Updated: Jul 20, 2021
Times have changed and for many, we’re undergoing our own path of healing. More and more we’re understanding just how much our childhood experiences, good or bad, define who we are as adults.
We’re witnessing and living proof of how generational trauma can be passed down and handed to the next generation, only for the cycle to be repeated until the cycle is broken.
We’re taught how different parenting styles have influenced who we are today, that certain relationships may have created an imprint on our subconscious and how our own personal trauma has impacted our perception of the world, how we behave and operate. How does one remain present, especially when so many of us are experiencing trauma, loss and grief and needing to disconnect from it all?
Having this conscious awareness means that many of us are doing the inner work to heal ourselves of this, in order to evolve and grow, not only for ourselves but our kids. As such, whilst we are the midst of breaking generational ties and trauma and healing, we’re also adamant not to screw up our kids in the process.
So what does this mean for our kids?
Now we know that all have the awareness that we could royally f@ck up our kids, what does this means for us, and in turn, what pressure is this creating for us to be the perfect mum, dad/parent and the raise a child who won’t be traumatised by the way we’ve raised them.
Woah!! Such big expectations!
Unfortunately, having such an awareness making us so consciously aware that not only are we all trying to do the work on ourselves, but now we are stress on how not to screw up our kids!
Have we deviated too far to the other extreme and are we placing undue pressure on us to raise the perfect kid?
Have we taken this responsibility too far, in addition to the general angst that kids experience and is it causing us further stress that none of us need to encounter?
Are we now wrapping them up in cotton wool and over protecting them from the ways of the world?
Are we now taking away our children’s ability to navigate the world, for fear that we may royally screw them up and then have to live within the ongoing guilt for the rest of our lives?
In writing this… I think I need a nap!
The fact that you are reading this and the fact that you have thought about this shows leaps and bounds about you and the intent that you have as a parent, in wanting the best for your child. It’s a fine balance between having an awareness of the impact of our behaviour as parents, understanding how this impacts each kid uniquely and also knowing that we need to let each kid walk their own path of this on this journey called life.
So how can we create more of a balance within our lives and within our kids lives, in order to not project our own insecurities onto them, in order to give them the skills to navigate the world around them, in order to allow them to develop the key skills and resources that they will need to navigate the world.
Some key themes that have helped me for the past
8 years of parenting are as below. . .
Teaching our kids that we are human, just like them
That we too need to adapt, grow and evolve, that we make mistakes, that we are human; that we have fears, that we need to break through this too.
Kids often put their parents on a pedestal. I know the first time my son saw me cry, he was shocked! He assumed that parents were void of emotions and I had to explain to him, that I get upset, that sometimes I get cross, make mistakes. That I also have fears and get scared and need to work on these. It enables our kids to model off us and to know that we too are human and aren’t without challenges.
Listen listen listen
As adults, all we want to be is heard. Our kids are absolutely no different and for us to raise resilient self aware kids, we need to encourage them to keep their hearts open in a world that tells them not to, we need to enable them to voice their opinions and ideas, in a world that tries to teach them to conform.
Allow them to rebel a little
There is so much of society that requires us to conform. This occurs as soon as we are exposing to kinder, when the rules and regulations are enforced. I do understands that we do these needs so we as kids and adults don’t go into utter chaos and start rioting, but for many of us, we’ve lost the ability know who we truly are, to be unique, to be able to uniquely express ourselves before the world tells us that we can’t.
As such, we need to give kids the vehicle to do this and maintain this as long as possible. Allow them to rebel slightly and to find their own footing, to live in alignment with who they truly are despite our wishes and expectations for them to be someone that they are not. By the way, if our kid doesn’t rebel as a teenager, it’ll happen in their adult years!
Honouring that each kid, just like each individual is made up of their own unique personality, likes, dislikes, traits and behaviours
Each has their own mission in this earth and doing our best to not shove them into a box and expect them to conform to our way of living is important. Each also has their own that that express themselves.
For my son, I’m proud that he is emotional and sensitive and more intune with his emotions, but that means he feels all the feels. He is also the splitting image of me as a child so he internalises everything, tries to process the world mentally and can carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. He also has a tendency to default to self blame.
My daughter is the reverse. She was born angry, strong willed and could be seen as more defiant. She knows what she wants and won’t bow down, but underlying to that is her soft beautiful heart that she doesn’t show to many.
Both of them at the end of the day want to be heard and loved, both have their own love language, both are patented differently because they are different.
Give them the opportunity to make their own mistakes
This is a huge one, because as mum and parents, we would do anything to ensure that our child never gets hurt, but this is impossible (unfortunately). Just like us adults, it’s crucial that children experience the polarity of life. This will mean literally and metaphorically falling over, scraping their knees, experiencing the break down of relationships, getting their hearts hurt but it’s how we teach them to understand there will be some hardships and this too is ok.
Normalise emotions, overwhelm and give kids the awareness to acknowledge these requirements in their bod
Just like adults, kids can become overwhelmed with the pressures of life. This often just represents differently for kids and can be as little as having to process too much information at school or having to undertake too much of a work load. Unfortunately many kids, especially young kids, don’t have the acumen and vocabulary to vocalise and express their overwhelm and as such, tantrum, yell or scream.
Normalising overwhelm is important for our kids, as well as recognising it and giving them the words to express these. Within our family, we often say the term, my head is really full and I just need some quiet time. This allows each of us to honour what someone else is experiencing and allows us to take ownership and control of the situation.
Allow kids to express themselves
The phrase kids are resilient has been thrown around for years and years. I heard it numerous times throughout separating and divorcing my ex, through covid lockdowns. Without a doubt, kids are resilient, but dismissing kids as resilient and ignoring their emotional and mental health is one of the primary reasons why there is such a huge increase in anxiety amongst kids, why depression and suicide rates have increased. Categorising kids as ‘resilient’, needing to toughen up, that they’ll be right is causing our kids to retreat further inwards. The phrase, they’ll be right is exactly is the same.
Allowing our kids but also giving our kids the tools to express their little hearts is so important, but as adults, also listening intently to what our kids are trying to communicate to us. As we know, many dense emotions such as anger are the result of hidden emotions and unmet needs. This is the same for kids and many kids are angry and may have outbursts because of other emotions such as shame and hurt.
Another important factor is also normalising that we don’t need to have it all together and ‘right’ all the time, nor should we want to as that’s exhausting in itself it.
Our kids don’t want us to be perfect
Ultimately, each of us have come to earth to experience life in the human form and this comes with life experiences. Giving our kids the skills, the awareness and the resources to adequately adapt to this is crucial but so is trusting that we can only do our best with the resources that we have kids.
Our kids don’t want us to be perfect. They want us to be real, to love them, to spend time with them, to get messy, to show the full spectrum of emotions, to share their success, to wipe their tears, to listen to them, to allow them to be uniquely them.
© Amie Rule ~ Inner Work Outer Living, 2021