Freedom to Work, Rest, Play Parents
today have so many pressing calls on their attention that it can be
crucial to remind ourselves exactly what we are about. As in any other
enterprise, and this is the most important one, the clearer we are about
our basic tasks the more successful we will be.
As parents, we do not have a clod of dirt on our hands that we must mold
into a decent human being. Instead we have a human spirit determined to
grow and manifest her or his greatness. Our task is to create a healthy
environment where this can take place.
Because of our superior age, knowledge, and experience, we can create
that healthy environment as long as we are not distracted by an endless
array of other "shoulds." Like a bigger house, more cars, a better
school, a more up-to-date phone, a better position on the team, a better
job or income for the bread-winner, and so on. Not that these aren't
important, they just need to be held in their proper place of priority.
So what is a healthy environment for our child? Let's take the
school-age child, for example. She or he needs exactly what we want too
for ourselves: the freedom to do meaningful work, to get the rest and
relaxation we need, and to have the place and time to play and have fun.
If we keep these priorities in mind, scheduling becomes easier, setting
reasonable rules becomes easier, and encouraging contribution to the
chores of a home also becomes an integral part of family life.
But we, as the parents, must understand that we are the rule-makers in
our own home. Too many parents today assume they are supporting their
children by letting them have absolute freedom. If this worked, nature
would not have put us in change for 10 to 20 years, depending on your
To give just one example of a need for parental limits, a recent study,
which included thousands of people around the world, demonstrated that
when you go to bed is much more important for getting the rest you need,
than what time you get up.
For parents that means setting a bedtime which is 8 to 9 hours before the child must get up, and this is up to you.
When I was a child, my pre-school teacher asked my mother why I was so
easy-going and never got cranky in school. Mom told her that she didn't
really know, but that we were sent outside to play every afternoon for a
couple of hours and were tucked into bed at 8 every night.
Today, parents must shut off video games, smart phones, and initiate a
real conversation eye to eye to create a healthy environment for proper
sleep. But it is worth it.
I had many family counseling clients who were amazed that parenting
issues like bad attitude, poor school performance, and "laziness" were
often completely eliminated by seeing that the child had enough sleep.
In my book The Seven Secrets of Successful Parents, you can find the other eleven basic needs of children, besides good sleep.
As many have said before, freedom must be coupled with discipline. But
not discipline of the children so much as self-discipline of the
parents. Set a good example in your own life, be gentle but consistent
and persistent, make a healthy environment a given in your home, and
parenting will be a whole lot easier.
Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tips: Remember your child wants the wisdom and protection only you can provide, whether it appears that way at the moment or not. Be patient, listen, and then be clear what your rules and standards are. For more, visit my new websites! http://motherhoodtools.com and http://parenthoodtools.com.
Randy Rolfe, JD, MA, is president of the Institute for Creative Solutions. Since 1985 she has helped tens of thousands of families lead richer and happier lives. Her books include: The Seven Secrets of Successful Parents; You Can Postpone Anything But Love; Adult Children Raising Children; The Four Temperaments; The Affirmations Book for Sharing (coauthored w/ husband Jay Rolfe); and 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life (coauthored w/ Mark Victor Hansen and others). Randy traveled in 29 countries before she was 21, which gave her a unique world-view that crosses all boundaries. Building or her rich experience as wife and mother, she also has been on the cutting edge in many fields, being one of the very first women to attend law school, one of the first women to practice law for a major Philadelphia law firm, a leader in the natural health movement, and a founder of the natural parenting movement. She has given seminars as far away as Moscow Russia and throughout the USA. A popular TV therapist on Geraldo, Sally, Montel, Maury and many more, Randy is dedicated to creating a better world through building happier healthier families. Find out more at www.randyrolfe.com.