Parenting is a healing profession.
This thought floated through my mind this morning and gave me pause to think. How can parenting be a healing profession? When I think of healing professions, I think of doctors, acupuncturists, or nurses. I also think of of spiritual healers and massage therapists. Now I realize that parenting is a different type of healing profession.
Who is being healed?
As parents, we are often the ones being healed. It is through facing the limits of our patience, or experiencing our irrational upset over a child making a mess, that opportunities for healing arise. Often what appears to be my son’s control issue turns out to be a projection of an unresolved hurt in me. One thing to remember is that it is typical development for a 6 year old to move from cheerful to stubborn and upset in a matter of a minute. For adults this type of swing in our mood is cause to reflect on what is going on below the surface. In the case of the child there are also things going on below the surface, beyond whether or not they want to eat chicken nuggets after they have touched the carrots on their plate. Children must be given the tools to access those deeper upsets. The most effective way to teach children about these tools is to use them. There are some simple steps that you can take that will make a world of difference in your experience with your children.
So what can I do to be more successful?
- Remind yourself that you are not alone. Accept that everyone has unresolved issues that pop up when we least expect them.
- Remind yourself that you are okay even when part of you does not believe it.
- Acknowledge that you have been triggered.
- Make a conscious choice to care for yourself, no matter how small the gesture.
- Be gentle with yourself.
It is important to remind yourself that what is happening is natural. You are learning to be compassionate with yourself. The beauty is that by being gentle with yourself, you will naturally be more gentle with others. Modeling self awareness is a fantastic gift to give to any child, and the trust that comes from these experiences is priceless.