Parenting Skill: Turning Reactive Behavior into a Good Parenting Skill

Which one parenting skill will increase your effectiveness as a parent? It depends on what you define as "effectiveness."

If, to you, this means punishing or coercing your child into behaving, then this is not the article for you. If you've begun to realize that there must be another way and want to take the first steps in learning how to create a close connection with your child, please read on.

Before we explore this further, let's take a look at how a parenting skill is developed. Most of what we know about parenting is taught to as children. We learned to be a parent when we were children. Our parents taught us how to interact with our children by the ways in which they treated us in a variety of situations. Our little minds recorded every detail of these interactions. When our children misbehave, it triggers the old tapes in our mind and causes us to replay this behavior with our own children. Only difference is, this time, we're in charge.

This means that if your parents tended to scream at you when you did something wrong, you will tend to do the same with your kids. This doesn't mean you are a bad person—it means that in certain situations, you parent unconsciously—rather than responding to what your child needs, you react and rely on those old tapes in your head to tell you what to do.

If you've ever been horrified at your behavior with your child, then you know that after it is over, you feel as though you've just awakened from a nightmare. The sense of unreality is caused by behaving unconsciously, rather than being in the moment.

All of us rely on those old tapes to some extent because until we have children of our own, those tapes have not been accessed. When they do get played and when we find ourselves embarrassed by our behavior, we have the opportunity to learn a new parenting skill that will begin to overwrite those old tapes.

Learning a new parenting skill is a process. Like anything, it takes time and dedication, but nothing is more valuable. It's hard to put into words how good it feels to teach your child in a loving way—to be a conscious parent—rather than someone who reacts by pushing the rewind and replay buttons in our head.

When you take the time to develop one good parenting skill, you become responsive, rather than reactive. What this creates in your child is trust—the belief that you have his best interests at heart. What this creates in you is openness and the realization that as a parent, you may have a lot to learn, but it's okay because every time you take the time to develop a positive parenting skill, you are teaching your child to do the same and breaking the vicious cycle of abuse (and screaming, ranting and raving).

About the author: Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting . The book combines ancient native ideas (like stewardship) with heart-centered psychology that teaches parents how to overcome unconscious parenting and create a beautiful, mutual-fulfilling relationship with their child. Laura teaches a parenting class via teleseminar which means you can learn all about becoming a conscious parent from the comfort of your home. She is also available for speaking engagements. To begin a dialogue about hiring her for your upcoming speaking engagement, use the Contact Us link to the left.

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Copyright © 2005 by Laura Ramirez. All rights reserved. You may not copy this article in full or in part without the express written permission of the author, but you may link to it from your web site, forum or blog. parenting skill

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