Neuroscience has even now proven that our children can energetically hold up to 3 generations of ancestral trauma in their DNA.
This means that even if we parent differently than our parents or have done a lot of inner work or make a point to practice conscious parenting, our past can still affect our children.
One of my clients, Amanda, was raised in a strict family that honored achievement and scholastic excellence above all. Her father was intensely critical. When she wrote him a birthday card, he’d get out a red pen and highlight the grammatical errors. After college, she met her husband and vowed when she started a family, she would create an unconditionally loving environment where her children felt honored and cherished for being versus doing, regardless of their scholastic achievements.
Outwardly, she managed this well. She didn’t pressure her daughter’s academically, praised their inner attributes over outer achievements and spent time being present with them daily as they grew. Inside, she was plagued with feelings of guilt- that she wasn’t doing enough and harshly judged herself if she was short tempered or impatient with them. She continued to berate herself for what she perceived as her professional shortcomings or failures.
Her oldest daughter’s teacher called one day and said the daughter had begun hitting herself in the face when she received a B on a math quiz. Amanda tried to comfort her daughter who was still distraught when she returned home. “I’m stupid, stupid, stupid,” she repeated. Amanda was horrified. She’d put no pressure on her daughter to be perfect or perform at school and yet her daughter felt exactly as Amanda felt growing up, stupid. A counselor at the school suggested Amanda work with a coach to heal her own perfectionism. I reminded her what I teach all my clients. “Parents who judge themselves harshly have children who judge themselves harshly. To help your daughter, you must first heal yourself.”
We all want to create health and happiness for our children and we’ve all experienced some degree of negative conditioning or trauma- so how do we break the patterns?
Here are 3 practices that can immediately help clear the wounds and negativity and uplift the entire family.
1. Get curious and reframe- The first step to healing is to get curious. Is there a memory that still haunts us when we think about it? Do you feel pain in your body associated with the memory? When we can recognize “the charge”, we then can listen to the story that we have created around it and write a new one. If you tell yourself you’re broken or damaged because of a trauma you suffered, try writing a new story where that experience made you resilient, heroic, a survivor. What does it look like for your perceived “failings” to be the steppingstones for the amazing person you are today? Try writing it as a fairy tale where YOU are the hero.
2. Bring in your Inner Golden light- In my new children’s book, Let Your Inner Golden Sparkle Shine, I teach children and their parents to experience their wholeness and perfection. Imagine a golden light showering you from high above your head. Stand in the center of the light and let it wash away old pain, judgements, fear. Let the light awaken and expand the part of you that is powerful, capable, and pure love. Breathe this light in and out for up to five minutes or until you feel peaceful and grounded.
3. Reparenting your inner child-Even as adults, it’s not too late to heal the child within us. We can “parent “ the child now, giving her all the things, we needed when we were young. If we received a lot of criticism growing up, we can give ourselves compassion and kindness. If we were not given attention and time, devote an hour a week to yourself alone- relaxing in nature or coloring or making and eating food that we absolutely adore. One of the most effective ways to “reparent” is to create more joy in our everyday life. Make yourself a joy list and do one thing on that list every day. One of my clients even started to play her piano that has sat gathering dust for years, every morning while drinking her coffee. Just that small action made her feel lighter and more joyful. The piano playing was experienced without judgement or validation. It was just pure fun! For me creating more laughter in my everyday routine was how I began my re-parenting. Watching comedy shows and seeing my life through the eyes of a little girl, helped me heal.
Transformation takes some work, but your actions will positively affect your family and future generations the minute you begin. You can start practicing with your children immediately too. Try out a new ritual with your child tonight at bedtime. Once she’s tucked in, call in the inner golden light and share five things you appreciate about each other, followed by a big hug. Then watch the magic unfold.