May 11, 2018

An episode that I had to record as a result of a simple bumper sticker on a car in front of me… and it is now my personal mission to make every parent claim positive and encouraging traits about themselves! Listen all the way to the end so that you can be empowered to fight the critical and harsh way that we talk about ourselves as parents.
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Podcast Transcript

Hi, I’m Dr Brenna Hicks, founder of The Kid Counselor and Play Therapy Parenting. I wanted to share a story with you today and my thoughts related to what happened. I get the privilege of driving my son to school in the mornings and then my husband picks him up in the afternoons.

What I read on a bumper sticker

Often when I’m driving home, I notice bumper stickers and license plates and it’s a 20 minute drive so I’ve always been that person that loves the personalized license plates and trying to figure out what they say. I remember the game show when we were, when I was young called Bumper Stumper where you try to figure out the messages in the license plates. So maybe that was the beginning of it, but I am always aware of bumper stickers and emblems and license plates and things like that.

So driving home yesterday morning, and I’m behind a van (and no offense to the minivan drivers out there, but most of the time that means that it’s a mom) and so I’m looking at the bumper stickers on the back of the van and one of the bumper stickers at the top of the van says, #Badmom. And maybe because of what I do, because I train parents, maybe because I work with kids all day long, I could not get that out of my brain. The entire ride home, I was thinking about #Badmom.

It reminded me of an article that I’ve written about self fulfilling prophecy. My son was never in message tees as a baby, a toddler, even into school. We chose not to put him in message tees for several reasons, but the main reason was I found that every time I saw one in the store or I saw one on a kid, it had a negative message. It said, “Here comes trouble,” or it said, “Destruction Machine. Or it said, “Spoiled Diva.” Or it said, “I’m not arguing, I’m just explaining why I’m right.”

And I remember thinking to myself, I would never ever want someone else to look at my son and think that was how he was defined, as a troublemaker or as a destruction machine or as an arguer. And I also remember thinking I would never want my son to internalize that message to himself about who he was.

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Self-fulfilling prophecy talks a lot about that and the concept is that what people tell you that you are and communicate that you are, becomes what you are. And so essentially you become what messages are communicated to you about yourself. And I purposefully decided didn’t want that for him. I didn’t want him to be labeled as a child that was represented on those messages on the tee shirt.

So reading #Badmom on the back of the van, my heart broke a little bit for that mom because I remember thinking I understand the struggle. I’m a mom. I know that parenting is hard. I’m a child therapist and I still have struggles with our son and sometimes his behavior is frustrating. And sometimes I feel like I’m not doing things that are helping. And so I honor the struggle of parenthood, I honor the struggle of moms and dads that feel that they’re not equipped. And even though I am a child therapist and I struggle, I have different tools that I use because of my play therapy background than a lot of other parents have. And so I understood the intention behind her maybe thinking that she was a bad mom, but at the same time, I understand that the messages that we internalize and the messages that we believe about ourselves and about our kids are meaningful.

Permission to be a #GoodMom!

And so in this video, above anything else, I really want you to feel that I’m giving you permission or that you have the permission to claim the good qualities that you have as a parent. That you can have confidence that you are capable of being a good parent. Believe that you’re a good mom. Believe that you’re a patient mom. Believe that you’re a kind dad. Believe that you’re a helpful dad. Believe that you have patience and that you have helpfulness and that you have tools to use to be effective. Because sometimes we get stuck because we don’t give ourselves permission to be something different than what we’ve been in the past. And so today, #Badmom needs to change and it needs to become #Awesomemom and #Awesomedad! Because here’s the thing, what we believe about ourselves comes true.

There is a reason why there’s an adage that says, “Speak into truth what you want.” So speak those good things about yourselves into your lives. Speak that you are good and effective and competent and confident in your parenting.

That carries over to your kids. Speak about them what you want. You are helpful. You are smart, you are obedient, you are respectful.

An example of positive affirmations for your kids
I have a bedtime ritual with my son every night and we go through 10 phrases that we say every night together. One of them is you respect and obey your mom and dad. Another one is you think for yourself. Another is you make wise choices. You can see how every single one -no matter what has happened throughout the day, no matter what behavior was like, no matter what attitude was like- every single night, my son hears ten phrases that are very clearly reflective of the good that I know he’s capable of. And that extends to everyone in our lives, but specifically as parents and specifically with our kids.

It’s so important to believe and see the good in ourselves and in them! So no more #Badmom on vans. Please, let’s claim the good and the positive and the encouraging that we know we’re capable of so that we can be those parents and that our kids can be those kids.

Please like me on Facebook, please sign up for my email newsletter, and subscribe to my podcast on Itunes so that you will always have the tips and the tools and the thoughts that I have coming at you when I have them to share.

So thanks so much for watching and I’ll look forward to being with you again soon. Bye.

Cochran, N., Nordling, W., & Cochran, J. (2010). Child-Centered Play Therapy (1st ed.). Wiley.
VanFleet, R., Sywulak, A. E., & Sniscak, C. C. (2010). Child-centered play therapy. Guilford Press.
Landreth, G. L. (2002). Play therapy: The art of the relationship (2nd ed.). Brunner-Routledge.
Bratton, S. C., Landreth, G. L., Kellam, T., & Blackard, S. R. (2006). Child parent relationship therapy (CPRT) treatment manual: A 10-session filial therapy model for training parents. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
Benedict, Helen. Themes in Play Therapy. Used with permission to Heartland Play Therapy Institute.

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