Recently I was interviewed by Anna Seeward on a podcast titled, Authentic Parenting. It is an excellent podcast for parents and Anna, who is a native Russian speaker now living in the U.S., does a great job. The link to her podcast is https://authenticparenting.com/podcast. I urge you to listen to get great information on how to become a more authentic parent.
Actually, I was invited on her podcast to talk about my book, GET REAL: The hazards of Living Out of Your False Self. Because of the focus of the podcast, I directed much of my remarks to parents who listen to her podcast, that actually is international in scope. If you want to find out more about my book, go to the Our Books section on this website at https://weinholds.org/our-books/.
What Constitutes An Authentic Parent?
One of the features of the interview was me sharing what I consider the Top 20 Characteristics of An Authentic Parent. In the podcast, I elaborate on each of these characteristics, but the actual list is shown below:
THE TOP 20 CHARACTERISTICS OF AN AUTHENTIC PARENT
- Show up and tell your truth. Walk your talk and be “radically present” in everything you do in your life. Speak your truth and allow yourself to be vulnerable and transparent. Keep no hidden agendas. The only thing you really owe your children is your truth.
- Make your children your top priority in everything you say or do. Do not let anything interfere with this commitment.
- Listen to your children with an open heart. Listen to them with an open heart and be present to receive them and whatever they are telling you. This also helps you listen to yourself and become more self-reflective.
- Trust your gut and follow your destiny. Listen to and trust the voice inside of you. Use it to create what you want & take the risks this requires.
- Love fearlessly and unconditionally. Love yourself and others, especially your children, unconditionally. Conquer your fears with love. Love is the best weapon to conquer your fears. Most parents are conditional in expressing their love of their children. That actually is not love; it is manipulation and control.
- Stay centered. Stay centered in everything you do. Recognize when your children pull you off-center, recognize you are off center and learn to quickly return to center. Do not engage with your children until you have re-centered yourself.
- Cooperate with others to get all your wants and needs met. Negotiate with others to get your wants and needs met in a cooperative, partnership way without interfering with the needs of others. Refuse to feel “victimized” by others. This will provide a powerful model for your children to follow.
- Connect the dots. Identify what happened to you as a child that still impacts your current life. You can do personal archeology to learn all you can about your childhood and how it has shaped your adult relationships and your life. The natural learning style of humans is to repeat anything that interfered with their normal development. earlier in your life. Learn the lessons from what is being repeated. You will be a better parent for it.
- Live a self-directed life. Take charge of your life without guilt and shame. Master being independent, while still sustaining intimacy with friends and loved ones. This is a model to pass on to your children.
- Know how to regulate your emotions. Learn how to calm yourself and quickly “regain your composure” when something upsets you.
- Know where you end and others begin. Establish and maintain a clear sense of your boundaries in your close relationships, particularly with your children.
- Engage in radical self-care. Take good care of your own physical, mental, emotional, energy and spiritual “selves.” You make it your number one priority. You do not let anything get in the way of this. Again, this is an important model to pass on to your children.
- Keep all your agreements with others. Keeping your agreements needs to be a high priority. When you need to change an agreement, you contact the person(s) with whom you made an agreement and renegotiate it in a way that is acceptable to both of you. Talk to you children directly and explain why you had to change an agreement you had with them and listen to their feelings.
- Resolve your conflicts directly. Resolve your conflicts of wants or needs in a cooperative way. Don’t triangulate with others.
- Be patient with yourself and others. Maintain good feelings about yourself and others even when either you or someone else “screws up.” Avoid harsh judgments and shaming yourself or others. Human beings are allowed at least 20% mistakes. Learn to accept your mistakes. Learn to be self-corrective.
- Take responsibility for everything you say or do. Own what is yours and give back to others what is not yours. Forgive (give back) to others anything they gave you or you took on from them that no longer serves you. Realize that it wasn’t yours in the first place.
- Feel and express your emotions. Share your deepest feelings with others, in appropriate ways. Be authentic with your feelings when relating with your children.
- Commit to taking back your projections. When you learn the signs indicating that you are projecting something about yourself onto your children, reclaim it (take back or “re-own”) your shadow parts that you have been hiding by projecting them on your children or others. Taking back also includes apologizing and asking for forgiveness.
- Give your children twice as many “yeses” as “nos.” Children before they reach the tender age of two hear the word no over 200,000 times. This means they need 400,00 “yeses.” At any age, make sure you give them twice as many positive as negative comments.
- Respond to their excitement and joy with empathy. When they bring something to excitedly show you, do not say something like, “Thanks for sharing that with me” or even worse, “Can’t you see I am busy, so don’t bother me.” The authentic response should be, “I see how excited you are with what you just discovered, it must feel great to be able to do that.”
Here is the link to listen to the interview: