When I work with families, the subject of parenting is definitely a hot topic! I'm often asked questions like, "Should both parents work outside the home?" "What's better - quality time or more time in general?" "Should Dad be more involved in his childrens' lives"
At the crux of all these questions, of course is this: "How can I be the best parent for my child(ren)?"
Of course, everyone wants a surefire solution to this age-old questions, but I only offer one answer: The best parent is a happy parent.
This certainly takes most of my clients by surprise! After all, aren't we parents supposed to sacrifice our own happiness for that of our children?
The answer, of course, is - Heavens, no!
When parents focus on their own happiness and make the necessary changes to feel satisfied in their own lives, they tend to be better parents overall. They're more involved with their children, are kinder to them, and enjoy them more.
Plus, the happiness trickles right down to the kids. They see a positive, focused, happy parent, and remember - kids do what they see NOT what they hear. So, they're much more likely to find happiness and satisfaction in their own lives. Then, THEY become happy parents, and the cycle continues. It's a win-win.
Sure, family dinners and quality time contribute to the family's overall well-being and bonding, but the way to be the best parent is to do things that fulfill you as a person. Then, your general life satisfaction permeates to the family.
So, forget all the mumbo jumbo about stay-at-home vs. working moms, fathers that travel for work vs. dads that stay home, and extra curricular activities vs. relaxing. All that comes second to the most important lesson I can impart on parents: Take your happiness seriously, and your children will benefit.