Updated: Jan 18
I believe in creating a world where parenting doesn't have to be painful, it can be filled with peace and purpose where our children learn to become self aware as we guide them into their unique truth. It's not a dream or wishful thinking when we have the right tools to help guide us along the way!
I am going to share with you 2 tools that changed my parenting experience and I know it can change yours too.
I am a mom of 3 and I remember the days when my kids were little and I was just trying to get through the day - looking forward to naptime and bedtime so that I could have my own time and not feel overwhelmed and stressed out.
I feel that this is normal to an extent...but what I found as my children started getting older was a longing to have more connection with them, but not knowing how to do that. When my children were little, I had a friend that had two children that were a bit older than mine, and she was an expander for me. What I mean by that is that she showed me, by her close relationship with her children, that it's possible to have a strong connection with mine, and that it's possible to have teenagers that don't do all the 'terrible things' that I thought was 'normal' because that was my experience.
I remember when I first learned that I was pregnant with Ireland, my first child that I made a commitment to myself and to her that I would do everything in my power to make sure that I had a healthy relationship with her. It wasn't too long after that, that my 2nd child was born. My first two children are less than a year a part by 9 days! I started noticing that when my second child was pretty little, I struggled being able to meet his needs. He was and is a very emotional child and at times he would go through emotional waves that I was not able to hold space for, so I would end up shutting him down. I remember feeling very insecure about how I was parenting him and realized that I had better do something or I was going to create disconnection between the two of us. The question was what could I do and how could I do that?
My background is in Psychology, and I was working part-time at a behavioral health facility with children and adolescents for a short time when my children were around 3 and 4 years old. I remember coming home from my shifts and being in such agony over what I would see. These children were being brought in because of behaviors that their parents and caregivers could not handle. When the families would come in for group therapy, the focus would generally be on the child and trying to change the behavior of the child. I didn't understand putting so much responsibility on a child and expecting them to behave 'normally' in an unhealthy emotionally and often physically and sexually abusive environment. After a few days the child would go back home, returning to the same toxic environment that was the catalyst for the 'abnormal' behaviors and eventually the child would end up coming back to the facility as a repeat patient.
Why are we expecting children to behave in a healthy way if the environment that they are being raised in is anything but healthy?
This, though I didn't realize it at the time, was a major catalyst for me in my own parenting. Although my childhood experience was very different than the children where I worked, I started getting curious and asking myself the really hard questions about the environment that I was raising my son in. I knew, that by not taking a look at myself and how I was potentially contributing to my experience with my son that nothing would shift. In doing this, I realized that emotionally I was not capable of meeting the needs of my son. I couldn't meet my own emotional needs at the time, so how could I expect to meet my child's or anyone else's? I would take every outburst he had personally, and get very upset when he would be upset and often would shame him for his emotions.
This went on for a few years before I knew that I had to do something, and I knew that as his parent it started with me.
The first thing that I knew that I had to do was make peace with my past and heal the places within me where I felt unloved, undeserving, unworthy, etc. so that I didn't project that onto my children. I was also a very emotional kid growing up and I grew up in a home where emotional intelligence wasn't a focus. I didn't learn how to really be with my emotions and navigate through them until well into my adulthood, I learned, like so many of us, to repress and numb what I was really feeling. I found myself as an adult with an incredibly emotional child, not knowing how to navigate through that, so as a consequence I would push his emotions aside because I hadn't learned and didn't know how to give space to my own.
Our children are our greatest teachers....if we can be humble enough to allow them to teach us.
As I started making peace with my own emotions, my past, reclaiming my inner child(ren), and integrating my shadow pieces I realized that my capacity to see my children for who they were started shifting. I started to really enjoy being with them in a way I hadn't before, spending time and learning about who they were as individuals....I started trusting them more because I was trusting myself more. I noticed that I didn't get triggered as much when they would say or do things, and the times that I did, I would get curious about it and use it as a tool of uncovering more limiting beliefs that were within myself and as a tool of deeper connection vs. disconnection.
A few years later, the second thing that I did was learn my children's unique designs. I started studying Astrology and Human Design as these were tools that brought me an enormous awareness about myself. I started studying my children's charts so that I could understand their blueprint and start to guide them along their own unique journey vs. a journey that I made for them.
Doing this has allowed me to understand my children in a way that I'm not sure I would be able to, otherwise, and also to give