Credit to Self Love Rainbow for the inspiration.
Raising children is a huge responsibility. It takes effort, intention, awareness and often involves lots of wanting things to be different, be further ahead, be winning “the battle”.
So often what I see and have noticed in myself is that we get so focused on growth/improvement that we don’t stop and appreciate how far we’ve come.
What are you celebrating today?
Are you helping your children to be growing these skills too?
For most of us this is a conditioned response from childhood, meaning that celebrating success was for a very limited set of criteria, because, heaven forbid, you might get a “big head” or “too big for your boots”.
Women particularly have been conditioned not to stand out. It is worth appreciating that feminine energy IS about connection and community and that has made it easier to be conditioned and also needs acknowledging it’s part of our role too.
The challenge is finding the healthy boundaries. That has its own trip hazards when it comes to how we interact with our children. Depending on as a parent your specific conditioning and how your temperament/behaviour profile responded to the approach that was used with you.
(Which quadrants do you relate to? Is your child different?)
These are considerations when looking at how we are conditioning our child. No point in avoiding the fact that we (the adult/s) create the environment that they respond to.
We may have the best intentions in the world, but if how we deliver those best intentions are not in alignment with our child, they may experience little “t” trauma. Being anything that has them feel unsafe, unworthy or creates fear of rejection.
For children, this can be way more than we adults appreciate because we may no longer remember what we felt like when our feelings were hurt. We all build strategies to cope if we feel at risk of being abandoned.
An important consideration is to appreciate that for children, feelings are FACTS. This is due to them still to develop critical thinking and perspective taking capabilities. Until then, kids need us to facilitate (not tell or teach) how to think and take perspective. This can be a real difficult endeavour for those of us who are drawn to problem solving. With no negative intention we can hijack their opportunity to gain the skills we want for them.
When being their external hard drive ie providing that thinking capability that they do not have yet, it is essential that we do so through listening without judgement, justification or defensiveness. We MUST be neutral about what’s happening because it’s about them.
Even then there is no guarantee that we’ll learn what we expected because it’s their thoughts. Which is why it’s important to be neutral because it’s not for us, we are supporting them for them.
This doesn’t mean we are letting them “get away” with anything. The mission is to create a safe haven for them to learn what they need to do and how to do it for themselves when they can’t do so by themselves, yet.
Approaching the parent child relationship like this is how we support them to grow their self esteem. Enable them to build trust in themselves, while also growing their trust in their relationship with us.
This is where many of us missed out growing up, because our parents, with no malicious intentions were as likely to believe they needed to solve our problems. Which meant that we didn’t get the opportunity to develop and grow those skills in a way that aligned with us.
Even those who like me may be great problem solvers. That was the model I had and the approach I used. I now appreciate that this approach to parenting is too much about the parent and not enough for the child. We just think it is how it’s supposed to be because that’s what was our experience.
Being more of a problem solver, instead of a curious listener has been the key behind the issues I had in parenting my four very different children.
Mr Wild Child, had lots of early life trauma including lots of disruption and parents divorcing. He is similar to me, and his need for control meant that “regular” top down parenting was not going to fly. He also has ADHD (undiagnosed at the time), which potentially exacerbated by the early life trauma meant that he was quite oppositional. I had to learn an entirely different management style to achieve any form of harmony in our relationship.
Miss Quiet, had lots of early life medical issues and her early life trauma was different and her temperament was completely different. She was my “easy” child, though also practically any child could have seemed easier in comparison. She has been the proverbial duck with smooth on the surface and paddling like anything on the unseen.
Mr Baby from H3ll, had a tough start to life for a whole variety of reasons including a whole lot of physiological anomalies some that resolved with time and others that he adapted to. He is also very typical of a third child. Birth order psychology being one of many layers that influence and impact who we are and how we navigate the world.
Miss Dynamic and Independent, who experienced significant bullying during her tween years that changed how she related to the world. She too is very likely to have ADHD which affected her relationship with herself because the attention deficit meant she made more mistakes, was less tenacious and easily frustrated. She is also my child who was highly intuitive of other’s experience, conscious of supporting others to connect. Her protective response is to say NO as the first answer, and that drove a lot of my need to solve the problem and our desires clashing. I’ve learned to stop trying to convince her. What I have discovered is that she needs more time to process and if I try to go for an instant solution, things come apart.
“It takes a village” is a truism and it is important to also appreciate we are not meant to be “the experts”. We are not meant to do it alone. Plus our child is the expert on them. Partnering with them is how we raise a child to become resilient and wholehearted. They get to feel safe in our presence and we get to become a trusted advisor.
This all takes time to build trust. This is where we have to develop and understand ourselves first, so that we can separate our wants and needs from their behaviour. Enabling us to be the neural feedback loop that they need. Empowering us to be unconditional love with them. Accepting them, even when their behaviour makes us feel very uncomfortable.
Want to build that safe haven environment?
Then reach out and we can discuss where you are at and what steps will help you most. (firstname.lastname@example.org )
Build Beautiful Foundations is a 12 week guided program to help you get on track and gain clarity around your North Star regardless of what stage of parenting you are at and feel full supported that you can trouble shoot along the way.
You are enough, they are worthy and we all belong.
Together we ARE Stronger.