Iceberg parenting or 'panic parenting'.
In May I'm booked to give a talk to a playgroup about parenting. I've been tossing around some ideas in my head. What do you think of them?
A lot of us take parenting on an 'as it comes' basis.
Child is one: how do I get them to stop throwing food on the floor.
Child is two: how do I manage the tantrums?
Child is three: gotta teach them to swim, dress themselves and get toilet trained.
Child is four: how do I teach them to share and be kind to their friends.
And so it goes on.
By the time they get to school you're dealing with forgotten items, lost notes, uneaten lunches, and homework that no one wants to do. When they're teenagers it's peer pressure and school pressure and short monosyllabic answers.
It's easy to not think too much, but to take each bit as it comes. But I wonder if it is actually easier - or if it achieves what we think we're trying to achieve?
You could call this kind of parenting 'panic parenting'. Obviously not every one panics, but we react to the situation at hand and see each little hurdle as a separate problem to solve.
It might be worth thinking about parenting as a bit like an iceberg. We all learned it in high school science: the bit of ice you see on the top of the water is only just a tiny tiny part of the massive iceberg underneath. It looks impressive but in comparison with the whole deal, it's nothing.
We could liken the small hurdles we solve with our children as the tips of the iceberg. These are the bits that show, the bits that ask for our attention.
I wonder if we put more thought and effort into the 'iceberg underneath' whether the tips would be a whole lot easier to resolve - or in fact, if they would even exist as 'problems'?
Some 'whole iceberg' things to think about would be:
- What exactly am I trying to achieve in my parenting?
- Am I listening to what comes out of my own mouth? How am I speaking to my children?
- What messages and models from my own life and my own family am I unconsciously handing down to my children, and if I stopped and thought about them, would I want these to carry through?
- How do I view my children as people?
- What are my own priorities during the day?
- What's my pace of life and why?
- What are my problem resolving skills like? Do I have resilience, or am I always looking for a quick rescue? Do I understand what it takes to get on with people? Am I able to pass these things on to my children?
If I think about it more, these principles are useful for any relationships. How many of us live in 'panic' or reactive marriages, partnerships or friendships? We could all stand to do a little bit of iceberg thinking.
What are some of the 'iceberg' issues you have come to terms with?