Belief is usually defined as a conviction of the truth of a proposition without its verification; therefore a belief is a subjective mental interpretation derived from perceptions, contemplation or communication. What we believe is basically who we are. It drives just about everything we do, but what are these beliefs and where did they come from? I have been thinking about this for awhile now and it is a fascinating subject. I know without a doubt my beliefs about family and being a parent have been challenged in the last 10 years. I will share some of the most obvious beliefs that people hold and if questioned, can lead to a change in belief which can lead to a change in behavior.
Beliefs worth challenging:
1. Life is hard; you must work hard to get what you want.
2. I must regulate what my child does; including things like TV, video games, food and bedtime.
3. Rewards and Punishments are the only way to produce well behaved children.
4. Children (all ages) are not capable of making reasonable choices.
Same beliefs challenged:
1. Life is abundant; I can have anything my heart desires. Why do we have to make things hard, I believe we have a choice. We can choose the way we look at things, I’m not saying we don’t have to do the foot work in life. We have to do a lot of foot work to get what we want out of life, but we can choose to do the “work” of life joyfully!
2. My children know what they need, they know what to do to honor their needs. I believe children are well equipped to know when they are hungry or tired and they know what their bodies need. The only reason that is not true is because of something I or society has done to mess with their inner knowing. Same holds true for things with “screens.” My children have learned a lot from the technologies that are available to them, life is totally different than it was 20 years ago. Time to reevaluate our beliefs.
3. Connecting with and respecting my children will give them the best start in life, they will behave the way I behave. Treat children with respect, they will respect others. Connect with each other they will connect well with others. Punish them, they will punish others. Rewards are manipulative, manipulate children they will manipulate others.
4. All children (regardless of age) are capable to make reasonable choices, when they are given enough accurate information. Choices for a toddler should not be limited to what color cup they want to drink from. Children want to learn and understand the world they live in, we need to give them accurate information and show them the ropes. Safety is always of the utmost importance, we should always keep our children safe while explaining what the dangers are and letting them explore their world. If we are overly protected and controlled we can not learn how to make good informed decisions later in life.
To challenge our beliefs is not to say they are erroneous or invalid, yet asking questions about our beliefs opens the door to ask why we believe what we do. After you look at your belief system, where it came from and if it still serves you, you can move forward knowing you were brave enough to look. We are belief makers!
Tracy Liebmann is an experienced educator, Certified Family Life Coach, and Author. She believes deeply that great communication is the key to better connection with your loved ones. She mothers her two teenaged children from the heart, knowing that is where the truth lies when it comes to parenting. Her coaching clients describe her using words like; compassionate, caring, understanding, patient, insightful and intuitive. She lives in Charleston, SC with her husband of 19 years, her 2 children and many interesting pets. She enjoys being with her family, cooking, anything outdoors and being with her horses! You can learn more about her and her coaching practice at www.transformingfamily.com or you can get parenting advice with heart at www.asktracy.wordpress.com Tracy is a regular contributor to this blog, so stay tuned for more great parenting articles from her!