Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Connectin Parenting ch1 ex.1 and 2

Thanks to Shae, I got my hands on a copy of Connection Parening by Pam Leo today. I read the first chapter and am now up to the exercises. I'm determined to do the exercises and so I'm going to publish them here...
So here's the first exercise.

What do you hope to give and not give your children: write a nurture (do want) and hurts (don't want) list...

Nurture:

  • I want my children to feel safe with me
  • I want my children to be able to come to me with their fears and their joys and know I will always listen
  • I want my kids to feel good about themselves
  • I want my kids to have fun in life
  • I want my kids to feel optimistic about their lives
  • I want my kids to be able to express all their feelings with skill
  • I want my kids to know they can achieve whatever they want in their lives with determination and persistence
  • I want my kids to know I love them
Hurts:
  • I don't want my kids to feel afraid
  • I don't want my kids to feel ashamed of themselves
  • I don't want my kids to feel abandoned
  • I don't want my kids to be yelled at
  • I don't want my kids to be smacked
  • I don't want my kids to be manipulated, psychologically or emotionally, by me
  • I don't want my kids to live in fear of me
I have coloured the experiences I had from my parents in purple. The nurture points I inherited from my parents are my parenting strengths, the hurts I inherited are my parenting challenges...

My parenting strengths:
  • I want my kids to have fun in life
  • I want my kids to be able to express all their feelings with skill
  • I want my kids to know they can achieve whatever they want in their lives with determination and persistence
My parenting challenges:

  • I want my children to feel safe with me
  • I want my children to be able to come to me with their fears and their joys and know I will always listen
  • I want my kids to feel good about themselves
  • I want my kids to feel optimistic about their lives
  • I want my kids to know I love them
  • I don't want my kids to feel afraid
  • I don't want my kids to feel ashamed of themselves
  • I don't want my kids to feel abandoned
  • I don't want my kids to be yelled at
  • I don't want my kids to be smacked
  • I don't want my kids to be manipulated, psychologically or emotionally, by me
  • I don't want my kids to live in fear of me
In th light of these challenges, I have to say I've done a pretty amazing job so far - onwards and upwards from here!!!

Exercise 2

Mini-biography:

My name is Sif, I'm 35 and I'm from all over the place, having moved many many times in life, including in Australia, Iceland and Norway.

I am the oldest of two children growing up.

My mum and dad were married for 13 years in total, five of which were relatively happy years, though they still had many physically and verbally abusive fights. They divorced when I was 14 after 8 horrible years of marriage. My father was very domineering and abusive towards my mother in many way, including withholding money from her so she was completely reliant on her for everything, forcing her to hide money she earned through selling her art, and when he discovered she had that money, he wouldn't give her money for food.

My father's idea of discipline was to withdraw "priveleges". Priveleges included watching tv, or eating dinner, or christmas and birthday presents. At one stage my brother, who copped the brunt of Dad's discipline missed out on two birthdays and one Christmas in a row - no presents at all. Dad also belted my brother and I once when he caught us shoplifting, and me once more for leaving his cheese out on the kitchen counter, where it dried out.

My mum disciplined by smacking, kicking, throwing things at us, pinching, grabbing us. She also said things like, "I have to love you but I don't have to like you". She was always nice to us in public, but one look would tell us we were "in for it" once we got into the car or got home. Her temper was fearsome.

One fond memory I have from my childhood is of painting gingerbread men in the kitchen with mum before Christmas, and watching her decorate the gingerbread house with hot melted sugar and lollies, and then she read Hans Christian Andersen to us before we took our Christmas Eve nap in preparation for staying up late on Christmas Eve to open our presents.

In the following week I'm supposed to take note of the things I do and say that like what my parents used to do and say, and especially what I do and say that they did and said that I want to change, and I'm to add these to my challenges list...

5 comments:

Stitch Sista said...

*hugs* Sif. Sounds like a book I should read. I certainly relate to a lot of the parenting challenges and it really scares me that yk I have to this stuff NOW...not later...NOW, but at the same time I don't know how to *not* be manipulative, or yell etc etc. I know my parents did their best, and I know that I will do mine too, but it makes me sad that my best isn't better...*sigh*

loz said...

That sounds like a fantastic book and so helpful too. Hugs it is amazing when we can take ourselves out of the picture and actually observe how to make things better by knowing our strengths and weaknesses

Sif said...

Rach, those challenges I wrote up for myself. as I wrote them, I already knew I do all those things to my boys, and they already feel shame about themselves and hurt and fear of me - the fear I see in their eyes when I'm mad is what drives me to search for a better way.

I feel like I'm at once, in my anger and back in my childhood when I was afraid of my mum, in particular.

So, I have a long way to go, but one thing the author of this book keeps saying, "It's NEVER too late to form a closer bond with your child" I'm hanging onto that thought for dear life, because a part of me wants to believe it's too late now, I've already done too much damage... That is the part of me that wants to just give in to the rage.

casso said...

Wow, what huge topics. I didn't have punitive parenting, I just had parenting by neglect, LOL! Although my mum did used to say constantly "I would have been so successful if I'd never had you children". Which I believe had a lot to do with my highly negative attitude to parenting for all of my life until the moment Harriet was actually born.

Given your love of Christmas I'm not surprised to see you have such lovely memories of your family at that time. This book sounds great!

Oh and Michel Foucault is one of my all-time fave philosophers. His discussions of power really drove a lot of my thought processes through the postmodern theory 'landscape'. Him and Baudrillard. I was most excited to see you posting about him in your blog! :o)

Cheers, Cass

Zoe said...

Wow Sif- I really admire your determination to be the best parent you can. I feel so much empathy reading some of your feelings towards your kids, and I understand the desire to do things better.

Teenagers and the failing parent...