Self-Heal to Become a Better, More Conscious Parent

Raising children is very much like building a house in that both need to be supported by a very strong foundation. But what exactly constitutes a strong foundation and how do we provide that to our children?

Children need self-esteem and positive core values in order to thrive in their lives. This begins the moment they are born, and we hold them close and whisper, “I love you.” The problem with becoming a parent is that these beautiful little creatures drift into our lives without a handbook and we are left on our own to figure out how not to screw them up too much.

Our own childhoods are a road map to figuring out what kind of parents we may become. Sometimes, our denials become our destinies and we end up making some of the same mistakes that our parents made. While other times, we consciously and unconsciously decide to follow a different path.

Looking to the Past

Despite what other people may say, there is not a right or wrong way to parent. Each of us simply learns to discover what feels the most natural and authentic to us. A good place to start is by following the golden rule: “Treat others the way that you want to be treated.” If we stop and think back to the relationships we had with our own parents, most of us intrinsically wanted to be loved, valued, and appreciated. If we received those core needs, a lot of the other stuff just kind of fell naturally into place.

On the other hand, if we grew up in a house without the expression of physical or emotional love, or with little or no communication skills, then we may not have developed a strong enough foundation in which to build on. Parenting our offspring is a whole lot easier when we have come to terms with our own childhood and are willing to examine both the successes, as well as the failures of our own parents.

How Old Wounds Affect Your Parenting Style

Looking at our past is one of the most effective ways to discover the “whys” of how we may be parenting. By doing this, we can instill within our children, the basic needs that we, ourselves may have wanted. Look at it like this— you would probably avoid taking the same road again if it was so full of potholes that you could barely navigate it. So look at your past and learn from it. It’s the key to becoming a conscious parent and helping your child develop a strong foundation.

Finding Our Templates

The first step in building a solid foundation is to make sure that the ground is level and it has the best possible soil. If not, the foundation won’t be able to bear the weight of the structure, and over time, it will most likely eventually collapse. So we need to make a list of all of the things we believe our children need for a solid foundation, and then begin the process of discovering whether or not we received these things from our own parents.

This process is not designed to open up old pain and resentment by bashing our parent’s efforts to rear us, but rather to act as a guide in helping us become more aware about where we are as parents – and more importantly, where we want to go next. We achieve this goal by focusing primarily on the positive areas and not getting caught up in regrets.

Transforming Our Selves

In the areas of our life that we feel positive about, it’s important to try and think of concrete examples to help us connect the dots. For example, if we felt loved by our parents, what were some of the specific ways that they showed their love for us? Of course there will probably be many examples, but try to find an overall sense of the things that stood out the most.

The key in this journey is to find specific ways that our parents helped us to develop the foundation that we needed in our little lives, and then try to implement those examples into the lives of our own little humans. The same can be said for the areas in our life that we feel were not as perfect as we might have hoped. We don’t have to dwell on what we didn’t receive from our parents, because that’s counterproductive. We just need to recognize and validate these areas so that we can gain the awareness needed to instill those things in our children.

Sometimes a good foundation just needs to be reinforced. So if we look back at the past and discover that there are some cracks in our foundation, now is the time to fix them and create the blueprint that will help give your children the strength to face all the wonderful things that await.

How has reflecting on your own upbringing changed the way you parent? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Tags : conscious parenting   mindful parenting   

Bridgit Sussman
YES!! I feel like I have so many wounds to heal from. My parents weren't abusive in any way but they were more like disinterested. I guess they were busy or had other priorities but I grew up feeling like a shadow or really just invisible.
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