Understanding Yourself As A Parent For Better ParentingJun 21, 2022
When it comes to parenting, it is not only essential to deeply understand your children and how they think, feel, and understand the world, but it is also important to understand yourself as a parent. Today, I want to share a really big tip on how to help you understand yourself as a parent, that way you can be more effective for your children.
This powerful tip is to look at and acknowledge your childhood wounds.
When we acknowledge our childhood wounds, we are better able to transmute and end unconscious cycles of pain.
Let me give you a quick example from my own life. I’ll preface this by saying, this is nothing so significant that I couldn't move on with my life.
I am the oldest in my family between my younger brother and I. As a child, I constantly felt that I was being blamed for whatever fights and poor interactions happened between us. Anything that went wrong was automatically my responsibility because I was the oldest and I should know better. This really bothered me as a kid.
Again, I was able to move on and become a highly functioning human. However, now that I'm a parent myself, I sometimes see myself unconsciously or subconsciously reverting to these ways with my own children.
Kai, my son, is my oldest and Nya, my daughter, is my youngest. Sometimes, when the two of them are in a bit of a scuffle, I will catch myself unconsciously or subconsciously wanting Kai to take responsibility for it.
In those moments, I have to move out of this cycle by becoming aware and consciously make a choice.
Here are a few different options I can choose from:
One, I can repeat the same cycle that my parents had, where it's “you're the oldest and you should know better.”
Two, I can actually consciously break the cycle, but I can do it in a less healthy way.
I can break the cycle by overcompensating and being overly protective of Kai, ensuring that he doesn't take responsibility for things that he should take responsibility for, in fear of him holding the same pain, angst or, frustration that I held as a child where I felt as though I was blamed for everything.
Or three, I can consciously choose to break this cycle by becoming more active in the two of their interactions.
What I can see now, in hindsight, is that a lot of that responsibility and expectation fell on me because my parents weren't really present. In those interactions, they actually couldn't see what was taking place. Therefore, they had a knee jerk reaction. If the kids were crying and they needed it to stop, their reaction was, “Nekole, you're older, you should have known better.”
Knowing this now, I can consciously choose to break this knee jerk reaction by saying, “when I hear my kids screaming, it means that they're needing some support, a little extra guidance, and a little more hands-on interaction from mom or dad.”
By reacting in this way, not only do they learn to take accountability and responsibility for their actions when it's appropriate, but they also learn how to navigate those really big emotions and their responses to those emotions.
I encourage you to reflect on your own childhood and the experiences you had with your siblings and parents and make a conscious effort to break any cycles of pain so you can be the best, most proactive and supportive parent for your children.
To dive deeper into the topic of understanding yourself as a parent, watch my Youtube video here.