Powerful lessons on parenthood from a family counselor (and a parent) - New York News

Powerful lessons on parenthood from a family counselor (and a parent)

Updated:

By: Aaron Anderson, FamilyShare

As a marriage and family therapist, I am frequently asked questions about parenting, families and children. These questions come at all kinds of unusual times and places. They come from friends around a barbecue, from acquaintances on Facebook, and even when I'm standing in line at the grocery store making chit chat.

Of all the stories and questions, one of the most common questions that I get is about how they can help one of their children who is going through a hard time. But this is one of the hardest things for me to answer. I have a hard time answering as a therapist. After all, that's the information they're looking for. But the most important information that I have learned in parenting children doesn't come from my schooling at all. It comes from my own experience as a parent. Below are the 3 most valuable insights that I have learned as a marriage and family therapist about being a parent.

3 important insights on parenting from a marriage and family therapist (and a parent.)

1) First, show love. Then, show anger. As parents, when we see one of our children do something wrong, one of our first inclinations is to ground him or otherwise punish him. We want him to know he did wrong, and we want him to learn not to do it, again. In school, I was taught that negative consequences extinguish bad behaviors. But as a parent, I've learned that an ounce of love is worth a pound of punishment. If you can show your child love first when she makes a mistake, she'll remember that a lot more than what a "jerk" you are for grounding her. And she'll be more likely to accept the punishment you give her afterwards, as well.

2) Play with your children more. Children love to play. They love to run, climb fences, swing on swings, etc. And nothing is more to them than when you play with them. As a grown up, they know you're busy. So when you play with them, it shows them how much you love them. Even as teenagers, they like to play with you. They may not want you to swing them on a swing anymore, but you'd be surprised what a kick they get out of watching you trying to play the XBOX with them.

In school, I was taught that children learn through play. They learn spatial reasoning by running and jumping. They learn social skills by negotiating with others who they're playing with, etc. But as a parent, I've learned that nothing draws me closer to my children than when I play with them. They're some of the best memories that I have, and I'm surprised at the memories they remember about simple times when we played together, too. Here are some tips on how to be a dad, not just a father.

3) "No success outside the home will ever compensate for failure inside the home." - David O. McKay, public speaker, educator. As a marriage and family therapist, I love what I do. I've appeared on TV, several radio shows and I am regularly asked to write articles all over the web. I leap at these opportunities because I am passionate about what I do. But when I get too passionate, I am reminded by my children to focus more on my home life.

In school, I learned that children who have parents that are less available feel anxiety and even exhibit behavioral problems, as a result. As a parent, I've learned that when I get too busy with my work, my children are unhappier and crankier. And, so am I. Even though I love helping others through my work, I am no happier than when I am spending ample time with my family - and neither are they.

Even though I am a therapist, the most valuable lessons I have learned about family didn't come through textbooks or seeing clients, they have come within the walls of my own home. These 3 lessons are some of the most important ones I've learned as a therapist and as a parent.


Original Post

Copyright 2013 Deseret Digital Media, Inc.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Andy Golub's NYC Bodypainting Day

    Andy Golub's NYC Bodypainting Day

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:43:52 GMT
    The saying art is autobiographical takes on a whole new meaning when your canvas is a fully nude human body, as it is for artist Andy Golub. Andy along with 30 other artists and 45 Technicolor models paraded around several Manhattan hotspots over the weekend for NYC Body Painting day. Believe or not, this is completely legal in New York City.
    The saying art is autobiographical takes on a whole new meaning when your canvas is a fully nude human body, as it is for artist Andy Golub. Andy along with 30 other artists and 45 Technicolor models paraded around several Manhattan hotspots over the weekend for NYC Body Painting day. Believe or not, this is completely legal in New York City.
  • Protestors rally against NYPD's 'broken windows' policing

    Protestors rally against NYPD's 'broken windows' policing

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:07 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:07:39 GMT
    Emotions about police brutality were still raw at a protest in Harlem Wednesday night. Eric Garner died after police put him in an apparent choke hold. Cops stopped garner for the minor offense of selling loose cigarettes in Staten Island. Officers had been enforcing the so-called broken windows policy.
    Emotions about police brutality were still raw at a protest in Harlem Wednesday night. Eric Garner died after police put him in an apparent choke hold. Cops stopped garner for the minor offense of selling loose cigarettes in Staten Island. Officers had been enforcing the so-called broken windows policy.
  • Fatal skydiving accident on Long Island

    Fatal skydiving accident on Long Island

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 9:13 PM EDT2014-07-31 01:13:49 GMT
    Police on Long Island say one person has died and another has been seriously injured in a skydiving accident. Riverhead police say it happened at about 4 p.m. Wednesday at Skydive Long Island in Calverton. Police say the injured person was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital in critical condition.
    Police on Long Island say one person has died and another has been seriously injured in a skydiving accident. Riverhead police say it happened at about 4 p.m. Wednesday at Skydive Long Island in Calverton. Police say the injured person was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital in critical condition.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices