5 Parenting Techniques To Use On Yourself In Your 20s

It's probably not a coincidence that your 20s are the prime time for feeling like an adult child. The truth is that we spend these years recalibrating ourselves to be our own parents, and there are many balls in our court. We have to discipline ourselves, validate ourselves, feed ourselves, support ourselves. In many ways, the challenge of growing up is not just "Can you survive?" but "Can you become the person you wish would have raised you?"

Interestingly enough, when it comes to learning how to "parent ourselves" as twentysomethings, there are many actual parenting techniques that work wonders on the adult mind. Think of it this way: your emotional self is a child, and always will be. When you grow up, your task becomes to discipline and guide yourself with your rational, adult mind the way your parents did (or, uh, didn't) while you were growing up.

So here are a few classic parenting techniques that you should consider employing in your daily routine. Between giving yourself "time outs," sticking to a strict schedule, working on rewarding positive behavior and either learning from or ignoring the negative, we're never too old to learn from kids. After all, they are the un-jaded, most essential parts of who we still are. By catering to them, we are loving them, and by loving them, we are reinforcing the idea that our adult minds can (and will) take charge after all.

Send Yourself To "Time Out" When Emotions Start Running High

If you're in the middle of an argument, or someone has done something that's infuriated you, or you're about to make a rash but strongly-emotional decision, take a time out. Go to a separate room and sit by yourself for a little bit. If that's not possible, at least excuse yourself from the situation or return to it after a good night's sleep. It will help you refrain from acting on impulse.

Create A Routine And Stick To It Strictly

Kids are happiest when they have specific routines that they follow each day, or each week. When the guesswork is taken out of their lives, they feel inherently safer, as they aren't constantly confronting the unknown (everything is unknown to a child).

Make "House Rules" For Yourself

Kids thrive on rules — it's just a matter of what they are told (or perceive) those rules to be, and whether or not they are mentally, emotionally, socially and otherwise constructive and healthy. Set rules for yourself that support your goals and your wellbeing. Make them your priority.

Discipline, Don't Punish

Discipline is constructive, punishment is destructive. Punishing yourself does not help you in any way, but disciplining does. The difference is that discipline is to reinforce that the action you chose to take was not the best choice. Punishment is to reinforce that your "bad" action makes you a "bad" person.

See Experiences As "Teaching Opportunities"

Scary emotions are an opportunity to learn how to better handle yourself, not knowing how to file a piece of paperwork is an opportunity to learn more about taxes, being low on your budget one week is an opportunity to learn how to cook with what's in the pantry. The point is, if you turn everything you experience into a "teaching opportunity," you don't suffer over anything, even if it is initially painful. You simply grow.

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