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Parenting with relaxed energy

9 November
Posted by:
Michael Grose

I read an interesting little magazine piece recently featuring Australian actor John Waters, who is a second-time round dad. He mentioned he was a better dad second time around, as he had a type of relaxed energy about him.

I love the concept of relaxed energy. I suspect it’s exactly what kids want in a parent- to be relatively stress-free and active enough to be a source of activity and fun.

There are two obvious issues here.

First, Waters is in his late 50’s, which is a less frenetic life stage than most parents of young children who are generally in their ‘thrashing-about 30’s’ and ‘frantic 40’s’!

Second, being a bloke, he has the relative luxury of being a tad more relaxed about parenting. After all, most dads play a type of secondary role to their partners who usually play a leading parenting role.

Regardless of age or gender we’d all be better parents in our kids’ eyes, if we could bring some more relaxed energy to the task.

Here are 5 ideas:

1. Create some downtime each week. Refuse to be a family always on the go.

2. Create moments of calm each day. Reading, nanny-naps or mindfulness (which I just love!) are simple ways to chill out.

3. Get your kids to fit in with you rather than other way round. I suspect when you grew up you had to fit your life around your parents’ activities! It’s amazing how life has changed.

4. Sleep in at least once a week. We are sleep-deprived nation so do your bit to improve the national sleep debt.

5. Have at least one interest (outside work & family) that energises you. Most of us do well on three life tasks (1.a fulfilled work-life, 2.looking out for our family, 3.maintaining friendships) and fail miserably on the fourth (4. Keeping an interesting personal life). Learn a language, take up a hobby, make some travel plans, anything to create a personal spark.

Water’s relaxed energy is about being a person first, partner second and parent last that I wrote about in Thriving!

That’s the way it should be.

However most of us work the other way around these days ( i.e. parent first and foremost; a partner second and a personal life comes a long-last), which is well-meaning ,but ultimately not sustainable.

Parent burnout is a very real thing. Just ask your kids!

The best part is, that it is avoidable!

My approach to parenting, that is the Thriving approach is all about making sure you have enough energy reserves to do the job well.

That’s why the first sections of my book Thriving! are devoted to You the person. Few parenting books do that!
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