What's that one idea? They're not here to please us; they're here for their own journey and exploration.
Parenting can be confusing, at times. They obviously need us to 1. be conceived and 2. live past a certain age.
This level of support is intense and can cause some confusion as to what the role of parent is. We think, somehow, because they need our undivided support for their growth and development that someone how this gives us the right to mistreat them verbally, or in very bad cases, physically.
Somewhere along the line we developed the idea that we could yell, nag, berate, call names, or verbally insult them, in public and private, simply because we gave them life. We don't treat our friends and co-workers this way. Why is it okay to treat our kids this way?
Dr. Shefali Tsabary talked to Oprah about the role of parent. I agree with her.
We grump at our kids for not doing it ("it" being anything we ask) right, not doing it at all, or doing it their way. We expect on them to love us unconditionally and respect our every word, but we don't always return the favor, in kind.
Why is it that when humans get taller and bigger they feel that gives them the right to be disrespectful to little humans? Why is it that when we give birth to these tiny creatures, we feel they owe us instant respect?
I'm specifically referring to the times when things are stressful between parent and child, not the times filled with laughter, hugs, and fun.
Why? Those times—the stressful ones we have with our kids—make the biggest difference in our relationships with them and how they understand relationships, in general.
My kids are ten, twelve, and fourteen currently. Over five years ago I gave up the idea that I knew more than them, about what was best for them, simply because I was older and taller. (Weak credentials for wisdom—older, taller.)
This doesn't mean I don't share thoughts about situations and circumstances when they ask, but I stopped telling them what to do, who to be, and what to think.
(gasps fill the air)
That one sentence, "I stopped telling them what to do, who to be, and what to think." causes huge dismay for so many. They immediately think that means the children are heathens, belligerent, and disruptive. They are not anything of the sort. In fact, when I took my nose out of their business, things improved immensely.
Why did things get better between us?
Children are creatures who naturally gravitate toward the concept of well-being. The concept of well-being states that there is a river of well-being flowing through all of us. When we stop holding ourselves apart from it, we stop resisting the amazing beings we are at our core.
Naturally and without effort, we align with the brilliance that is truly us. When we are thinking, feeling and acting in alignment with who we really are, we make the best possible decisions.
When people, children specifically, are not being poked at from adults, it is my belief that they naturally align with who they really are. When they are aligned with their inner river of well-being, they do what is best for themselves and all those they come in contact with.
They are kind, friendly, motivated, loving, respectful creatures because this is who they really are—all of them. And when they are not, it's not for me to batter them for it. It's to stay in a place of love and be the example of what alignment looks like.
When they are not happy, loving beings, it's not my job is not to scare, shame or berate them into different behavior. Fear doesn't translate to love; it translates to more fear.
My job is to stay in a place of love and be the example of what alignment looks like. If I don't push against their anger, sadness, or angst, it will pass and their cork will float again sooner.
When you are thinking, feeling and acting in alignment with who you really are you make decisions in the highest good of all. This includes who to be friends with, how to speak to others, what to wear and eat, how to approach school and work, what career to choose, and much more. This applies to both parents and children. In fact, kids align with their best selves faster than adults because they have fewer habitual patterns of resistance.
There is an idea on the horizon called conscious parenting. It's being spearheaded by a woman named, Dr. Shefali Tsabary. I don't know her personally, but I have interviewed her and followed her work.
In my opinion, what she is trying to get parents to realize is that these blessed creatures called children are not here to please us. They are here as co-creators on a journey we all decided on together long before we got here.
Yes, they need us for survival and caretaking. What they don't need, and didn't come for, however, is our mental and emotional baggage.
That's ours, and ours alone, to manage. How do you know what your baggage is and if you're asking your kids to carry it? Pay attention to how you think, feel, and act.
It's not subconscious, by the way. It's right there out in the open for all to see, including you.
One day, over five years ago now, I was standing in my kitchen. My kids had many surgeries over the years and them being sick caused me great fear. How long would they be sick? How much would it cost this time? How many nights would we all lose sleep over this illness? How much stress would this cause us all?
My thinking, feeling, and acting was totally fear based. There was enough of a crack in my awareness to realize this and decide I wanted to change it.
In addition to the illnesses and the fear, I also had patterns of talking at them in a way that was less than nice, at times. Many people call this less than respectful parenting behavior "yelling". I was an old yeller, as much as I was a mother lover. I also used to complain about them to my friends ... all the whining, the tantrums, the work, the lack of sleep, the back talk, blah, blah, blah.
I was the typical suburban mom. Go to any local park and you'll find proof of what I'm talking about. They love their kids, are good people but tend to have a lot of banter between them and their kids. It's all under the guise of, "I just want them to be happy and successful." Seems so logical when you're saying it.
If we really wanted them to be happy, we'd stop bugging them so much to be and do everything we say and think just like us.
From that day in the kitchen forward, I paid attention to what I was thinking, why I was thinking it, how it made me feel to think that way, and what was happening between me and my children because of my patterning.
What I discovered, in the next five plus years, is too much to put in a blog post. To summarize, this relationship you have with your kids, no matter their age, can only be fixed, changed, or improved if you dedicate yourself to 1) paying attention to your thinking, feeling and outgrowth of action and 2) getting yourself out of their business.
Doing the first suggestion will not only improve your relationship with your kids, it will improve every aspect of your life. Doing the second suggestion will do the same. Be taking action on the second suggestion, it does not mean you don't love your kids. You do. We both know that's the truth.
Trusting your kids are here for their own journey allows you to watch, in awe, of their brilliance. Will they get it right all the time? Not by a long stretch. But that, my friend, is none of your business even when you call yourself Parent.
My pep talks nowadays with my kids is, "I trust you completely. I love you wholeheartedly. It's your life. What do you want to do with it? How do you want to live it? How to you want your relationship to be with us (parents), your sisters, your friends, your future partner?"
At first, this struck fear in my heart. My thinking patterns were very different. They sounded more like, "What if they get it wrong? What if they fail, ruin everything, get hurt, or achieve nothing? What if (insert negative idea here) .....?
Thinking that way will always lead to a feeling of fear. I had to make a decision to change my thinking. I had to change my belief that my kids did not come forth for my benefit, but their own. I had to change my expectations.
This shift in belief changed everything. As I mentioned before, I'm not the only one talking about this. Oprah and Dr. Shefali did, too.
I love my girls with my whole being. The difference between me then and me now is that I trust them completely. I trust that the decision they make in their life are the right ones for them. I trust that when they follow the guidance of their inner being things are always working out for them.
Their inner being knows them better than I do so my job is to stop talking and get out of the way.
In doing this, I have forever empowered them to live life well. Instead of second guessing themselves, they make decisions and focus on solutions. They are confident and they know what to do when unforeseen situations arise.
If you have any questions or concerns about this idea of parenting, may I suggest watching Oprah's conversation with Dr. Shefali this Sunday, August 7, 11 am, on Super Soul Sunday? Or, I'd also love for you to leave a comment below.
I believe conscious parenting is a conversation worth having. If you want more ease, joy, satisfaction, and relief in your experience, you'll pay closer attention to this dialog.
What you will find is that if you decide to go this route it will not end with just better parenting skills. You will become an intentional creator of your life, in all areas including money and health. You'll discover the ways in which you create your own reality, how to change outcomes you'd prefer to be different and how to live more unconditionally.
Your kids are a condition of your reality. If you need then to be a certain way in order for you to be happy, you will probably not be very happy. Is that really what you want? Conditionally happiness?
I think not.
Filed under: Uncategorized