Being a Happy Parent - Part Of Good Parenting

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 3.00 (3 Votes)

When you were growing up, did you ever wish that your parents were happy? Did you feel safe when they were happy and peaceful?

My mother was rarely a happy person. Most of the time she was anxious, angry and felt overburdened, even though I was her only child. She rarely laughed and was often upset with me, or my father. Clearly, she made both of us responsible for her happiness and we consistently fell short.

I would have given anything to have had a happy mother - a mother who knew how to take responsibility for her own happiness and pain. I would have loved to have had a mother who showed me how to take loving care of myself instead showing me how to be an unhappy martyr.

Often, in my counseling work with parents, I ask them if their parents were happy. Most of the time they say no. I ask them if they wanted their parents to be happy and invariably they say, "Yes, I would have loved it." Yet these same parents are not taking responsibility for making themselves happy now. They are acting just like their parents - anxious, angry, depressed, withdrawn, resistant, or compliant. They are controlling with each other or with their children in the same ways their parents were controlling.

"As parents," I say to them, "it is your responsibility to learn how to make yourselves happy so you can be role models for your children. How can your children learn how to take emotional responsibility if you don't? Right now, you are role modeling being a victim of your circumstances instead of being an emotionally responsible adult. You are using your anger, upsets and unhappiness to control your children, or you are putting yourself aside to take care of everyone but yourself. How can they learn to take care of themselves if you are not taking care of yourselves?"