Parenting Ourselves

imagesFor the ones of you that are parents, this might sound a bit off, for the ones that are not, this might just sound crazy! It is not something that sprung into by brain by itself. I was told by a friend, who is Life Coach, that we need to parent ourselves. It is important and will make a great difference in how we conduct this stage of our lives. Alright, I thought, this is interesting….but how do we do it?

Let’s start by understanding: What is parenting? The best definition I have found is: the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social and intellectual development of a child. We are far from being children, but we can certainly benefit from this process. I knew I could, so I listened.

At this time in our lives, most of us have made peace with ourselves, decided what we want, what we need. Still, we need that little voice to tell us we are on the right track: the voice of a parent. With all our good intentions, we wander off our path. It is not intentional, we just have to take care of parents or spouses, encourage our children, give support to friends, give more attention to our jobs. In all this, we get lost and there is no time to do any of these things for ourselves. This is where parenting comes in. Yes, parenting ourselves and at our age. It is a challenge, so bear with me.

Physical development:

True, we are developed already, but we need maintenance, don’t we? We have to take care of our physical health. Visit our doctor for yearly physical or when we have a complain we cannot explain…..but do we need to have a doctor’s opinion for every ache and pain we feel? I think not. Read and research ways to help us stay healthy and active is a good start: a yoga or Pilates class, a nature walk once a day, joining a gym or an exercise class for mature adults. A change in our diet, finding ways to make our meals healthier and more interesting: cooking lessons? You see, our physical development continues, we must not forget!

Emotional Development:

We encouraged our children to be themselves, didn’t we? Always told them to never compare themselves to others. There is no point because we are unique, each one of us and we should love who we are. We told them never to doubt themselves, at this point in life this is truer than we think. We know ourselves well enough, we know what we want. A loving relationship is so important, let’s cherish ours. As mature adults, these should be a given, but for a lot of us, they aren’t. One last very important thought: don’t auto-criticize: try approving!! A human being that is emotionally balanced can face any challenge.

Social Development:

I have a friend that says she has no space in her life for new friends.  I do understand. For some of us, it is difficult to make new friends at this time in our lives. On the other hand: we moved to a new place, we are on our own, the children have their own lives. These changes need adjustments, not always easy, but necessary. We told our children over and over that to have friends we need to be a friend. Friendship requires work on our part, this is true now as well. Give ourselves time, go slowly if we must, but meet new people and give them a chance. Who knows? A great friendship can develop. At the same time, we must not forget our old friends, keep in touch!!! They need this contact as much as we do.

Intellectual development:

Our brains need stimulation, at any age. This is a must important step in our development, isn’t it? At this stage in life, what should we do? In this technological age, there is so much going on and technology will help us keep up with news, with the latest best-sellers. Still, the old-fashioned way of doing things is important. Read anything we can get our hands on,  join a book club and help our social life as well. Do crossword puzzles and Sudoku (if you like numbers, which I don’t!!!!). It is also important to keep up with the world around us, to know our city, our neighborhood. Take classes on subjects that interest us: learning something new and stimulating can do wonders for our intellect.

I have learned, to my surprise, that parenting is more than having children and sending them on into the world. Parenting is taking care of ourselves because we already have taken care of everyone!!! This we should do…..