Definition – Self Responsibility

The state or fact of being responsible, answerable, or accountable for

something within one’s power, control, or management.

This is what “adulting” is about. 

The challenge in parenting is appreciating, we are only responsible for ourselves, our own actions and behaviour choices.  This is especially difficult if this was not the model of parenting you were raised by.

Even if you are clear that you are parenting differently to how you were raised, you can still get caught between love and loyalty to your parents.  The can lead to over-compensation with your child in an attempt to fill your own perceived gap.  Generally, a completely subconscious process.

This is often the underpinning feature in parental partner conflict is the gap in personal approaches based on how each was raised. Your beliefs around parenting and what it is supposed look like are very individual perspectives based on your lived experience in your own family.  

Constructive communication is essential to navigate these gaps functionally, so that the child does not end up as the “meat in the sandwich”.  Being clear about foundations and intentions and working in collaboration, rather than being caught in competition of my approach is better (even if it might be).

Safety – Instinct Driven

We humans are designed for personal (emotional and physical) safety first.  

Even the most caring parent has an underneath driver of personal safety. This is where your triggers can trip your best intentions up.

How a parent implements their personal safety can look different and be interpreted differently based on individual ways of processing their worlds.

Our human temperament, design, behaviour styles filter experiences first.  This is the nature element of our being.  The instinct aspect, and very much the ruler of our existence in the first seven years.

The “imprint” period.

The first seven years are called the “imprint period” because learning is happening without filters of logic or reason.  This means that a child processes their world very literally, as there is no intrinsic capacity to challenge what the brain is taking in.  They are virtual tape recorders with no editing features.

This can be very frustrating and even embarrassing because the output is also literal, we hear what they are thinking.  This is why as parents, we need to be wiser and kinder.  Appreciating that a child does not need our judgement of their inabilities but patient guidance through collaborative consultive conversation.  Supporting them as an external hard-drive to process their thoughts, so that they learn.  

The more we tell them how to be, rather than support them process how to be, the less they can embed into their system to build their skills.

If our parents did a lot of telling rather than supporting us learn, we may be trapped in childlike (not childish) instinctive thinking, because we’ve not learned how to challenge those thoughts (functionally) that come in literally. 

The gap between instinct – nature and adaptation – nurture can drive the feeling of not enoughness. 

Behaviour quadrants.


Difficulties such as conflict and overwhelm tend to arise when we, the parent, assumes what our child means by their behaviour.  When our own instinct takes charge.

If our needs were not met in alignment with our own temperament, design and behaviour style, chances are we’ve adapted to keep ourselves safe.  Meaning the “not self” may be in charge, leaving us feeling misunderstood or reacting in ways that the “self” may not like.

This can be particularly challenging when raising atypical (neurodivergent/alphabet condition) children, as they don’t process their world in standard ways, and even if we are also atypical, we are still conditioned to fit into the typical world.

Behaviour quadrants.


Regardless of what our childhood experience was, once we achieve adulthood our parents are no longer responsible for the choices we make (spoiler – they never were). But, we may have been conditioned out of believing that we have power, control and choice over our own lives.

The role of parent is to guide

The easiest way to guide is to work with our child, their temperament, design and behaviour style (personality).  Not always comfortable especially in the beginning.

Creating the Safe-haven.

Being a safe-haven means accepting our child/ren unconditionally.  Loving the person, even if there are opportunities for improvement in their actions. 

Babies, are after all are new to everything when they arrive, and learning as they go (just like we are as parents).

The more we appreciate the development journey, leaning into partnering rather than controlling along the way, the more influence we earn.

Feeling safe is about feeling seen, heard and understood.  Only once we feel safe can we trust.  Even tiny humans know who is trustworthy.  Instinct tells them.

If we want influence with our teens or even our young children so that they accept our guidance and listen, we must appreciate that building trust is earned by how well we partner with them as they grow and develop.

They can only learn to be responsible from what is modelled for them.  No amount of telling can create a responsible adult if that is not what they see, experience or have exposure to.

Behaviour quadrants.

Build Beautiful Foundations

If you feel like you’ve already failed, let me assure you it’s never too late to create fresh foundations for those who are willing to become curious. 

Whether you are most the way there and the mission needs a few tweaks, or you are ready for a whole renovation or restoration, there is hope.

The key is accepting the things you cannot change, being wise about the choices on what to focus on, and appreciating the process as you go through it.

You are enough, they are worthy and we all belong.

Collaboration, consultation and curiosity empower success.

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.  ( )

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.

Author – Leanne G Wakeling – Relationship and Communication Coach, Parenting Mentor,

Behaviour and Thinking Styles Profiler.