Parenting for a Healthier Generation

A young man followed me from the parking lot to the entrance of the coffee shop the other morning. From my experience on the psych wards of a County Hospital, I’d guess he had schizophrenia and seemed still heavily dosed on sedatives and antipsychotics, clearly not connected with any sense of reality the rest of us may have had in the cafe. He stood at the glass door, holding his belt, which was quickly translated to “there’s a homeless guy staring at you and groping himself.” As I looked at his face, I didn’t see an ounce of malicious intent in his grin. Instead, I saw the same expression my children have when I come home at the end of my day–sheer delight at finding their mother walking in the door. As he was escorted out of the coffee shop, a heaviness came over my heart and I couldn’t help but wonder, “where is his mother?”

A dear friend broke the news of Sandy Hook to me (as I don’t watch television or the news), and her comment stuck with me for days, “how unloved you must feel to do something like that.” Another friend noted that the solution is not in gun control policy, “you have to change the hearts of people.” How do we do that? For me, it keeps coming back to making our children feel so loved and supported.

In my work as a health professional, I definitely am shocked at how common childhood trauma is; but even more astounded at how traumatic not having parents that are present and engaged is. As children, our parents’ actions are all interpreted in a very self-centered way. Children don’t have the ability to process the world in the greater context. So when parents are not engaged, the child comprehends that as “I’m not worthy enough for my parent to make connecting with and loving me a priority“–and we are born expecting that love and attention. It’s just how we are developmentally hardwired, a birthright in a way.

The amount of time and effort we put into our relationships with our children is directly proportional to their sense of self worth as adults. It’s challenging to be a parent. We have to handle our own growth and responsibilities, all the practical needs of the kids, and their emotional development. So often, we get caught up in our own life dramas, our own insecurities, our work, etc. and the time flies by.

There is a precious window to imprint living skills within our kids, and it’s when they are the youngest and neediest, and when we are the most novice in our parenting skills. I think about this often, and so many questions come up:

Am I living in a way that teaches my children by example?
Am I instilling the importance of listening to feelings in addition to the rules, or “shoulds”? 
Am I showing them how to resolve conflict in a healthy way? 
Am I demonstrating how to connect to their feelings and talk about them, and attend to them?
Am I creating an environment where they feel validated in the entire spectrum of human emotion?

Most of these center around what I view as life skills that I’m hoping to imprint. And as you can see from the way these questions are structured, it’s not about teaching through words, but rather through modeling.

Does that mean I have to be perfect all the time? No. It means I have to be authentic in my humanness and use my tools to support myself wherever I’m at. That’s it.

How are you supporting yourself as a parent? Some tools to support my quest in being a good parent (and these are just here as simple examples):

1. I now track how much quality time I spend with my kids each day. It’s a tool I learned in my coaching program of keeping a “positive scorecard.” If we keep track of what we want to see more of, we are more incentivized to achieve that.

2. Making sure I spend time interfacing with others interested in conscious parenting. Having a community to learn, share, and support me is paramount.

3. Functional Families: this is a class based on non-violent communication and child neurological development. I got a lot out of the sessions.

4. Of course, ayurveda! My herbs and self-care regimen are the foundation of my being able to care for anyone.

So all you parents out there, please take a moment to think about how you are connecting to your little ones, or how you can connect more. Each one of our children needs an individual relationship. And know that there are so many tools out there to support you in this journey. We just have to set the clear intention, and the manifestation often happens in spontaneous and mystical ways.


Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Get Exclusive Content

real stories. wisdom. resources. recipes.
grow your awareness . learn new tools
ground in monthly healing themes
(because it feels good)

[embed_popupally_pro popup_id="2"]