What separates good parenting from great parenting?Feb 26, 2021
This is part 2 of a 2-part blog series. Read the first part here.
Last week I asked the question, "what matters most in parenting?" and I'm so excited by the conversation this sparked all over my socials.
Here's what's been coming up:
- Kindness, both in actions and words
- Unconditional love and compassion
- Listening to and hearing your child
- Support and encouragement
Mmm, so good!
We already covered that being fabulous role-models is the most important key to great parenting. See part one where I introduce Dr. W. Keith Campbell, an Author, Speaker, Professor at UGA and Social Psychology Narcissism Expert. He is a nationally recognized expert on narcissism, society and generational change with over 30 years of research in his field.
So what else does Dr. Campbell encourage us to focus on?
He shares that parenting is more about interpersonal development and less about our ego. He offers us this fabulous mnemonic: C.P.R.
Check them out and use them to help you focus your priorities.
Compassion - This is the big one. Focusing on being nice. Teaching them kindness and caring, loving their siblings, other kids, and even animals. He suggests we just observe them in their interactions and we'll get a pretty good idea of where we're at and what work needs to be done.
Passion - This one he says people think a little less about. Passion is about getting really excited about stuff. Do your kids get into the things they're doing. Do they get really engaged? Do they try to get really good at something? Have they had experiences, that they created, that gave them satisfaction and enjoyment in life?
Responsibility - Taking responsibility for your life. Not just the good stuff when you can take credit for a win but also admit when you fail, own it, and keep going.
These three are a great buffer for narcissism. So if you’re worried that you’re raising an entitled little jerk take a look and see how you’re doing in your CPR. I can't wait to hear what's coming up for you!
Since learning CPR I’ve been reflecting on my role as, 'guardian of their soul' (my ego may be slightly overblown), and observing my kids from this perspective. Here are my takeaways.
With the compassion piece, I've observed some rude and mean behaviour, particularly when we're rushing and the energy is high. There's a slip into impatience with each other. I've found myself slowing down the frenetic energy (almost always in the kitchen) with full-stop moments (literally everyone in the room stops what they are doing).
I point out. "You had an opportunity to be kind and instead you chose to be mean, impatient, rude... etc."
Then they are expected to restore civility and order. I sometimes have to stand there and outwait them, uncomfortably, until their ego gets out of the way. They eventually get what's happening and they exchange apologies and explain how they'll do better next time. This has been powerful, incredibly annoying to them, powerful none-the-less.
Key takeaway: I'm finding anchoring into manners really helpful. Yes, I feel like Miss Manners and the etiquette police, oh well, I'll take it, it works!
For passion, this one is a little trickier. Yes, I love it, I'll admit it, it's my fave. Of course it is! Right? With a method called ShineOn™ and a passion for self-activation... I believe passion is everything.
It's where they find their zest for life.
You can't do this one for them. This one needs to be cultivated deep within. I do a lot of listening. I open my heart and I listen for the spirit of my child to shine through. When one gets excited about running yet another experiment or the other is all fired up to do some sort of art thingy, I actively listen.
Key takeaway: I catch that spark in their eyes and I run with it. I search for ways to support them. I ask them, do they need anything, tools, resources, knowledge? I show up as their biggest cheerleader and then get out of the way... sometimes run and head for cover out of the way (and that's a tale for another post)!
On responsibility, this one I feel is most lacking in parenting today. I believe it's because it requires parents to set expectations and enforce consequences. It takes the most patience and consistency to be properly nurtured. It's difficult to be so vigilant. We have to notice and point out when they are not taking responsibility. We have to recognize when they had an opportunity to take responsibility and instead are choosing to disconnect from the consequences. It's really subtle and can get missed.
Key takeaway: This one also requires a full-stop moment to assess what happened, why it happened, and what needs to change to course-correct. This needs to normalized. It can not be shocking and such a devastating experience that they screwed up. That makes them afraid to take chances and weakens their mental toughness. They need to learn to accept that they aren't perfect and that mistakes will happen. It's what they do next that really makes all the difference.
There's also one other thing that's involved here and that is parents taking it personally. Their imperfections are not a flaw in their character. They are young people, adults in practice. Parents need to be mindful that they not take a breakdown in their child's ability to take responsibility as a reflection of themselves their morals and values.
Accept that if your goal is to raise an incredible human there are going to make mistakes, there will be breakdowns and failed attempts along the way.
No one is perfect. In order to nurture and cultivate responsibility in our kids, we need to get our egos out of the way. I always reflect and just say, ok, so this is where we're at with this. I assess and set a course forward with my child. I never take the burden of the responsibility off of them. They have to carry that themselves. That's what makes them mentally stronger. I just guide and support them through it. I also set the intention with them, that the next time, I look forward to seeing them do better.
It's about playing a bigger game at a higher level.
We want compassionate, passionate and responsible young people so we have to be vigilant to what creates that. Parenting is a journey that's quite complex. I'm so happy we have each other to connect with. I'm also so grateful that we have great social psychologists like Dr. Campbell sharing these golden nuggets of wisdom lighting the path forward for us all.
To listen to the full interview that inspired these blogs, see episode #1545 of The Joe Rogan Experience.
Let's keep sharing and supporting each other. I look forward to continuing the conversation with you on my socials.
In the meantime, love who they're becoming, Lucy