What my strong-willed child is teaching me
My first blog post of 2023 ‘The whip-cracking self-critic’s New Year's resolution’, feels like it was written years and years ago.
Time lately is so fascinating.
The months seem to pass quicker and yet so much changes: it feels like a decade is being lived in 52 weeks now.
When it comes to parenting: the early years can be so exhausting and new parents wonder 'will it ever get easier’?
Mommy and Daddy are being called constantly and finishing a conversation or a cup of tea, doesn’t happen often.
Then you blink and the toddler has become a teenager and is now as tall as you.
Suddenly the offspring who wanted to be like their mother or father prefers to walk a good distance away from the hero they admired, only a couple of years ago.
What I am about to share is a little tricky.
This year’s theme was to work with clients who are parents of very strong-willed sons and daughters.
The challenge is neither the child nor the parent themselves.
The question that needs answering is how to have boundaries in place that bring respect for both?
You may wonder what the solution is?
I would like to part with some details, I recently learned about my determined child.
She was about 2 years old when early beliefs were formed that others are either right or wrong and good or bad.
Wanting to do things her way, was not an option.
A parent or caregiver would have interjected and said to the little girl:
“You are too small, you can’t do that and stop that or you will break it.”
Take this picture for example.
I am trying to undress my puppet saying: ‘Sandman needs to wee’.
If I showed early leadership, (in my memory) I was constantly hearing ‘NO’.
So for me, my strong-willed child had two choices:
1. Obey and be the good little girl or
2. Be defiant, get labelled ’stubborn’ and feel like you don’t belong.
In my world growing up, I only saw these two options.
What I am now discovering, is that neither is how I want to raise my children.
My authentic self went hiding to the deepest, darkest part inside and convincing her that she is now safe and needs to come out, is what I spend my energy on.
What I am most passionate about is teaching parents & caregivers how to not impose their will onto their child.
I have vivid memories of (excuse the language): hating being told what to do.
So if this resonates and you are looking for a refreshing new parenting style that shows where the boundary is and yet the child is being empowered in a loving way:
Book a call with me to redirect your guidance in 2024.
When it comes to teaching consent, I believe that role modelling speaks louder than words.
Raising an assertive, resilient and strong child is what so many mothers and fathers wish for the future adult they raise.
So how do you allow your child to say ’No’ to you and your child still having respect for you?
Having been fascinated with how power and control have been portrayed in our world, I would like to share my biggest breakthrough of 2023.
In the early days of reading about Adlerian Psychology and how it’s applied in parenting, I assumed there were those who have:
power over others and
others who are controlled by those in power.
I held the belief that those who are dominating were simply born the lucky ones and I was not one of them.
After interviewing my dear mentor Deborah Owen-Sohocki, I learned that Alfred Adler (one of the first to create the field of psychiatry), observed:
Everything we do is motivated by a goal:
We all want to connect and at the same time know that we count for who we are.
From time to time a person may encounter difficulties and experience feelings of inferiority.
In that moment, a choice is made that the only way to feel good enough is to be better than others or be the best.
Adler identified this striving for superiority as overcompensation.
If on the other hand a child believes there is no way he or she is going to be as good as the other, they may choose to give up and therefore: undercompensate.
Both are coming from an inferiority complex.
A healthy inferiority feeling is holding on to the knowing that you are enough.
The choice is now to strive for superiority by being willing to learn (mistakes and all) and being better than who you were yesterday.
The healing started to unfold and I no longer saw conflict as ‘Us vs. Them’, I realised that both are rooted in the same fear.
Unity consciousness is the solution for both.
A concept I first heard about in early years of meditation.
Through daily practice, I started getting access to my inner knowing.
These are the skills and tools I now offer and parents are amazed how fast they can implement what they learn.
When a child is born into this world, the process of giving birth can be a painful experience.
My 10-year-old shared that it is the strongest pain a human can feel.
This is how I see the journey of parenting.
It can feel challenging like nothing before and the process of learning new skills and becoming more capable - is what makes it all worthwhile.