are you a good parent to yourself?

Today we ask that you learn to be good parents to yourselves.

Many of you did not have good parents, as children.  This is not a judgment of your parents.  In all likelihood, they had problematic childhoods of their own, and simply didn’t know better.  

A good parent is someone who creates a safe, stable, loving environment in which a child feels supported as he grows, learns, and explores his world.  The child always feels loved, even as the parent creates healthy structures, and boundaries.

It is actually extremely difficult to be a good parent, particularly in the world in which most of you dwell.  There are many negative parental models, but few positive ones.

This is because most humans do not love themselves.  It is impossible for any parent to express unconditional love for a child, if the parent is self-hating.

That is why you must work to become good parents to yourselves.  As an added benefit, being a good parent to yourself will automatically make you a better parent not only to children, but to anyone you are in a relationship with.  This is because almost all so-called adults are really like children, and are in desperate need of good parenting.  Being a good parent will help you flourish in any business, any endeavor.  

So what are the qualities of a good parent?

Good parents are patient.  They have cultivated the ability to remain calm and grounded even in very challenging conditions.  They know how to listen.  They are very attentive, and conscious.

Fears and emotions are not suppressed.  At the same time, the good parent does not give into a child’s fears.  A good parent knows that the monster under the bed is never real.  A good parent never tells a child that he is stupid or wrong for being scared of the monster under the bed.  A good parent simply shines a light under the bed, and shows the child there is no monster.  He will shine such a fear-dissolving light as often as the child requires this.  

A good parent creates healthy structure.  A child may have many addictive cravings.  He may want to only eat sweets, or watch TV all day, or not take a nap, or go to bed late.  The good parent does not let the child be carried off by his impulses and addictions.  

A good parent never attacks a child, or calls a child stupid, or ugly, or fat, or lazy, or a failure.  He never punishes a child with harshness or violence.  

Healthy boundaries never feel punitive or cruel, though it natural for children to throw tantrums in the face of boundaries.  The healthy response to a tantrum is firm, but loving — never cruel, cold, or aggressive.

Are you a good parent to yourself?

Do you ever call yourself stupid, or ugly, or fat, or lazy, or a failure?  

Do you create healthy structures for yourself?  Do you eat nourishing food, and avoid too many sweets, and go to bed at the proper bedtime?

Do you give into your night terrors and crazed fantasies?  Do you believe that the monsters under the bed are real and out to get you?  Do you know how to shine a light and dissolve your own irrational fears?

Do you punish yourself?  Do you attack yourself?

Are you patient with yourself?  Can you remain calm, grounded, and non-reactive, even if your mind and emotions are throwing a big tantrum? 

Do you love yourself, no matter what?

If people only learned how to be good parents, this world would be a far saner, healthier place.  

You don’t need a child to be a good parent.  You must start with yourself.  Then you can help the people around you.

Everyone in this world needs a good parent.  It starts with being a good parent to yourself.