I was inspired to provide my Nuggets of Truth in Parenting to you. I have been thinking about parenting in the last few weeks because of this phenomenon everyone is calling “the state of the world.” I have been hearing from youth and young adults that they are considering foregoing parenthood. Many are even wondering why they were brought into this world. It is a critical question to ask, but more importantly to answer… so I will leave that topic for another blog.
I was 23 years old when I first became a parent. I had three children by the time I was 28 years old. I was itching to create a family of human beings that could change the world! Or at least contribute to something beautiful. It is debatable whether I was ready – but what is readiness to dive into an adventure that never ends? Adding to that, I did not have true informed consent or even proper information to proceed.
The following list are nuggets of truth that are guiding my continuous “learning how to parent” with integrity, some joy and fulfillment (this is not comprehensive or even scratching the surface of the vastness of complexity connected with this job). :
- requiring Humility about who you thought you would be as a parent and a person. You did not enter this adventure knowing and you will continuously be surprised and sometimes dismayed.
- about your Child Being Heard and Feeling Cared for in the relationship – not necessarily you feeling this way. How you hear and care for your child must be sorted out between the two of you by trial and error; a constant dance and weaving in and out of secure love as well as the fear and shame from getting it wrong.
- discipline – as teaching not punishment. Literally Showing the Way through prevention, support and correction. It is also “teacher as learner“, demonstrating the lifelong learner perspective that as soon as we think we know we will be proven wrong. Always being open to being shown the way – often by our student.
- understanding the intricacies of Power Struggles and the futility of them in developing and maintaining relationship. Understanding that the power to create life is the beginning of a type of servitude and commitment to that life. As without you, there are only various forms of death. Death of the body, mind or the psyche. Even minor breaches in connection can have a devastating or subtle effect on the mind, body or spirit. This life, no matter how much you have sacrificed to bring it into being, does not mean it belongs to you.
- learning the genuine Rules for Citizenship, safety and what that really means for our home and community. This will be different depending on the context of your lives and so changes to these rules should reflect the shifts in the landscape of our lives.
- researching child/adolescent brain development as a guide to how to teach your young person and unlearning whatever you might have been taught / thought about this area of expertise. That while no child comes with a manual, there are lifetimes of knowledge out there about the myriad ways of creating and raising a human life and the vast spectrum or various experiences that the journey may bring.
- discovering, exploring and respecting Issues of Diversity (gender, neurological, sexuality, personality, ethnicity) in your child and their world. This will also require learning and unlearning. It will force you to dig deep into your beliefs, ethics, history and personal narrative. Work that requires a fearlessness most shy away from.
- letting go of the narrative/dream of who/what your child is/will be. And, of course, this means letting go of the dream about you that went with it.
- experiencing your child directly without bias or filters. Looking beyond what you think you see or hear on the surface. Feeling into your child with all of your ancient senses and trying to connect at a deeper level – their core essence. If you are able to get a glimpse and are able to mirror this back to them, you will allow your child to know themselves too.
Tired of Arguing – Stop Talking
- self restraint and willpower: If you are tired of arguing – stop talking. Give commands (one word directions) and then stop explaining or lecturing. Remove yourself so your child cannot see your reaction if you have one. Give them information and then give them room: Space to make mistakes, discover new ways of doing things and learning powerful lessons on their own steam. The learning with integrate easier and will build their confidence and self-esteem.
- Good, Clear Judgement: Remove your attention when you don’t like their behaviour. Look away. Give lots of positive feedback when you Appreciate and Enjoy them – celebrate them when you feel pride in who they are.
- ignoring the Drama, being Firm yet Flexible with your boundaries, and being a bit Unpredictable. Always keep them on their toes – always guessing to keep their mind sharp and watching you. Then, show them The Way according to you and from that they will shape a new path that leads to The Way according the them.
Kathlyn McHugh RCC, RSW Counselling Practice takes place at the Vitality Clinic in the West Shore Area, close to Victoria BC.
Visit the website at: Home – The Vitality Clinic