaviors are all connected.

If you don’t know what is getting in your way, how effective can you really be?


Todd has been a therapist for over 20 years in a variety of settings. An unconventional therapist who tells the truth, Todd has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses, and authored his first book, Simply Relate.

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