Raise happier kids by making a happier you: The trickle-down theory

By | February 2, 2015 | Lifestyle & Personal Growth

Raise happier kids by making a happier you | The Momiverse | Article by Jamee Tenzer

We’ve heard it a million times before but it can be very hard to implement:

Put yourself first if you really want to be of service to your family.

Remember, you have to put on your oxygen mask before placing one on your child. This is easier said than done. It’s hard. At any given moment, we feel our child, spouse, work, friends and home are the priority. It’s all well and good to talk about self-care. But even if we have the choice to make a healthy dinner, but instead choose to sit down with a cup of tea and a good book for 30 minutes followed by ordering take out, we will feel guilty about ordering take out.

How can we make putting ourselves first a must-do instead of a maybe?

Remember, children are adorable sponges when they are little. They are watching you and learning how to be adults. What are they learning? What connections are they making about how to operate in the world?

When they are teens, they are still watching you. Now, they are even more sophisticated – taking in subtleties and matching them up to their own values. The National Security Agency has nothing on these brilliant creatures.

If you knew that every time you decided to take care of yourself, you were helping your child become a happier and healthier adult, would it be easier to do? Yes and no. After all, it’s simply a perspective shift. How do we take it from a concept to a tangible way of life?

The first step is to see when self-care is needed and then identify a practical way to make it happen. Figuring out when self-care is needed is not hard. Here are some quick ideas for taking care of yourself:

1.   Guilt

When you feel guilty about anything, you need self-care. Do you have a list of “shouldas?” If so, ask yourself: What do I need right now? It is possible you need to go back and rectify the situation you feel guilty about? You won’t be successful if you’re not feeling grounded and calm. What can you do?

Keep a little list on your phone of the quick things you can do to take care of yourself. It could be a special tea or coffee, a massage, a pedicure, or a call to your best friend. When you feel guilty, whip out that list and check one off. You’ll be giving your children a gift when you take care of yourself in this way.

2.   Health

Being sick is a big sign that self-care has not only been forgotten on the back burner of your life, but it has now burned to a crisp. Make it your priority to get better.  When your children get older and you are no longer there to care for them, how do you want them to respond to their health concerns? This one is a no brainer.

3.   Worry

Worry usually has much to do with all the stuff we have no control over. Since we have no control, we cannot do anything to stop the worry. The answer here is to stop the worry before it stops you. First, try to stop talking about what you are worried about. If you can do something, go ahead and do it and then stop giving it your precious energy. Second, practice being mindful of your thoughts. Replace them with thoughts that bring you confidence. Remember, your kids are watching you.

You are the number one person in your child’s life. When you are happy and fulfilled, you can be the best parent your child could ask for – and don’t they deserve the best you?

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Jamee Tenzer

Download Jamee's 3 FREE e-books and become a happier, guilt-free and more relaxed mom.  Jamee Tenzer, PCC, BCC has been coaching women for 12 years. Now she's sharing the tips she's learned with you.  She specializes in coaching 40/50-something moms, female executives, and women in entertainment.  She is also a Mentor and Trainer for the International Coach Academy. Visit JameeTenzer.com for more information.

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{ 2 comments }

JPUnplugged February 6, 2015 at 1:02 pm

This is a timely post that I really needed to read.  🙂  Thank you.

Marcy Axness February 7, 2015 at 4:15 pm

Thanks, Jamee, for this good reminder that ALL our habits are likely to indeed “trickle down” and become woven into our kids’ lives when grown, including self-care. It can be sorta fun to watch this happen as our children leave the nest and we watch how they operate in the world. 
One example from my own life w/ my son and daughter involves a really big piece of self-care — afternoon napping! I wouldn’t do it very often, but when I needed to (e.g., if I felt something “coming on” and I wanted to nip it in the bud), I would drop everything and hit the sofa. Both my kids (24 and 27) are nap-wise: they do it (and very well, I might add!) when they need it. Come to think of it, they are also quite savvy about nipping illnesses in the bud using the kinds of things I used to use in our family home (hot foot bath, sleep, hot water, homeopathy).

Yep, your message here is a very important one!!

Marcy Axness
author, Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers

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