A few days ago, someone contacted me to help them with their parenting.
"I feel so anxious and am constantly worried. I'm trying really hard, and my patience wears thin...I find it soo challenging."
She continues to share about her children. Their challenges. Their behaviours. There was a lot of focus on the children.
"My 3.5-year-old son is so clingy. Needy. And he won't go to anyone else but me. He is also hitting and biting! My patience wears thin towards the evening. I don't know how to help him be more independent. I have an older child who is constantly angry and comes home from school shouting and won't cooperate. He doesn't listen to either of us. They need so much more from me, and I don't know how to give that, and I'm so worried I'm screwing them up."
"Would you like me to share something that could help you - however you might not like what I have to say."
"OF COURSE! Please help - I can't keep going like this. I am becoming the person I said I wouldn't be."
This was my response.
"To heal your anxiety, to transcend your worry - stop feeling responsible for your children's emotional state. Let go of needing fixing them and seeing that there is something wrong with their behaviour or that you are to blame for it. There's nothing wrong with your children - or their behaviour. Their behaviour is communication - and age-appropriate. And as a parent, we are to hold space to guide them to learn how to navigate it - not fix it, own it, or be responsible for it."
If we think of the biggest challenges in parenting - it has very little to do with our children. Hear me out.
Yes, your 3-year-old is hitting and biting.
Yes, your 6-year-old is crying uncontrollably.
Yes, your 12-year-old is swearing at you and being aggressive.
Yes, your 17-year old is cutting themselves and self-harming.
YES, we want to help our children.. and the best way to help our children is to be able to let go of judging their behaviour and feeling as though it's our fault, and we are responsible to fix it.
In fact, the more we feel that we are at fault, the more we want to take the responsibility to fix it - the more we push our children away, our anxiety increases, and the worry is consuming.
The very thing that's needed to empower and enable our children - to move from Fear to Faith, from self-loathing to self-loving - is knowing how to hold space for them.
We can only know how to hold space for them, when we know how to hold space for ourselves.
To be able to guide them, be able to have empathy, and know how to empower and enable our children starts with us.
Most of us would say our relationships are the most important things in our lives. Yet, most of us would also admit to not knowing how to do the deep thinking and invest focus and attention on our relationships - especially our parenting.
We "DO" a lot - however, it's not in the "doing" that creates connection and builds deep bonds.
Some of us might even say; we "GIVE" all the time.
However, we have never questioned the place from where we are "giving" and if our "giving" has expectations.
Those questions, these anxieties and worries arise when we are not at our best. When we are running on empty.
AND if we're giving, when we are in a state of self-loathing or self-doubt, our "giving" is from a place of lack.
If we were the best versions of ourselves, would we still ask these questions?
If we were overflowing, would we still have the same challenges and concerns?
Your level of wellbeing, your level of connection to your heart, is the lens through which you see life - and feel life.
The fear "I'm worried about screwing up my child" reflects to us our belief about ourselves - and the irony is, if we believe we are "screwed up", that we are "broken" - then we are living and loving from our "broken state" which is how we relate to all that is around us.
The more connected we are to our wholeness, the more we can hold space and embrace our children's pace of growth - the more disconnected we are to our wholeness, the less we can hold space, and we deny/ reject/ judge/ criticise/ worry about our children's pace of growth and how we parent.
"We don't see the world as it is. We see the world as we are." - This quote from Anais Nin is powerful.
Parenting is one of the most incredible mirrors that genuinely reflects what's within - and how we see ourselves.
My key message this week is this. Your child doesn't need fixing. Nor do you.
Your child isn't broken - and neither are you.
Heal your heart. Heal your connection to self.
Learning to Love yourself is the greatest gift you can give your child.
If that is a radical notion and you feel like you're failing your children, this video message is for you. Click here to view.