Self-Heal to Become a Better, More Conscious Parent

Raising children is like building a house, in that both need to be supported by a 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. But 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 make the same mistakes that our parents made. We end up unconsciously following a certain path.

Looking to the Past

Despite what other people may say, there is not a right or wrong way to parent. We simply learn to discover what feels the most natural and authentic to us. 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, the rest just naturally fell 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 children becomes a 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 our parenting. Once we reflect on our own childhoods, we'll be able to instill within our children the basic needs that we ourselves may have wanted. You would probably avoid taking the same road again if it was so full of potholes that you could barely navigate it. Look at your past and learn from it – it’s the key to becoming a more conscious parent.

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 collapse. We need to make a list of all of the things we believe our children need for that 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? Was it through hugs, kisses and affection? Positive words and encouragement? Lots of one-on-one time and special family routines? Try to find an overall sense of what worked in their parenting style, then implement those examples into the lives of your own children.

The same can be done for the areas in our life that weren't as perfect as we might have hoped. Maybe our parents raised their voices a lot, or weren't as present as we needed them to be. We don’t have to dwell on what our parents were lacking or what they did wrong, because that’s counterproductive. But we need to recognize and validate these areas so that we know what to avoid when raising our own children.

Sometimes a good foundation just needs to be reinforced. 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.