Most of us who are parents, have hoped for an approach to parenting that would resonate with our deepest feelings about this most important relationship, between parent and child.
We have longed to sustain the hope, the faith and the awe we experienced when we first held this miracle of life. Whether at birth, through adoption or as step parents we want most of all, to hold those deep feelings of love we feel towards our child.
How is it that we sometimes lose that feeling? How do we become adversaries when we want only what is best for them?
At last there’s an approach to parenting (as to life), which is hopeful and inspiring. As we begin to live with this understanding and see the innate health in every human being, it’s possible to deepen the level of rapport and respect between parents and their children, regardless of past or current circumstances.
The first step towards parenting, from the heart, is to demystify problem behaviour and see it as the product of insecure thinking.
We are then able to take our own and our children’s behaviour and moods less personally. We can be more philosophical about them and as a result, less reactive and more responsive.
As we begin to understand how we function as human beings, how our own and our child’s innate health can become obscured by insecure thoughts, we are better able to access the transcendent intelligence that lies behind all thought.
We then see and experience, that loving feelings and common sense solutions are within our grasp.
There are three crucially important factors in deepening our relationship with our kids. The first, and perhaps the cornerstone of the other two, is listening.
Listening deeply and without judgement, with a clear and open mind is important, so we can gain a greater understanding of each others world.
Listening is the greatest gift you can give another human being, especially a child, whatever the age. Listening is the route to a quiet mind and the guide to what and when to teach.
The second important factor is rapport. In all relationships, but especially with our children, we must make rapport a priority. It’s more important than being right. It’s more important than teaching a lesson. It’s only possible if we quiet our minds and listen with our hearts.
The third ingredient is respect. I’m often puzzled when I see parents “demanding” respect when they’re so disrespectful of their children. We all fall into that trap at one time or another, but it’s a no win situation. Living in a respectful environment is the best opportunity for young people to learn to be respectful.
Teaching responsibility and self-reliance requires these three ingredients, modelling what we want our children to learn.
As children are encouraged to make their own choices they may, from time to time, experience disappointment or boredom. They will definitely, from time to time, make unwise choices. This too is an important part of their learning, to have faith in their own innate health and resiliency.
It’s important to remember that listening, rapport and respect are more difficult, if not impossible, if we are in a state of upset. Always take time out until you are in a calmer state of mind.
Remember your common sense and wisdom is always there. We need only to quiet our minds (take a deep breath, count to 10, take a walk or just do it) and we will see the situation with more perspective.
Jack Pransky PhD, author of the wonderful book Parenting from the Heart, assures us that “Being effective as a parent has more to do with a parent’s state of mind, than whether the parent knows parenting techniques.”