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Be the Parent You Wish You Had

Lori Freson


I once heard the phrase Be the Parent You Wish You Had.  While it sounds so simplistic, the more I pondered that statement, I was really blown away by how powerful this really is.  We all remember the times when we were young that we said to ourselves, “I will never say that to my children” or “I will never to that”.  Until one day, it comes out of our mouths, and we say to ourselves “Oh My…Did I really just say that?  I am my mother!”

So what does it mean to be the parent you wish you had?  Well, that is different for all of us.  Most of us would say it means calm, supportive, nurturing, firm when needed, kind, never yelling, etc.…  Some of what we wished might not be all that realistic.  Yet certainly much of it is.  And our children and ourselves can benefit from us remembering that.

Here is how to be the parent you wish you had:

  1. Remind yourself of the things you actually hated most about your parents.  Never forget how it made you feel.  If you catch yourself repeating this, stop and say you are sorry.
  2. Speak to your children with the respect that you wish you had as a child.
  3. Don’t be afraid to set rules and boundaries.  And enforce them firmly and calmly.
  4. When your buttons are being pushed, remember what it felt like to be yelled out.  Stop.  Take a breath.  Try again.
  5. Tell your children you love them.  A lot.  Mean it.

Obviously, all of us inherit or learn traits for our own families.  Try to keep the good ones, and have enough awareness to recognize and change the bad ones.  You can do it.

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Lori Freson

Lori Freson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Southern California. She has been working in the mental health field since 1997, and has been a licensed therapist since 2002. Lori currently works in her own thriving private practice in Encino and Sherman Oaks, where she serves the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles areas.