5 Habits of a Quasi-Enlightened Parent
It is with sheer delight I introduce you to Isabella Carter who is a qualified Millennium Modality® – Millennium Children® Course Student She has shared her wisdom through the following article and from the perspective as a Teacher. My intention of having certified Practitioners share their insights is so we have a holistic approach to Medical Intuition, Children, health and happiness. Enjoy and thank you Isabella.
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” – T.S. Elliot
I’ve damaged my kids. Through all of my parenting mistakes, my personal faults, yes, I’ve bruised their little souls in a way that has impacted how they see their world and react to it. And ultimately how they feel about themselves.
A bit harsh? Perhaps. But I’m about share with you, in the hope that I may give YOU HOPE that at any time, we have the power to heal, and turn things around. (enter Jean Sheehan with the tools to help me do this through Medical Intuition and Awaken Children concepts. YAY!)
In my endless exploring, of the best ways to bring up and educate my kids I’ve returned, battered, bruised, heartbroken, lifeless, despondent and fearful. Why? Because I have a little boy, 11 yrs old, who up until now has struggled to love himself and reflected this in his daily interactions with others. It hasn’t been pretty and I’ve returned to the place I started asking ‘how did I manage to get it so wrong?’ And if it wasn’t enough for me to punish myself, a very good friend made a life altering statement to me a few months ago.
You may need to sit for this one.
“Man up Bella, it’s all your fault.”
Picture this. We are both homeschooling our kids. We get together each week with our little ones, and blab on solving the problems of the education and parenting world. I’m having a challenging time with my eldest. It’s been going on for years, the fractured connection we have, his difficulties with friendships, his ultimate lack of love of life. He’s even talking about ‘what’s the point of being here?’. I’m feeling totally destroyed, everything I’ve tried hasn’t worked (in my mind), I’ve done all those darn courses on parenting, on mindfulness and education alternatives. Nothing. My child is not thriving. And out comes the truth bomb. Just like that. We are sitting with our cups of tea in hand. She says it. Silence for a second. And then we crack up. The laughs are laced with ‘that is SO TRUE. It IS all our fault. Or let’s say it is all our doing. Yes we are ultimately responsible for how we see things, interpret what is going on, how we choose to react, how we deal with how we feel about it and what our children watch and learn from us.” It is 100% our fault. But can it also be 100% my fault to create connection and happiness in them too? You betcha. I’ve discovered I can create a new way of being faultFUL. I can be the cause of happiness, of playfulness, of joy, of being enlivened. I can create that state in my kids. And it’s really quite easy. There’s essentially one flick of the switch. One foundational understanding. One shift I must make. And that is……to understand the only change I can effect in my children, is to focus on myself. To create the shift within myself. To experience life with joy and playfulness myself. To care for myself. To love MYSELF. They were born to me individuals. They are not me and I am not them. I don’t own them. And no longer do I believe that I can ever truly influence them. Only once I am living in integrity with my own awareness and truth, can I trust that they will see and learn and grow when their soul is good and ready.
What a revelation. I’ve woken to the fact that this little man of mine has been my mirror. Every time he would say to me, “Mum, I feel sad and don’t know why” I would previously spiral into panic and run around like a headless chook trying to ‘fix him’. Instead what I needed to do was ask myself, ‘Where am I not loving myself right now?’ To look within rather than outside of myself.
Through my experience, I have discovered 5 significant habits that jeopardised my connection with my kids (and thus themselves) and 7 life altering and effective ways that are creating the harmonious and joyful character in all of us now. I’m calling this FaultForward. FaultForward: the cause and effect process of living consciously and aware. The end result? Self love, happy anticipation in learning, joyful strong relationships and effective empowering problem solving skills. From there the ripple effects go on. In a good way. PHEW.
5 CONNECTION CRACKING HABITS (as a parent)
1. Taking my child’s behavior personally. (CRACK NO. 1)
All of us behave in ways that are deemed inappropriate at some point in our lives. It is always a reflection of how we feel. It is a human condition of true living and growing. Of course adults are meant to role model effective ways to express natural emotions of anger, sadness, frustration, confusion, excitement etc. When I encountered my children responding in tantrum-like, aggressive and demanding ways, I would spiral into a reaction that reflected personal hurt. Like they were trying to punish me or manipulate me. I would react based on feelings of either anger and hurt (How could you do this to me? I do so much for you?) or embarrassment (worrying about what family and friends are thinking and saying). So my behaviour in dealing with them would often mirror my child’s behaviour. With anger, tears, yelling. I thought I was guiding them. Instead I was showing them ineffective ways to deal with lifes challenges. Rather than guiding and supporting them, I was joining them.
2. Expecting my children to learn a social/emotional skill immediately. (CRACK NO. 2)
“How many times do I have to tell you??” Hmmmm. Best way to make your child feel inadequate! And when we feel inadequate we are less likely to be able to choose a better way next time. I’ve realised it takes many many different experiences to practice a particular way of being before we FEEL it and get it.
3. Always assuming that my child will do the wrong thing. (CRACK NO. 3)
How many times are we told to visualize what we do want, instead of what we don’t want and we’ve manifested that? Well this is the same thing. I was sending out energetic signals to my kids that I was expecting them to fail (misbehave) and the universe provided every time. WOW. My son especially was learning that I did not trust him or his ability to self regulate and show his strengths.
4. Soaking in my children’s emotional response to things. (CRACK NO. 5)
We all feel the pain of seeing our children upset. It comes with the parenting territory. However, when we take on their pain, we also disable our rational brain and become ineffective in helping them to deal with their pain in an empowering way. When my children were sad and upset, I would react in a sad and upset way. Therefore role modelling to them victim mentality and so the cycle continued. I am clear that all of these emotions are healthy and need to be expressed. Even from me. But when my kids are needing a safe place to decode what is happening for them so they can move through it and move forward with strength and resilience, they do not need a mumma who reflects back to them the same upset. They need me to listen, to say “I see your upset, I see your pain, I am here for as long as you need me”. Most often they do not need my words. They just need my calm, loving presence. This allows them to come up with their own answers building their inner belief in themselves.
5. Not trusting myself as a parent. (EPIC CRACK NO. 4.)
Ultimately all of the above cracks developed from my own lack of awareness of mySELF.
Once I realised that every perception of what was happening with my kids was driven from needs and beliefs within myself (developed from my childhood) I began to internalise all the learnings throughout the years instead of intellectualising them. I realised that I personally had a strong need to belong (thus my fear of judgement from others), a strong need for peace (thus my personal hurt when there was conflict), my need to be in control (thus my fight/flight response when things didn’t go to plan), and my need to be right (one of the most debilitating thought patterns that exist). When I let go of all of these, the peace and flow that found me has now flowed into my family as well. Ahhhhhhh.
Waking up and learning to trust my intuition through body awareness has been the guiding force with which I have been living my life lately. Thanks to Jeans teachings I have been able to consolidate all of the things I have been learning through the years and apply the knowledge to create the wisdom I can rely on. I’ve got many new ways of being now and there are 7 in particular that stand out for me.
1. Be the example of what adulthood can look like! (playfulness, joy, peace, passion, connection, fulfilling your own passions and interests)
I’m showing them what adulthood CAN look like. How many adults are rushing around building their empires in the belief that they are creating positive future for their families yet not spending any time with each other in calm and playful ways? In our modern society we have forgotten that the ultimate sustaining attribute for happiness and success is presence, connection and playfulness. Why do we give value to eating each day to keep our bodies going but we we don’t stop and give the same value to connecting with each other in joyful ways? Why do we play when we are children and then sit on the sidelines and watch the children play when we are adults??? Why do we constantly use language like, ‘I’m too busy, I don’t have time’?. How often do we get to the end of our day and let out a sigh laden with ‘boy that was a fun, satisfying day. I loved doing that?’ Is this the adulthood they are aspiring to? NO LONGER IN MY FAMILY. Each day I play. I do things that I love for myself, I do things with my husband and I do things with my children that they love and we laugh and relax together. The statement quality over quantity has never been so real. It doesn’t have to take long. But it does require utmost presence in that moment.
2. Walking my talk.
I don’t believe in ‘do as I say and not as I do’. I am fully aware that my children learn by watching what I do and how I do it. My focus now is on always having a CAN DO attitude, seeing challenges, failures and mistakes as a spring board to creating something better or new. I show them when I am upset with something or someone, I can move through that with integrity, grace and love. I show them my own resilience by identifying how I feel, acknowledging that emotion and allowing it to flow on as I say thank you for the learning. I often talk this out loud, so they see and hear it.
3. LESS talk MORE Being
I used to go into overkill when talking something through with the kids and I ignored their ‘switch off yeah year’ signs. Then I’d get mad with them for not listening. Doh. I’ve discovered the power of Active and Reflective listening. When I just listen, and with a nod or gentle touch, let them know I am hanging on their every word, I find there is not much more I need to do as they off load what is happening for them. As they express out loud, they often then suddenly make sense to themselves and either come up with their own solution or simply feel satisfied with being able to express and let go. Sometimes they ask me to comment so I say “So what I heard you say is….’ and I just quickly repeat to them what they told me. It’s another level of making sense of what has happened. It works. Better still it is a powerful opportunity to connect and build trust.
4. From Passive/Permissive parenting to PRO-active parenting.
One misunderstanding I’ve had through the years is this whole modern parenting philosophy taking the world by storm: Parenting with Compassion and Empathy. I believe in this wholeheartedly. The misunderstanding lies in the follow up of a conflict or behaviour. I used to listen to my upset child with empathy, while he/she was saying I ‘I yelled at him/her because he did ____ to me.’ And then apologies and then move on. No natural consequence. Of course with small conflicts, not much needs to happen but a fundamental mistake has been to allow the child to MAKE EXCUSES for his reaction to something or someone (the blame/victim mindset) and then not take responsibility for his response. And so the cycle would continue. Permissive parenting is allowing the child to react in ineffective and hurtful ways (whether words, excluding, physically) because someone else has apparently done something unkind. I’ve discovered the term ‘Joining the circle of PAIN.’ I’ve explained to my children that their reaction to anything or anyone is 100% their responsibility and we have now many effective ways to deal with other peoples unkind or ineffective behaviour. We now join the ‘Circle of Joy.’ That is when someone is doing something that is hurtful, understand that is their own pain showing through, and then choose a reaction that steps you away from also being hurtful in response. Break the pain cycle. Allowing our children excuses for their behaviour only serves to instil in them ineffective conflict resolution strategies, it robs them of resilience, robs them of relationship building character and keeps them in a state of fight or flight. When I am parenting pro-actively, I am saying ‘I understand your upset, and I love you (my love is unconditional regardless of what you have done) but you must accept the natural consequence of your chosen reaction or behaviour. It gives me an opportunity to guide them through the process of identifying how they are feeling, acknowledging it, allowing it (sit with it, cool down, let it float away) and then choosing the path of empowerment.
5. Less correction, more connection
How often did we switch off when we felt nagged. Worse still it would make us feel unworthy, unable to make a good decision and not trust our own judgement. Well I’ve nagged my kids about their behaviour all day, day in day out, and all that resulted was more of the same behaviour. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing and expect a different result and it’s taken me many years to get it despite all of the courses and workshops I have done. So now I observe from afar, allow most of those typical benign childhood behaviours to go through to the keeper and set about connecting. And guess what? We are all happier and those unlikeable and worrisome behaviours are diminishing naturally. Ahhhhhhhh.
6. My business, your business, universal business.
My kids reflect this back to me all the time now. Good on them. I need to be reminded! When I was in the nagging, over talking parenting cycle, I was always in THEIR business. When I shouldn’t have been. Children can work out many little glitches by themselves (it’s the bigger ones we need to guide them through) but when I was an ‘asleep parent’, I used to butt in at every sign of perceived danger or conflict. I was disabling them in the process, annoying the crap out of them (hmmmm I remember being annoyed too when I was a kid if adults told me what I already knew or I was just on the verge of solving a problem by myself). Now I let them be and TRUST. Nine times out of ten they work it out. They know that at any time they can ask me to be the sounding board but they are trusting themselves more and more to tackle things with empowerment. They are learning too that they can only control their own inner universe, not anyone else’s and with staying in the theme of being the example to them, by me staying out of their business, they are learning to judge when they need to stay out of other peoples business. The most poignant concept here though is that none of us is responsible for changing anyone else but ourselves. We cannot control what happens outside of ourselves, but we can control how we see things, and how we respond. Which brings me to the next point. You ready?
7. Let go of the need to be right! Let go of the people pleaser!
Ahhhhhh this is a biggie. We all think that our take on things is the right one. But really, no-one is right and no-one is wrong. It’s all just perspective. Of course, if we are acting in violation of someones personal safety emotionally or physically, we are clearly wrong. No one person has a right to harm any other person, animal or mother earth (*except when someone or something is endangering your or someone elses personal safety – critical thinking is required here). So when we are talking relationships and learning how to be in this world where love and peace reside, the ‘need to be right’ attitude causes us to come up with excuses again for our behaviour. And we join the circle of pain. Have you noticed the wars continuing around the world??? Yes, they are all stuck in the circle of pain by being in each others business and needing to be right. So. If my child is his own person, has his own interests, likes things I don’t particularly take a fancy to, does that make me right and him wrong? This is where I am able to look within myself and ask the question in the moment, ‘Is this more about me needing control, me needing to belong, me needing to be seen to be a good parent?’ If it is then, I have to take stock, step back and allow my child to be who he is and guide it to be it from a place of love and grace.
Self awareness and consciousness as an individual first, parent second, is what I’m talking about. My course (Awaken Children) with Jean Sheehan a few years ago, continues to guide this concept within me. And I have finally jumped out of my head and into my heart so I can effect the change I want in my family.
The end goal?
For each of us, my children included, to live life with self love and belief, a growth mindset (can do attitude), strong connection to self, others, mother nature…a love of mistakes and failures and from there an ability to go forth into the world with unbridled passion and anticipation.
Our children need us to be grounded. And it is a job never done. Be awake. Move from quasi-enlightened to BE ing what you learn. A conscious critical creative thinker and loving individual first and parent second. It works.