Healing From Within – Strengthening Parenting Skills by Building Self-Awareness
Tom, who is a parenting and relationship expert and a leader in the field of addiction and self-help therapy, discusses bullying, anger issues and how to develop greater self respect and intimacy by allowing yourself to forgive and build on your strengths and at the same time to find ways to give more attention to your weaknesses.
Tom shares that bullying is an action of meanness taken against someone who the bully thinks he or she can take advantage of. The action can be accomplished physically verbally or in a neglectful manner. If bullies succeed in their actions without consequences, chances are they’ll repeat the same behavior again and again. Often if our parents and caretakers messages are negative in any way or inconsistent, we can develop an inner critic, become riddled with self-doubt and sabotage our lives. Bullies have powerful inner critics-inner bullies. This inner bully destroys the child’s self-worth and then he or she tries to disrespect the worth of others. Three of the main contributors to both the victim and bully mentalities in children are the home environment, the media’s direct or indirect messages, and finally how society functions. Bullying is often anger or lost of temper directed inappropriately at someone else. There is always unresolved feeling inside the acts of a bully. Many of us feel remorse when we act badly, but a bully has an internal deficiency of remorse and lacks empathy for themselves and others.
Tom mentions intimacy and what many might think a man or woman really wants in a relationship. Tom says, “Gifts are great, chocolates and jewelry…. but the real thing every human male and female is to be loved and known intimately. Unfortunately many people are afraid of intimacy as they fear rejection humiliation and ridicule and the loss of their inner self if it doesn’t work out so they subconsciously push their partner away. Tom suggests If you help your partner in those areas of their life where they don’t expect help they will be touched and moved by it. THE KEY IS TO DO IT WITHOUT EXPECTING ANYTHING IN RETURN. He offers tips to begin moving towards intimacy.
7 TIPS TO ENHANCE THE INTIMACY IN YOUR LIFE:
1 Create an Environment for Safe Communications In a healthy relationship both parties need to discuss the ways they can communicate with each other in a safe way. If not they will become victims to each other and communication will shut down. The rules could be that neither party will rage at the other or withdraw emotionally. This is the foundation by which the relationship is built.
2 Relationships are not always 50/50 In a healthy relationship there are times when one partner needs to contribute more to the relationship than the other. What may come easy to one may not come easy to the other and that is OK
3 Become Aware of the Version of Intimacy Each Partner Received in Childhood. Were your parents warm and close with each other or was intimacy something to avoid?
4 Be Aware of the Time Traveling Process…… This is where we confuse the voices from our childhood with those in our lives today. For instance, we may be very sensitive to criticism by our partner because we were judged harshly in our childhood. When criticized, it awakens old feelings and messages which will distort our ability to hear our partner and to share our feelings as well.
5 Do You want to be Right or Do you want to be close? Know when to relinquish the need to be right in your conversations with your partner and instead choose closeness by listening.
6 Help Your Partner without Expecting A Cookie in Return Just do the right action..
7 Be Aware of Your Inner Critic…If you have an inner critic that inner voice constantly telling you what you’ve done wrong—never allowing you to celebrate your victories, you will give that inner critic to those around you. You need to work on silencing that inner voice or that voice will sabotage your intimacy.
Our kids need and deserve the ability to make healthy choices…this is done by showing respect for their innate awareness of what is good for them and not guiding them to be like us or other people but to honor their uniqueness and magnificent soul potential for health and happiness. Happiness may not be the main goal as many think but developing our uniqueness and giving that out into the world in positive and productive ways that empower our awareness of self-worth and self-love is the key that we should help our children recognize and develop.
Tom points out that often when a child is born we find it difficult to avoid building expectations for the child, and unknowingly at times, these expectations are tied to our own failures and successes or the messages and training we had imprinted upon us during childhood. While we wish to guide and protect our children, at times we are filling them with fear and limitation, and not recognizing their resiliency.
Spoken and unspoken messages leave permanent marks on our children’s souls These messages create a story that plays within their minds and thinking throughout their adult lives. The looks parents give to their children send powerful messages. A look of disappointment on a parents face over a test score can diminish the child’s sense of worth creating emotional physical and spiritual damage.
As parents we influence the way our children perceive the world and the way the world perceives them. Our fears will have an impact on every perception they have. Simple messages can have lifelong effects. Protecting our children from feeling pain or sadness or disappointment or from dealing with life on life’s terms can create adults who can’t cope with life. The roles we play in our adult lives were formed in our childhood. At a very young age the child subconsciously absorbs the directions about the role the parent wants them to play that fits into the parents plan..since the parents are heroes to the child and the need for approval are so powerful, the child usually accepts the plan. However the more children feel unconditionally accepted and don’t have to fit into certain roles the healthier they will be. If this is allowed the child will not have to wear masks to seek approval for the acceptance and will create children whose insides and outsides match.
It is most important for parents to take an inventory of their own childhood: increase self-awareness and realize we need not think negatively about our parents, although, we can now see their fears and weaknesses and how that affected the messages they gave us. We don’t not have to hand down the same messages to our kids.
Our initial perceptions are formed in the home but the media also has a tremendous impact on the way we perceive ourselves and the way we perceive others. Television stars and sports celebrities have the power to influence our children’s perceptions. The medias message is not one that encourages healthier children…It only wishes to sell more products and television rating go up when celebrities bad actions and behaviors are exposed…
Sheryl Says, “This can be seen in the recent Presidential bid for the GOP and in general by all politicians who know that they can be elected by just dominating the media and it doesn’t even have to be admiral qualities they are displaying…. for the public seems to like a messy show. Tom wrote…. “ Real Heroes rarely lead our country: the people who do are only looking for something in return. What happened to helping others without getting anything in return…..As a society we’ve forgotten how to act properly. We’ve become self centered, lost our manners and learned to medicate our dysfunctions in many different ways…Social Media has become a very powerful and influential part of our society and can damage our children if not monitored properly…”
Getting back to how a bully can affect us all we are reminded that the winner and loser syndrome has enforced the bully mentality. Some children bully others because of their weight, clothes or physical differences. Children and adolescents who are not seen as part of the “winner” group may be treated differently. The media doesn’t do this directly but the underlying message that adolescents pick up is that they are either in or out….If they’re out, they are not accepted. In this case children aren’t accepted for who they are: rather they have to be what others want them to be. If we let our children know they are loved for who they are, with all their strengths as well as their weaknesses, we can have then stand strong in their own being… “Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.” (Les Brown)
The biggest changes that have impacted parenting in the last few decades are that both parents are often working, the advent of the computer and video games, and finally the role of grandparents. As society has changed, the father has begun to perform many of the tasks that used to be handled by the mother. This has hopefully created different healthier messaging to children. It shares equality and respect for both male and females who now share in developing their interests, work opportunities, and to break down stereotypes of roles by gender. However, as children’s freedoms have increased, their expectations of what they deserve may become distorted. Essentially the children begin to expect what they haven’t earned. This can lead to spoiled disliked and even anger that can be directed towards their parents or others as BULLYING.
Addictions are another ramification of social changes and family dynamics…Remember people are usually declared addicts if their compulsive behaviors become unmanageable…Often addictions manifest in one of the following three ways; 1. legal trouble or 2. The person’s actions hurt him or her in the employment or educational field, or 3. Problems in the family.
If you come from a childhood where there was addiction you may not have the same addictive behavior but may still have addictive tendencies….ex you can be a compulsive spender, have an eating disorder or overuse the Internet.
Tom writes, “Some ways to circumvent these issues are quality time and of course proper communication is essential. Parents need to tell their children that they wish they could spend more time with them. Even when schedules get hectic setting aside a few minutes each day to check in with your children needs to be a priority and then REALLY LISTENTING TO THEM WITHOUT DISTRACTIONS CELL PHONES TV OR FOOD DISCUSSIONS NEED TO BE SET ASIDE Taking kids for an ice cream or to the park to catch up on the day’s activities…a short conversation can carry a lot of weight Having family dinners and family nights are important. Planning trips that include every member of the family and their interests is important. Getting to the advent of the Computer and video games we must not allow this to be faulty babysitters. They are tools but need to be monitored…another effect caused by technology is the lack of physical interaction children have with others..Introverted personalities may be more prone to abuse these technological tools and may hamper social and emotional development…all children regardless of their temperament can be HARMED.”
Thomas Gagliano gives readers a very helpful guide for parents and educators to realize once again that the fears and limitations that were internalized in childhood passed down to us have often unconsciously created for them the same issues that have gone unresolved for the parents.
Thomas Gagliano has taken us on a journey of the experiences of childhood to look at the causes and solutions to so many issues that we all face as parents. We wish our children to have integrity honesty and to act kindly towards themselves and others but in a fast moving technological society there are many challenges your child will face while growing up and later on in life. Understanding the roles we play and recognizing healthy emotions will help our children find supportive groups of friends and to achieve the goals and dreams that they hold dear. Being the example for our children and helping them to trust themselves to make good choices is probably the best gift any parent can give their children.
Thomas wrote…. “When our children ask for help, we need to allow them to tell us what they think they should do to solve their problems before we offer solutions. We want to help them but not make their problems ours to solve. If we provide our children with a supportive environment when they fail, they’ll appreciate their victories even more. If we don’t provide a supportive environment, they’ll be overwhelmed when they go out on their own and they won’t be prepared for life. The world won’t treat them the way Mom and Dad do.”
Thomas and Sheryl would have you trust the intuitive wisdom of your child. They were born with everything they need to succeed find happiness and their place in the world, but we need to allow them to make their own way forward.