Vail Relationships column: The art of being your own parent
Attend the workshop
Neil Rosenthal will be offering a one-day workshop open to the general public. “Love, Sex and Staying Warm: A Relationship Skill Building Workshop” will be offered Saturday, April 23, in Westminster. For information and registration, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s note: This is one of Neil Rosenthal’s previously published columns.
Let’s face it. Not every parent knows how to parent well, and some people seemingly know nothing at all about good parenting. Some parents are ill equipped to be moms or dads — because they’re not ready to be parents, because they’ve had poor parental role models from their own upbringing or because they’re self-centered.
You cannot be a good parent if you aren’t in control of your own impulses, emotions or behaviors; if you’re intolerant; if you don’t know right from wrong (or wise from unwise) or if you don’t know how to love.
Many people don’t feel they got what they needed from their parents. And some people clearly never recover from their childhoods and remain forever wounded by what happened to them as children. So would it come as a surprise to you if I told you that you could, as an adult, be your own best parent?
You can guide yourself, coach yourself, teach yourself, nurture yourself, discipline yourself, hold yourself accountable and give yourself approval, acknowledgment and praise. No, you didn’t give birth to yourself, but you can parent yourself all the same — and you just might be a far better parent to yourself than your birth parents were.
Be your own best friend
I am my own parent when I refuse to let my fears stop me from going after what I dream of. When I actively look at what I can learn from my mistakes and failures without beating myself up about it. When I learn to like, love, respect and believe in myself. When I can be my own best friend. I am parenting myself when I believe in myself. I am my own parent when I behave and speak in ways that are loving and caring toward me and when I treat myself with kindness, goodwill, gentleness and benefit of the doubt.
I am parenting myself when I encourage myself to become a participant in life rather than an observer, when I quit wasting my time on things that do not genuinely serve my best interests, when I accept responsibility for my life and the direction I am heading and when I quit blaming other people or unfortunate circumstances for my situation in life.
Rise to the occasion
Finally, I am my own ultimate parent when I regularly rise to the occasion and hold myself accountable for what needs to be done, when I quit doing things that hurt me or others, when I quit allowing my negative emotions to get the better of me, when I act with integrity and honor in my dealings with others, when I refuse to be in an adversarial relationship with myself and when I fully open myself to loving and to being loved.
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Westminster and Boulder. His column is in its 25th year of publication. You can reach him at 303-758-8777, or email him through his website at http://www.heart relationships.com. The second edition of his book “Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Creating A Vital Relationship” recently hit the No. 1 best-seller list its first day of release, both nationally and internationally, on Amazon.