As I prepare to give an Introductory Talk for the parent education course ‘Tuning in to Kids’, it has me thinking about how it is when a child arrives in your life. I am reminded of the level of devotion and the love one has for their new born baby, the intensity of which is inexplicable. This feeling is utterly incomprehensible before having your own child. No matter how many books you read, how many times you hear it from others – nothing prepares you for it. Over night they become your world, your focus. If it came to it, without reservation you would die for them. Pretty strong stuff.
Hold on to those hopes and dreams you have for your child
As they grow and you see their temperament and personality start to emerge, one cant help be filled with hopes for them –
- hopes that they will enjoy good physical, emotional and mental health
- hopes that they will grow up to be kind, loving people that have a desire to make the world a better place
- hopes that they will have a life of purpose – following their dreams and making good use of their talents
- and our list goes on ……….
But how do we help them reach their potential? Deep down we know that the environment and experiences we provide them with, have a lot to do with this.
Parents are the Key
Parents are the key to us humans developing a more humanitarian, kind, respectful world. They are raising the next generation and what could be a more important task? But the task is becoming increasingly more daunting and difficult as technology infiltrates families and home life in an unprecedented manner.
You are the experience provider
Research has shown beyond doubt that our perceptions of our experiences from childhood, colour and shape how we view ourselves and the world around us, including how we relate to others as adults.
Aside from all the research – we know in our bones that as parents or caregivers we are playing a huge role in shaping our children. Anyone who has done some work on themselves knows that in therapy, or self reflective work, they have had to face their perceptions of their childhood experiences in order to understand how they are impacting on their beliefs, thinking and emotional life as an adult. And when stressed, tired, overwhelmed – we parents can so easily slip into being our own mum or dad – repeating the same words we heard as a child, repeating the same behaviour we saw – even when you swore you’d never be like that! It can be scary and it can be distressing and it can be the source of shame and guilt. But it also indicates the power our parents had in shaping our behaviour.
Do we really need to change our parenting approach?
Every day the media reports unutterable crimes to humanity and individuals, rising domestic violence, rising mental health issues – depression, anxiety, PTSD, suicide, addiction – the list goes on. This is not indicative of a society made up of well adjusted, mentally healthy individuals.
I think as a race, we aren’t great at emotions. I think as a race, we are at some evolutionary crisis. As a race, we have to change! We have to take heed of the research and what our inner knowing clearly tells us. Parents must realise the power they have to make a difference by raising amazing human beings.
The issue is complex – ranging from:
- Parents committing to their own health and wellbeing so they are more centred, balanced, in tune and available. This may include needing to do your own healing work so you can move beyond familiar patterns and start to break the cycle of dysfunction
- Parents stepping up and really being that role model they’d like to be. This will entail learning new, more healthy, effective ways of parenting that will help develop emotionally intelligent, balanced, creative, responsible, purposeful, effective and compassionate adults
- Parents really understanding human development and what a child needs while moving through this magical, precious stage we call Childhood
This sounds like a quest – but what more worthy quest could there be?
I am an idealist! My hope lies in the masses. My hope lies in parents. Parents have the power to make the world a better place. They are raising the next generation of adults. Use the love you have for your child as your great motivator to become more of who you innately are – more of the highest in you!
If you are struggling with parenting – take steps to get the help you need
- Shop around and find the right therapist for you
- Approach community services
- Enrol in a parent education course that offers new skills and ways of parenting
- Read targeted parent education books
- Talk to friends and connect with other parents – you are not alone in this.