How Parents Can Be Positive Influences On Their Children

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Setting an example for children

 

Crossroads of lake county - parenting

 

As a mother of two children myself, I often think about what messages I am sending them and I

try my best to be a force of positivity and guidance in their life. I think for the most part this goes

without saying because the majority of parents would never want to see their children hurting or

see them follow the wrong path through life, but with that said, being a parent is difficult.

 

I don’t know about you but I never got a how to guide, aside from the ones I bought at Barnes

and Noble, on how to effectively parent and most of the time I sort of feel like I’m flying by the

seat of my pants. There are always new situations that arise that I have never dealt with before

and with each challenge I try my best to navigate it in such a way that my children receive what

they need, whether that is structure and discipline or love and forgiveness. All of this is so they

can grow and become well-adjusted people who can traverse the often-murky waters of life,

better than I did for so many years.

 

For the first few years of my children’s lives, I battled addiction. I struggled with my disease of

alcoholism and it definitely took its toll on my body mind and soul. I was in a toxic relationship

with their father and I was barely keeping it together. Each day was a struggle for me and when

I wasn’t paralyzed by depression, I was dealing with my addiction, but yet through it all, I tried to

be the best mother that I could be. I never stopped being aware of the fact that what I was doing

was not conducive to my children having a happy and secure life, but I was also incapable of

stopping.

 

At this point I can’t really be sure what effect this has had on my children, but now that I am

sober for a couple of years and they are back in my life I am attempting to get them the support

that they need, in order to process the past and overcome the insanity that I brought upon them.

 

Now that I am sober, and I do not hide my sobriety from my children, although I obviously I only

share age appropriate details, I do my best on a daily basis to be a positive influence on them.

I do my best to set boundaries for them and I stand by those boundaries, even if they get mad at

me.

 

Children will always test you. They are learning to experience the world and you create the safe

limits for them to test. You as the parent put forth some stipulation and then it is their job to see

if they can get around it, or if you’ll buckle under enough pressure. By not giving in though I

have found that I am imparting to my children important lessons for life, like, you cannot always

get your way, you have to respect other people’s wishes and certain values and morals that

come from respecting other people.

 

In many ways, I believe that kids are blank canvases and as parents, we help to shape and

mold them into the people that they become. Based on how we raise them and the experiences

that they have in the outside world, they develop a sense of self that is either rooted in healthy

associations and relationships or is rooted in psychic damage and pain.

 

That being said, not everything that our children become is related to our parenting, and

one such instance is if they wind up suffering from an addiction of some sorts. That is to say that if

your children is an addict or alcoholic, it is not your fault, they suffer from a disease that is

beyond your and their, control, but even if they do wind up becoming addicted, there are ways

that I believe you can positively influence them, so that if and when they are ready to get help,

they know what to do.

 

For instance, parents who are now sober can be positive influences on their children by being

open about their struggles with their children. By allowing your kids to see what addiction truly is

and what recovery truly is, you can show them that there is a life beyond drug and alcohol

usage. I think for many kids the idea of not using drugs or alcohol, once they have started,

brings up an association with a boring and dull life. But by showing your children that this is not

the case gives them a leg up on their peers, because they are already aware what sobriety

looks like.

 

Another thing that parents can do in order to be a positive influence on their children is introduce

them to therapy, like I have done with my kids. Therapy sometimes gets a bad rap and some

people believe it to be quackery, only to be used by the downtrodden and broken, but this is not

the case and therapy is an effective parenting tool.

 

It gives your kids a safe space, away from the family, in which they can express their

uncensored thoughts and emotions. It gives them access to an objective third-party who has no

horse in the race, and so your kids can process things and gain access to a wider range of

emotional coping strategies that you yourself could not offer. There are also sometimes when as

a parent we are just too close to be helpful and so therapy can intercede and be helpful in such

times.

 

Lastly, and this is something that I strive for, is to be impeccable with my word. Meaning when I

say something I do it. I am not wishy-washy with the things I say and I also try to be careful with

what I actually say around my kids. I try not to talk bad about other people, as I do not want to

set this precedent, and I try not to lie, because I want them to be honest as well.

 

It isn’t always easy to be a positive influence on my kids, because at the end of the day I have

flaws just like every other human being. But I try my very best and if for nothing else, I want to

create an open relationship with my children, where they know, no matter what they do, I am

always there to love them and be supportive. The other thing that I strive to show them is that I

make mistakes just like them and this perhaps is one of the best lessons I can teach them. I am

vulnerable with my children showing them the different facets that make us all. Because as I

have learned it is not so much the mistake that matters but rather what you do with it after.

 

Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her

cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of

addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful

children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world.

Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find her on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram.

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