Dr. Ron Taffel is known as one of the most captivating and practical child-rearing experts in the country. He is the author of two best-selling books, Parenting by Heart: How to be in Charge, Stay Connected and Instill Your Values- When it Feels Like You’ve Got 15 Minutes a Day (Addison Wesley) and Why Parents Disagree: How Women and Men Parent Differently and How We Can Work Together (Morrow). He was a frequent contributor to The Confident Parent, a monthly column that ran in McCalls Magazine from 1991 to 1996. He has also been featured on 20/20, The Today Show, CNN, and hundreds of radio shows. Ron has a private practice in New York City and is the Founder of The Family Therapy Division at The Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy. He is married and has two children. In order to care for our children, we have to take time to nurture and protect ourselves. In this article, Dr. Ron Taffel offers success strategies that are easy to implement and are not time consuming. They work immediately and you’ll feel their positive impact.
Pay attention to what you are feeling when with others. Some people make you feel better, others don’t. It is essential to stay around people who have positive attitudes. The reactions you sometimes ignore are actually your best guide. Honor them.
Be direct and tell people what helps and what doesn’t. A crisis is no time to protect others’ feelings. You need protection, not just your children.
Always leave more time to do the business of mourning, healing and dealing than you first think you’ll need. Hard-pressed parents invariably say they underestimated how much time they needed to get through trying life experiences.
Seek out people from the past who were able to take care of you when you were younger. Those who once had the ability to nurture may still be able to make you feel well cared for again. It is very helpful for parents who must take themselves and kids through tough times to occasionally be cared for as if they were young again.
Stick to as many rituals as you possibly can during your everyday life – whether they last for a minute or a few moments. Rituals serve as anchors during chaotic times; they are an expression of faith despite the fact that everything in your family feels totally out of control. You can maintain some semblance of order in your life with rituals.
Allow time to talk to those who are most important to you. Nurture yourself with positive meditations in particular at moments which you are most vulnerable – bedtime, waking up, just before and after eating, sitting alone in waiting rooms, on a crowded highway. These are times when simple meditations and mantras soothe.
Find an “after hours” talking buddy. This is very helpful during the depths of a crisis. The middle of the night, especially towards the morning (the “hour of the wolf” as the time from 3:00 am- 5:00 am has been called) is terribly painful for just about everyone going through a difficult time. Whenever it’s possible, ask for after-hours companionship from the people who love you. Nurturance during this time will help you deal with your kids more effectively the next day.
Try not to take moments of connection for granted with your significant other or your children. Those potential moments of connection are often the ones that get ignored. And then, very quickly, one can feel deprived and alone. Because there’s so much to take care of, it’s easy to pass up possibilities to connect with those who are actually the most available.
Create new rituals – a month, a half-year, or a year after the crisis has happened. These are natural times to nurture yourself by remembering with others who know what you went through.