Take Back the Power in Your Family: Tips from ‘Permission to Parent’

According to renowned expert Robin Berman, M.D.–you have probably seen her on TV–parenting has become more of a profession than a relationship. She’s written a popular new book all about it called Permission to Parent. Her no-nonsense approach encourages adults taking back the power in the family. Kids have become the center of the world–and Dr. Berman believes we need more balance. She offers tons of tips you can take home and put into action right away. This book can make you and your child happier while improving your relationship.

For a taste of her take on parenting, Dr. Berman compiled a list of tips straight from her clinical practice for Mom Must Read. Keep reading!

5 Tips for Taking Back the Power in Your Parenting

1: You would not feed your kids junk food all day, so don’t feed them junky thoughts.
How we talk to our children is how they will one day talk to themselves. You are the voice in your child’s head forever on automatic replay.  I beg you to delete from your parental vocabulary, “You should be ashamed of yourself,” and “You are so naughty, what a bad boy.” Is this what you want to teach your child about themselves? Think of choosing language as a way of loving your child. Take a moment to make your comments constructive. We want them to internalize a loving voice, not a critical one. So much of mental health is how we talk to ourselves.

2: You can’t parent without power.
Don’t be afraid to take your rightful position as captain of your family ship. Make sure your “No” does not mean “Maybe.”  If you set a consequence, follow through. Not finishing an antibiotic grows resistant bacteria; not following through grows resistant kids. Have a parent firmly in charge makes children feel safe.

3: Instructions for childhood should read, ”Handle with care,” not “Fragile will break.”
If you treat a child like they are fragile, they will stay fragile for life. Parents need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. You must be able to withstand your children’s disappointments and negative feelings without rushing in to fix them. If you can’t handle their charged emotions, how will they learn to?

4: When it comes to parenting, check your ego at the door.
If you are screaming play-by-play instructions from the sidelines and are devastated when your 9-year-old loses his flag football game, you have to ask yourself if this is really about your child. Children often learn best when no one is watching. Many children today are losing their natural instincts on the field, as they are so busy looking at their parents (who are living vicariously through them) for instructions. Always ask yourself: “Is this really about my child, or is it more about me?”

5:  Parenting is not a project, it is a relationship.
We are so busy running our kids from ballet to chess club. We forget best head start any child can have is a deeply loving connection to their parents.

Neuroscience research shows that a loving, safe connected relationship builds a more resilient brain.  So let’s slow down and spend more time just enjoying our kids. Childhood’s greatest legacy is how we felt loved.

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