This is the last installment in the “I’m OK, You’re OK Parenting” series. To wrap up, I want to share some beliefs that have helped me as a parent, and also many of my clients, to adopt an I’m OK, You’re OK parenting mentality.
The best way to overcome guilt and shame is to adopt beliefs that strengthen our view of ourselves as OK (I’m OK) and of others as OK (You’re OK) – The I’m OK, You’re OK mindset. There are many ways to identify whether you are in another frame of mind. For example, If you are upset, or disappointed, if you lecture your kids, or want them to do something they do not want to do, if you are threatening them, punishing them, shouting at them or if you want to teach them a lesson, if you shame them, use name calling, or ridicule them, and if you think life needs to go your way “or else”, this generally means you are not in the I’m OK, You’re OK mode. This means your child is also learning this mindset and will most likely not be in the I’m OK, You’re OK mode either.
I have no right, by anything I do or say, to demean a human being in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him; it is what he thinks of himself. To undermine a man’s self-respect is a sin.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery
An I’m OK – You’re OK mode helps parents raise happy, successful and healthy kids. It may not be realistic to expect to be in this state of mind 100% of the time, but even being in this state most of the time will help kids develop resilience and high emotional intelligence.
The language people use reveals a lot about their parenting mode. There are certain thoughts and beliefs that support an I’m OK – You’re OK mode. If we have these thoughts as parents, it is easier to pass them on to our kids through modeling.
It is true that some parents who have experienced a lot of shame and guilt in their lives may find an I’m OK – You’re OK framework hard to sustain. But it is not impossible. If you are such a parent, this is your opportunity to stop the cycle of parents who feel they are “not OK” who raise kids to think they are “not OK”, who raise kids who feel they “not OK”, etc.
Here is a list of beliefs I found to be useful for myself, my kids and my clients to adopt an I’m OK, You’re OK mentality. Sometimes a deep understanding of just one of them can do the trick.
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
– Lao Tzu
- We always do the best we can with the skills, abilities, fears, knowledge, mindset, upbringing and support systems that we have. We do our best and it always means that others do their best as well.
- Yes, sometimes doing our best is not enough, but we cannot go backwards in time to change what we did. So we can use our experience as a learning opportunity.
- If there is something I regret, I comfort myself with the knowledge that I now know something I did not know before. I can use this knowledge next time
- All of my feelings are messages that my body sends in order to guide me. I need to learn to listen to them, accept them and use them as a compass. I respect everyone else’s feelings and accept their ultimate right to follow their own compass.
- I do not expect others to do things I cannot do myself.
- I do not expect others to be what I cannot be myself.
- If I want others to give me something, I first need to give and then I will receive.
- I am free to feel, think and be whatever I like, and so are others around me.
- Happiness is a birthright and everyone deserves it.
- No one is perfect and that is what makes the world a perfect place. Therefore, I am perfect, even with all my faults, and so is everyone else.
- Whatever others think about me is their opinion. I do not have to agree.
- I am human, not a judge. I do not have the right to pass judgment on others.
- Every person, whether young and old, is powerful beyond measure and has a light inside that allows their power to come through. I control my light and I respect others’ right to keep turn their lights on and off.
- My way of doing things is only one way to pass through this life. It is not the only way, the right way, or the best way. There are many ways to reach heaven on earth. I chose my way and allow others to choose theirs.
- Happiness is a choice! I choose to be happy!
There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.
- I do not know everything and that is OK. Life is a journey of discovery. If we knew everything life would be boring.
- People are different.
- Every thought or a feeling is an interpretation of reality the way I observe it. Every thought and feeling is unique, much like a finger print. It cannot be duplicated by others who have experienced different lives. There are as many interpretations as there are people on earth. Mine is just one of them.
- My worth is my own and I determine it by my values.
- I see beauty in all.
- I aim to express my true self. “Should have” and “would have” are the words of the broken, hurt identity. I eliminate them from my vocabulary.
- I am grateful for the abundance in my life.
- I am the creator of my destiny as is everyone else the creators of their own destinies.
- Life is not about what happens to us but what we do about it. I choose optimism, love and happiness.
- Kindness is the answer to the pain in the world. First, I need to be kind to myself, the rest will follow.
- Pain and happiness are projections of my true self. What I see in others is a projection of what I see in myself.
- Comparison brings misery and pain. We are unique beings and no two people are alike. I do not expect others to think, believe and act like me.
- No one can put me down without my permission.
- I appreciate myself and others.
- I practice gratitude every day. When I am sad, disappointed and hurt, I can use gratitude to see how fortunate I am in my life.
- I see the good in all. If for some reason I cannot see it, I better clean my glasses.
- I forgive myself and others for every perception of failure and hurt.
- I am generous with compliments, pride and with my time.
- I am calm and accepting. I am patient and relaxed. I have trust in my ability to parent and my kids’ ability to appreciate and enjoy it.
- I am a ‘magnet’ parent. I attract my kids rather than repel them.
The I’m OK – You’re OK parenting style is the ultimate successful strategy to raise confident, resilient and highly emotionally intelligent kids. It can ensure your kids are set for a successful future.
This post is part of the series I'm OK - You're OK Parenting:
- I’m OK, You’re OK Parenting: OK and EQ
- I’m OK, You’re OK Parenting: Shame
- I’m OK, You’re OK Parenting: Guilt
- I’m OK, You’re OK Parenting: Parenting Styles
- I’m OK, You’re OK Parenting: Being an “I’m OK” Parent
- I’m OK, You’re OK Parenting: Being a “You’re OK” Parent
- I’m OK, You’re OK Parenting: “I’m OK” Beliefs