HAPPY PARENTING

by drnieman on June 8, 2017

in Weekly

After seeing families for the past 30 years as their doctor and being a parent myself since 1995, I am struggling with a common question:

—Can a parent be happy and healthy if the child is not happy and healthy?

Recently I did an interview with National TV (CBC Evening News) where we discussed optimal nutrition for toddlers. The video segment ended with these words: “Happy and healthy is every parent’s goal.”

The reality though is quite different for many. How can we be happy and peaceful if our teen smokes weed; if a child has no drive to learn; if a grade 12 student has no clue what to do next with his or her life; if all our investments at the front end failed to pay any dividends when the kids leave home; and if our expectations were dashed by a dark diagnosis given us by our trusted psychologist or pediatrician.

For each parent this journey requires deep inner reflection. There is no one solution of how to cope. Each curriculum will be different.

Perhaps a prayer known as the Serenity Prayer may help. This prayer shares a universal truth contained in Buddhism. Paraphrased, the Prayer tells us to control the things we can control and to let go of that which we cannot control. It also asks for wisdom to know the difference.

Sometimes it becomes crystal clear that it is so and cannot be otherwise. Nothing we do will change anything. All we can do is learn and move on, but most importantly we have to understand that we choose to let our kids control us or not. We get to decide if we will give our power to choose inner peace or not to them.

Thinking about these choices are never easy. My experience has taught me that we have no choice but to choose the Serenity Prayer—or not.

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