There’s a lot of talk these days about the importance of having a good immune system and how to build up one’s immunities so that they can resist illness.
Our family has strived, through vitamins, good food, natural supplements, and exercise to make our immune systems as strong as possible. We want to be able to fight off Covid-19 or any other sickness that we encounter.
As parents, there are some other immunities we should be working on, ones that have nothing to do with our physical health and everything to do with our emotional and mental health.
In addition to being a parent for 33 years, I’ve worked with many parents over the years, and I’ve seen the harm that emotional “infections” and “toxins” can bring to a person, and to the whole family. If you are a parent who wants to have a healthy, hap-py home life, you must become immune to the toxins that can overtake you. These are four of them:
I fell into this trap too often and I still have to catch myself from doing it even now. I was tempted over and over to compare my more subdued personality to other more “fun” moms; I felt I couldn’t possibly measure up to their creativity and outdoing personali-ties. Who doesn’t want to be that “fun mom” that kids all like to have around?
That toxic thinking leads to pity parties and ultimately hurts your children. They need a parent who is secure in who they are, who sets an example of not trying to be some-one they are not.
If you find yourself falling into the comparison black hole, it’s time to take a good, long look at who you really are and acknowledge your uniqueness, including your strengths and talents. They ARE there, if you will just admit it.
Perfectionism is exhausting. It wears kids out who are trying to live up to a parent’s perfections and it tires out parents who demand it from others and themselves.
The pressure to become better and better has turned into an epidemic. The World Health Organization links severe anxiety disorders to the ridiculously high standards we set for ourselves and for our kids. And the thing is that perfectionism rarely pro-vides personal satisfaction–instead we are constantly being disappointed with our-selves and/or our kids because no one can live up to perfection!
Brene Brown, a professor at the University of Houston, explains the difference be-tween perfectionism and striving for excellence: “Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfection is not about healthy achievement and growth.”
Unfortunately, perfectionism is used by people to protect themselves from the discom-fort of being vulnerable and from being blamed or judged by others.
The mistake most people make is believing that a meaningful life needs to be perfect — perfectionism doesn’t allow them to see the value in ordinary things. The energy behind perfectionism comes mainly from a desire to avoid failure. We must shift our focus away from the disastrous possibilities to what we might learn from it instead. (Psychology Today)
I’ve met with many parents who asked for help to “fix” their child. They wanted the ide-al “punishment” to curb their child’s actions or a parenting strategy that would miraculously change their child’s behavior.
But in real, honest, long-lasting parenting, there are no quick fixes. Parenting for the future is messy, hard work and requires persistence to keep on doing what you know is the right thing to do, even if it seems to be doing no good.
Parenting is not just one conversation. It’s 18+ years of conversations. It may take weeks, months, even years, to “fix” a child’s behavior because long-lasting effects speak to the heart of your child and they take longer than simple behavior modification. Quick parenting fixes are more convenient, but they may barely scratch the surface of your child’s soul, and therefore do not have life-long impacts.
Parenting peer pressure
Yes, there is such a thing. It’s related to comparison, but also includes the desire to be accepted, the need to be seen as a cool or good parent, and the belief that “if others are doing it, it must be okay.”
I see this a lot on Facebook. Parents asking other parents what they are doing about sending their kids back to school, about face masks, about letting their kids hang out with friends or go to birthday parties. They need to hear everyone else’s opinions before they can determine their own.
When it comes to families, there should be no such thing as peer pressure. Your family rules, disciplines, and decisions should be just as unique as your family. You do YOU as a family because it’s best for your kids, not because other parents are doing it.
You may be alone in your decisions, or not. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you know your children well and are committed to doing what is best for them to grow and learn, not on what other families are doing.
How to build your immunities
Medical and nutritional experts tell us that the best way to build our physical immune systems is to get enough sleep, limit our intake of unhealthy foods (like sugar), exercise, and fill our bodies with the right kinds of food, and drink plenty of water.
It’s all about what you let into your body.
It’s the same with your mental and emotional immunities. It’s all about what you let into your life, into your mind, and into your heart.
What kind of people are you listening to?
What kind of books, TV, movies and music are you listening to?
Are you spending too much time listening to the news?
Do you keep company with people who are consistently negative?
Those are the toxins that will break down your emotional and mental immune systems. Pay attention to what you are letting into your life; it will determine how well you fight off mental and emotional “diseases.”
Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.