Trusting Our Children
I distinctly remember thinking when I was a child, that “if my parents would treat me with the same kindness and respect that that they treated the people outside of our family, there would be little to no conflict between us”. This I suspected would have spared me from the pain and shame they unconsciously used, to get me to comply with their preferences and expectations……I also remember vowing to myself that I would remember what it was like to be a child, and therefore would be able to communicate to my own children, in a way that was respectful to their feelings.
Yet, like all parents, I too on more occasions than I care to admit, succumb to the old ways of parenting through power struggles with my children.
The problem is not that we need to learn new parenting skills to raise our children, but rather, that we need to unlearn the “parenting program” that our parents passed down to us.
The secret of parenting is simple, and it applies as much to parenting, as it does all relationships. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. That is simply it.
If you wouldn’t say what you say to your children, in the way that you say it, to a friend, then you shouldn’t be saying it, or at the very least be saying it in the way you said it to your child!!
This is common sense! Yet we try to get around it, in our impatience, hidden agendas and fear of losing control.
Consensus Between Parent and Child
Realize that it is possible to meet both your own needs and your child’s needs without compromise. Consensus is not compromise. Consensus is looking at the big picture and coming up with a higher way or solution to meet the needs of everyone involved. Our children need us to uphold what is best for them.
Can you imagine what it must be like to live around adults?
How would you like to be “ordered around”, have your decisions made for you and physically forced against your will to eat, go to bed and stop what you are doing, at a moments notice due to the conveniences of someone else’s agenda?
This is not even to speak of the physical and emotional abuse that many children must tragically endure.
Embracing Our Children’s Innocence
Let us recognize and embrace our children’s innocence…..I am so disheartened when I hear such statements such as “children are manipulative”, “bad”, “defiant” or “destructive”.
NO! THAT IS NOT WHO THE CHILD IS!!! Those behaviors come out of unmet needs! Needs that are our responsibility as the parents.
We must embrace our children’s innocence, and recognize that the problem is not with the child, never was and never will be!
If we can assume our child is innocent, we can stop and ask what is the right response in this moment? As we interact with our children, do we react to them with our unconscious “parenting programs” or are we responding to a sentient, innocent and vulnerable human being worthy of our love, respect and care?
How can we expect respect from our children if we do not treat them with respect?
Connection fosters respect. Your children want to please you from a place of desiring to feel your joy, rather than out of fear of your disapproval or your withholding of love. This also applies to the other side of the coin.
Children act defiant, because we humans have evolved to have what Gordon Neufeld refers to as “counter will”, it is a protective instinct! So called defiant children are not bad!!! This instinct and impulse to do the opposite of what we are told, arises out of a place of protection. Protection that is, from those who would have us do something that is not in our best interests! It only arises within us when the person telling us what to do, has hidden agendas or when that person has not established a connection with us.
When parenting becomes a struggle, we must ask ourselves what is wrong with our approach to the child, not what is wrong with the child?
We must trust the innocence of our children, and trust our selves to know how to parent in the way that we would want to be parented ourselves.
Let us come back to relating to our children as a path of conscious parenting. This is our greatest practice as conscious parents, and it is the only way to transcend painful so-called misbehavior. If we focus on the behavior instead of the child, we will continue to see more of the behavior, that is a fact. While if we focus on the relationship, we will see the true essence of our child as the behavior slips away.
Relationship is everything.
It seems appropriate to leave you with the profound insights of Kahil De Brahn.
“Your children are not your children, they are sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you, but not from you, and though they are with you, they belong not to you. You may give them your love, but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may strive to be like them, but do not seek to make them like you. For life goes not backwards nor terry’s with yesterday.”
Let us bestow not only instinctual love upon our children, but also respect for who they are. Let us also stand with reverence for who they are to become, for we are very likely giving birth to souls who are much more evolved than we are! Children are our teachers. Let us embrace not only their innocence, but also their inherent wisdom. We can trust our child’s natural unfolding, as deeply as we can trust ourselves to know the difference between whether or not our actions, words and deeds as parents demonstrate love, respect and kindness. We do not have to question that. We can always feel it, within our soul’s wisdom.
Resources for Conscious Parenting:
Tags: conscious parenting
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