Parenting versus Mentoring

Why encouraging a child to find a mentor is actually a gesture of love and sacrifice

Part 2 of 2

By Dr. Hans Watson D.O. President University Excel and 

Tafta Watson, MA Education/Behavioral Disorders

 

Click here to read part 1 of 2

 

Many parents indicate that they hope their children enjoy “a little better standard of living” than they did.  As parents, we hope our children will take the good things we demonstrate and improve upon our weaknesses.  We want our children to have the insight necessary to recognize our strengths, avoid our weaknesses, and be able to internalize those lessons.  This insight is something that must be taught. However, it is often only taught by example.  In part 1 of 2 we discussed how parents sometimes unconsciously miss the opportunity to evaluate and overcome these weaknesses.

To address our own shortcomings and then to teach our children to do the same is an important lesson.  Willingness to self-evaluate and change is necessary to succeed in family life, professional life, social life and everywhere else.  This often means recognizing unconscious forces and analyzing whether they need to be changed or embraced.  So how do we do this?

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The first step in educating our unconscious mind is to recognize that we have unconscious thoughts and desires.  Then you can evaluate these thoughts one at a time by asking the following questions.  Is it a realistic thought or idea? Is it likely to happen?  Should we keep this thought or change it?  Let’s do this exercise with our example from the last article of getting a mentor for your child.

We can recognize the unconscious thoughts that having a mentor seems to transfer all credit to the mentor.  We can also acknolwledge that getting a mentor unconciously feels like a form of pushing the child out of the home early.  In most cases this is not realistic.  Though our unconscious thoughts indicate such, getting a mentor won’t have the effects we believe.  Our children aren’t going anywhere yet and we as parents aren’t detaching ourselves from the process.  Instead, we will work closely with the mentor and be informed of all activities performed by the mentor.  We are still child's only parents and the mentor is someone who is supporting us.  These negative, unconscious thoughts are not realistic.  Moreover, the worst case scenario of the menor taking the parents place is not likely to happen.   This example shows thoughts that needs to be altered.  In other words, we need to educate our unconscious mind.

After acknowledging and analyzing our unconscious thoughts, we can replace them with more accurate and realistic thoughts.  We can recognize that getting a mentor will be a support to us as parents, not replace us.  We can also understand that getting a mentor will not force our child to leave home prematurely; it will start the process of preparing them to succeed when they do choose to leave.  By replacing our inaccurate thoughts with realistic thoughts, we educate our unconscious mind and empower our children. 

Evaluating unconscious thoughts is an extremely important skill to becoming an elite parent and child.  Equally important is our responsibility as parents to include our children (where appropriate) in the process of analyzing our thoughts and changing them.  Let them see that one of their parent’s strengths is the ability to learn and change.  While failure to learn this lesson will stop anyone from becoming elite; application of this lesson creates more elite individuals, closer families and enables more success than any other lesson learned. 

So challenge your negative unconscious thoughts, start with Step #1.  Help your child get a mentor. 

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