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All parents love their children in their own way. Love manifests itself in each individual based on that individual’s levels of self-awareness, healing ( or lack of healing) of past trauma, and his or her sustained intention of living a conscious life.
Often, I meet parents who challenge the validity of parenting classes or any kind of parenting education. Some of the typical questions I’m being asked are:
- Are you implying that some parents don’t know how to parent their own kids?
- How can a parent not know how to communicate with their own children?
- Isn’t connection a parental instinct that all parents have?
The answers to all of these questions are Yes and No. Both equally valid.
All research shows that a parent who has not ‘worked on’ the understanding, integration and healing of past trauma or hurts, can not fully show up for his or her child. The unconscious reaction to a child’s undesired behavior is called a TRIGGER. Many parents don’t have the awareness of their own triggers, and this is where the root of all disconnection lies. A child’s defiance and disobedience are not behavior problems, they are relationship problems. Aggression, crying, yelling and/ or withdrawal are not behavior problems, they are unresolved emotional pain problems. All children need a “compassionate witness” to their pain in order to heal the pain. Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D., and Gabor Mate, M.D., co-authors of Hold On to Your Kids, talk about a parent’s consistent ability to” collect their child” in such moments. I call this ability ” the gift of holding space” for a child to express their emotions, no matter how uncomfortable they make us, the parents, feel in the moment.
Most parents would’t bear their children’s anger, jealousy, disappointment, dissatisfaction, sadness, imperfection, disinterest in school, etc. unless they had been working on their unconscious emotional triggers. Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., renowned psychologist and researcher on emotional intelligence, says: ” If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.” ( Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ).
How do children become emotionally intelligent then? Emotional Intelligence can’t be “taught” at a young age. If the adults around them cannot MODEL self-regulation and self-awareness, a child can’t learn to self-regulate himself. Children will instead learn to suppress and deny their emotions for the sake of attachment and survival. As a result, these children will become adults and parents themselves unconscious of their childhood pain and therefore, their own triggers. And so on and so forth, for generations to come.
A parenting class doesn’t teach parents how to love their children. Parenting education doesn’t question the love we feel for our children but it enhances it. A parenting class provides tools to increase our own self -awareness so we can “collect” and connect with our children on a daily basis. This is the only solid foundation from which a child will experience a healthy brain development which will protect him or her from risky behaviors or illnesses in the future. What else can be more important?
In the Hand in Hand Online Starter Class, parents learn to:
- restore connection with their child when connection breaks;
- have better control over their own big emotions ( self-regulation);
- show more empathy towards their child and themselves;
- be better listeners;
- be more playful with their child;
- create a parent support system around them.
To enroll in the Hand in Hand Online Starter Class ( 6 weeks) with me, starting July 20, find information here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hand-in-hand-parenting-online-starter-class-6-weeks-with-mihaela-tickets-109246392902?aff=erelpanelorg
Yours in growth and gratitude,