Who is Parenting Your Child?By Sylvia Poareo
October 23, 2012
Have you tried to implement parenting advice only to find that something wasn't working? Often it is simply because we have neglected to tune into our own needs so that we can be loving to our children. Here is an example of the difference practicing Inner Bonding makes!
Lately it has become even more apparent to me that parenting has less to do with what we say or do, but rather where we are coming from when we do.
The other day my son Lucas who sprained his ankle, remarked at how he liked “feeling like a king!” because we were all doing so much for him.
It made me think about how we have enforced a family ethic that we encourage our children to do what they can and help them primarily only with those things they truly need help with. For example, my children make their own lunches, put their clothes away and navigate many age-appropriate household duties. Yet, there are often ways that they still want to be ‘waited on’ such as asking us to get their drinking water, when we are in the middle of serving dinner or attending to baby. Generally we respond with some variation of No, but the meta-message they receive is profoundly different depending on what state of self-presence we are in.
If we are feeling protective, defensive, overwhelmed (fight/flight) or simply grumpy because we are not taking care of ourselves, we might respond from what I like to call, our inner Teenager (reactive/resistant) self, implementing this boundary in an unloving way: (Thinking: I can’t believe after all I do, they will not get up and get their own water!) Saying: “No I will not get you your water, you are capable of doing that.” However the words come out, our underlying irritation would communicate, “I don’t care about you,” “You are a burden,” or “You exasperate me.” The goal of the boundary, to empower and equip our children, is lost.
On the other hand, if when they ask us to bring their water, we are tuning in, taking care of ourselves and parenting from the Loving Adult or Inner Parent, we remember we are a guide. We seek to communicate “Look how strong and capable you are to help yourself.” Sometimes if it is convenient we may bring it, because we help each other out….but if we cannot and we are coming from a place of love and not self defense, we might say a number of things with much more lightness and no shaming: “I can’t right now, honey” “Let’s all work together to get dinner ready” ”Oh now that is something you can do!” etc.
But it’s not about the words. I certainly have said “the words” only to know that my children were getting the clear message underneath and responding to it. They are so much more attuned than those of us who have been shut down from years of ‘do as you’re told’ parenting.
And it’s not about the specific situation. I am using this example only to illuminate the concept. It applies to any parenting ‘technique’ or boundary we aim to implement in our parenting life.
Beyond words, situation and technique…. It is…. where are you coming from?
Love (soft, curious,open heart) or Fear (defensive/self-protection/closed heart)?
‘Who’ is parenting your child?
An ‘Inner Teenager,’ the false adult that got you through life in survival mode,
or an ‘Inner Parent’ or Loving Adult self that is committed to nurturing and loving you and your child?
We all slip into that ‘teenager’ survival self. In the daily life of parenting that throws us out of balance constantly, we are simply more vulnerable to deferring back to that survival mode.
But in this spiritual practice of parenthood, we have the opportunity in every moment, to shift back into love and ask, “What would be truly loving for me? And my child?” The more that we reach to our intuition and spiritual connection, the more clearly we find the path to being a Loving parent for ourselves and our children.
It truly helps to simplify parenting, if we focus less on the details and more on what state we are in when we are parenting.
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