Are willing to leave the past behind?
What has been your experience of being the best parent you can be?
My own approach has taken me years to fine-tune and I am still learning and improving every single day.
You have noticed that your child has grown up and is living their own life and before you know it they are gone - is what a lot of parents of grown up children say.
What happens that appreciating the present moment can be so much work and we only get small glimpses here and there of pure bliss and happiness?
You are wondering where I am going with this and my idea was to show how parenting can be enjoyed more if we are willing to look at our own program from our past.
Your child has come into your life and has changed everything.
They take up all your time, they challenge you to your core, they have their own idea how things should be done and for the most part are very self-centered for the first few years.
What we sacrifice as parents is huge.
We would love for them to at least listen to us when we need to go to work and just go with the program.
Instead they couldn’t care less if we are running late and are more worried about making a bed for their doll who is home alone all day.
Why can’t our children understand how important our job is?
Can they not see that everything will fall apart if I now play with them and abandon all my responsibilities?
You may be able to relate to thoughts such as these?
Your busy day leaves almost no room for seeing the world through your young child’s eyes.
They are stopping at everything and you just want to get on with things.
My world did fall apart.
Not in the sense of homelessness but in the sense of being completely burnt out from being part of the “faster, bigger and better mentality” I was programmed with during my childhood.
What you need to understand is my background of growing up in socialism in East Germany during the 1980’s.
This was no joke because everything was about winning.
Coming second was not an option and I remember the disappointed faces around me when Olympians didn’t win gold.
Coming second almost didn’t count - it was considered a failure.
What I learned was that I was only worthwhile if I won.
And I mean everything, not just sports: best grades, best dressed, best behaved, most admired and on, and on and on.
One of the most profound moments was when I learned about this parenting approach was when I understood the concept of encouragement.
A burden dropped of my shoulders, I had carried for decades and it was when I heard:
"You don’t have to be the best, you simply compare yourself to who you want to become."
I will never forget this moment until the rest of my life.
When finally this program was lifted, it felt like I could breathe again.
My main focus at the start of changing my ways was that I acknowledged my progress and looked for a better and healthier strategy to no longer compare my life with and to others.
I got a deep clear understanding how we train our children out of being happy just by being themselves.
It is a program that we put on our children whereby we expect them to be good.
The everyday used term “good boy or good girl” is saying to our child:
you better be good or else.
It is a statement we commonly make - that is loaded with judgement.
Have you ever asked yourself why we say this to our children constantly?
Please don’t take my word for it.
What I am demonstrating is what parents confirm to me in every parenting course after the experiential activity where we praise our children and compare it with encouragement.
When we are praised, parents tell me that they feel conditionally loved, not motivated to do better in fear of disappointing others and it is all about the parents’ ego.
So what is it that empowers our children to be themselves?
Children need to hear about the progress they make and that they are growing and developing.
You might wonder how to do this and it is easier than you think.
Just notice and say what your child does without judging them or approving of them.
For children to thrive, they simply want to experience their own strength.
You can tell them that you love them every minute of the day if you wish and it is an important part for their sense of belonging.
However, we no longer need to tell them that they make us proud.
This is an outdated concept that robs our children of their feeling of being worthwhile - just for who they are.
When we need to hear from others that we make them proud, we shift our locus of control to the outside world for our happiness.
What you may comment instead is something like:
You must feel so proud of yourself for baking your own birthday cake and discovering how to add a marble effect to the fondant.
… some more:
You are figuring out how to play this song on piano all by yourself. Your hard work seems to really pay off for you.
You are learning how to build a tower out of blocks. You look like you are having so much fun doing that.
My children are growing up with very little praise and encouragement instead whenever I am aware and switch my old patterns. What I am observing in my children is that they are not the approval seeker I am and seem quite confident in their own abilities. For me this was a major breakthrough and is showing to me a decade in that it is worth the work I put into my children. They are more secure in themselves than I ever was. You have probably had a similar experience and are striving to find more contentment on the inside. You may also completely disagree with my opinion on where we go wrong as humanity. Either way, I would like to hear from you. What are your thoughts on parenting children so they look for happiness inside before needing outside approval?
Please send me a private email that only I can see and will be kept confidential with your thoughts to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Having a strong foundation of inner peace is probably something we all want for our children.
Finding it becomes an entirely different question.
What I am aiming for with my parenting is not only for my children to be happy but also for me to continuously de-program my old belief systems.
Whenever I am asked about something by my children and I discover a belief I am about to pass on, I use the opportunity to question if it still resonates.
You can do the same.
I believe that our children are here to challenge the old actions and thoughts of doing things a certain way and not just adopt: that’s how it was always done.
You are not the same as you always were, you found better beliefs and you are changing society as a result and contribute to its evolution.