Be tough enough to parent differently than your friends
“Parents are so much more worried today then they were 35 years ago. They so desperately want to be ‘good parents’ that they’re exhausting important energy on stuff that doesn’t matter.”
This is a quote from today’s guest, Meg Meeker, MD. Meg is a pediatrician, author, parent, wife, grandmother and business owner. Her goal is to diffuse fear-based parenting.
I shared the stage with Meg at the Dave Ramsey SMART Conference and fell in love with her message around her book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters.
I selfishly invited her on the show to grow as a father myself and help you in your journey as a parent, too. Meg’s insights are great for parents, but relate to all of us as aunts, uncles, sons and daughters, too.
My main takeaways:
- 3 Ways to Shift from Fear-Based Parenting
- Shift your perspective of yourself in your kids eyes. If a child is with you, he doesn’t want anything other than knowing that you like being with him. Stop worrying about what he’s eating for dinner and just focus on him.
- Make an exhaustive list of ALL the things you worry about with your kids. Then tell yourself “Let go of all of it! Today I’m just going to communicate that I like being with him.” Then do it again the next day. Watch, your whole relationship will change.
- Schedule your child less. Everyone says their life is too busy, but who makes it so? Are you willing to surrender time with your child for them to be in an activity that they’ll only be involved in for a few years? A child’s character is developed when he’s face to face with mom and dad. That time is important. Also, the remedy for your child acting out is MORE time with you. It all goes back to: Don’t schedule them so much.
- A tip about getting to 35 years of marriage? We refused to quit. Once we determined that we were that committed, then you could just wait “it” out.
- No matter our age, we all struggle with self-esteem. Hearing positive feedback from our parents as adults is still comforting.
- Make parenting simpler: Love your kids and do the best you can. Letting your young kids know you want their company is important. We think kids need other kids and peers. They don’t. They need you.
- Real joy comes from time spent at home working through life with your family. Life in a family unit is messy, working through the messiness together is how the joy comes.
- Don’t assume that just because your peers are doing something, that it has to be so. Set the bar higher for your child. They can have a better life than they currently do (in regards to technology, etc.). Two ways to do this:
- Find two times a month to schedule yourself to stay home and spend time as a family. The first week might be terrible, but by the fourth one, it will be great.
- Declare one hour in the evening as electronic free. Kids are feeling ignored because parents are on cell phones. Parents are having a hard time because kids aren’t paying attention due to their relationship with technology. Pick one hour each evening (or 3 nights wkly to start) with no tech. For this to work, everyone in your house must follow the rule.
- One piece of advice for fathers to “be heroes”? Recognize you already have the cape (because your kid has put it on you!). You don’t need to get a bigger house or get a pool in the backyard. You just need to maintain. Shift your perspective, you are already a hero in your kids life. (Note: this is what your kid is looking for in a hero, and it’s well within your grasp, be: available, engaged, have his back, and protect him.)
Meg Meeker, MD’s Live Inspired 7
1. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
Celebration of the Disciplines by Richard Foster. My main takeaway was to simplify and focus on the important stuff.
2. Tomorrow you discover your wealthy uncle shockingly dies at the age of 103; leaving you millions. What would you do?
I would give 99% of it away to World Vision and The Medical Institute for Sexual Health. My needs are met, I don’t need more. Having too much would just complicate my life.
3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
I would grab a photo of my parents; they are no longer alive and I don’t trust my memory to keep a clear picture.
4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
Jesus. I would love to talk to Jesus, have him clear up some unanswered questions I have about pain in the world. I would also want to tell him thank you.
5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Reduce your expectations. They are what cause us misery. the more we can accept what is and who people are and love people for who people are today, the freer we really are to to live and to love.
6. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at age 20?
Keep focused on God’s plan for your life, not YOUR plan for you life because you are self-centered.
7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
She loved him well. First God. Second, my husband. If after I die this can be said, then my life has been good.
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I can’t wait to see you here next Thursday! Today is your day. Live Inspired.