I went to a workshop where participants were asked to reflect on the kind of parenting they had. It was a short exercise with a number of questions meant to get you thinking about the parenting in your home and how it affects you (and your parenting) today. Even though the exercise was breif, I found it very powerful and wanted to write a post about “Reflection Parenting.”
Whenever I interview teens and tweens for internships at Radical Parenting I ask them the question: “What is the hardest thing about your life; what do you worry about most?” So often the answers to this question are poignant, helpful and extremely relevant to parents. One of the answers I get frequently is something like:
“I wish my parents could really remember what it was like to be a teenager. Even though things are different today, I think if they could just remember sometimes how awkward, vulnerable, scared, excited they felt at certain points they would treat me differently. How do I get them to remember?”
Whenever a teenager expresses this sentiment I ask myself the same question. In fact, it was one of our founding principles here at Radical Parenting–we get teens to write to parents to help them remember what it was like for them and therefore they can relate to their child. I believe this attitude is reflection parenting because you are keeping your own experiences in the front of your mind when connecting with your kids. I wanted to list some of the powerful question from the exercise as well as some of my own to get readers thinking. Feel free to go through these questions and see if your answers from back in the day will inform your attitude and behavior towards your child today.
Questions Parents Should Ask Themselves:
- In three sentences please describe the most important lesson you learned from your mother and father.
- What was something they said, that at the time, you thought, “That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard?”
- What was something they said, that at the time, you thought, “Wow, they really know what they are talking about.”
- What is something you wish you could have told your parents, but never did–why didn’t you tell them?
- What was the best moment of your childhood?