The ‘phone conversation had nothing at all to do with parenting – but it made me think . . .
‘Hello, Eastbank Football Club. Can I help you?’
‘Good morning, may I speak with the Assistant Coach, please?’
‘Oh, I’m sorry. He’s still on vacation.’
‘I see. Is anyone on the coaching staff there?’
‘No, they’re all away right now. The club’s closed for another week yet. I’m only the Groundsman.’
‘Well, thanks anyway. And hey, why say you’re only the Groundsman? If it wasn’t for you, there wouldn’t be a football club. They’d have nowhere to play!’
(Pause) ‘Yeah, I’d never really thought of it like that. (Laughter) Thanks a lot, pal, you’ve made my day!’
So often we do ourselves down, don’t we? We devalue our own contribution or service.
“I’m only a shop assistant!”
“I’m only a . . . ” (fill in the blank!)
Sometimes we even hear women say: “I’m just a housewife”!
Confidence and self-esteem are often in short supply these days. And nowhere more so than in PARENTING!
Even those who are superbly confident in their work or social situations, often teeter on the edge when it comes to their parenting skills.
Is it something to do with the breakdown in old-fashioned values and concepts of authority; the widening gulf between kids and their parents; the dangers we as parents are so acutely aware of, but which are casually dismissed by our kids?
Whatever the causes, there’s a lot you can do to improve things.
Dr Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power Of Positive Thinking, used to advise people to sit down and write out a list of all their assets and abilities.
But Dr Peale’s next suggestion is crucial. Once the list of assets and abilities has been written, he tells us to raise the stakes.
Simply BELIEVE that you are at the very least 10% better than you think. It’s now widely acknowledged in modern psychology that you’ll still be way off the mark! So have faith. You’re a whole lot better than you think.
Secondly, do some study. You probably weren’t taught parenting skills at school or college, yet parenting is the most vital contribution to society. There are lots of books, courses, tapes, CDs and videos on parenting.
No excuses! Grab some and get busy. Knowledge and insight bring confidence. Whatever stage you’re at, you can improve yourself.
Thirdly, learn to temper your reaction in stressful parenting situations. Easier said than done! But you can make a conscious effort to stay calm and remind yourself of Dr Peale’s advice (You’re more capable than you think you are!), and you can put into practice what you’ve been studying about family dynamics.
A fourth way to boost your parenting skills is to develop yourself in some way. Yes, remember those piano lessons you once took, or that art class you attended? Interests like these are great stress relievers and they build self- confidence – which is vital for parenting.
If you feel you’re already confident in other matters, but it’s only in parenting you feel a lack, why not take up some activity with your kids? Learning together brings you together, and can be great fun!
Finally, resist any temptation to go it alone. Nature intended us to be social creatures. Seek advice from grandparents, relatives, friends. Overcome your pride. Discuss your parenting challenges with others and draw on the communal strength. And d’you know what? You’ll find you’re not alone. Let’s work on parenting together, as a community.
Confident parents raise confident kids.