What my cats have taught me about parenting
Do you have pets in your home?
You may think that this blog is really not about parenting anymore, right?
I would like to disagree.
We got two kittens last spring and my life has completely changed since then.
What I wanted to say about pets is that having them enriched our family life so much.
We had to come together as a family and decide whether to have a cat and then whether to have one or two?
In the end we decided to take in a brother and a sister kitten.
What we also spoke about was all the additional work that they would bring along with them.
I set very clear boundaries and said that I had no capacity to take on any more work in our house.
My children reassured me that they would look after them and I didn’t need to do anything.
We made a list with everything we thought were the jobs that were required.
As always - everything turns out differently.
We were completely overwhelmed at the start.
We didn’t know anything about cats.
I was in and out of the pet shop and was feeling completely out of control.
Luckily, the team who works there have been absolutely supportive and their love for animals made me trust them to take their advice.
You may have had similar experiences when you first had a pet and didn’t grow up with one like me.
What amazes me the most is ability of love you can feel for an animal.
I didn’t have a clue because I was afraid of all animals around me.
I mean all.
What has happened since last spring is somewhat of a miracle to me because my heart seems to have opened to all creatures of the animal kingdom.
Last halloween, I even overcame my 3-decades-long fear of spiders.
So to bring this back to parenting is that my ability to feel love and set boundaries at the same time was greatly increased when my children really stepped up to the plate and did what they committed to.
My daughter looks after their general welfare and my son feeds them twice daily.
The transformation I have seen in my children and myself is also that we communicate much better because we have a shared responsibility.
Living with animals is so rewarding that I cannot envision ever living without them again.
I had been so terrified at the start that I would be scratched and bitten that it took me weeks to feel comfortable around them.
What I mean by that is working through my fears of engaging with the unknown opened up something so beautiful I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams.
What are your worst fears right now?
I would love to hear from you, please a confidential email to me that only I can see:
I am planning on facilitating a one off webinar that is free where all of you can join and we work through one of these fears using the strength of a group dynamic.
My experience has been so freeing of sharing my shame and fear with others who can relate to the shame I put so much effort in to hide from everyone.
The number one reason (I am hearing from parents) for not attending a parenting course and exploring new ways of parenting is that parents believe signing up means something is wrong with them or their child.
You couldn’t be further from the collective truth of parents.
Parents are at their wits end about not knowing how to get their children to cooperate.
The old ways of reward and punishment, research tells us: are no longer working in the longterm.
More and more are finding that when it really comes to the crunch, a reward doesn’t work.
My approach that I found when my daughter was still a baby has worked for every stage of her development for the last 11 years.
It is never too late to course-correct your approach.
In Germany we say:
Small children - small problems,
Big children - big problems.
My belief is that children greatly benefit from learning about boundaries and a sense of security in our guidance with love and firmness.
Rather than going out into the world as teenagers and testing boundaries for the first time in the presence of peers and access to all unimaginable things in the streets.
This is not to add to your list of fears.
I am inviting you to set a strong foundation in place now and have your children trust and respect you because they want to and are not made to.
My daughter is now becoming an adolescent and has so much more to share with me because the processing of the world around her is getting more complex.
I love and appreciate that she trusts me and I am able to reap some of the fruit of the seeds I have been planting for years.
My observation is that not all children her age are able to confide in their parents out of fear of judgement or punishment.
What is your child’s sense of trust with you?