Summer is here. Are you ready?
“If you have young children, give them help, guidance, and protection to the best of your ability, but even more importantly, give them space – space to be. […] Many children harbor hidden anger and resentment toward their parents and often the cause is inauthenticity in the relationship. The child has a deep longing for the parent to be there as a human being, not as a role, no matter how conscientiously that role is being played. You may be doing all the right things and the best you can for your child, but even doing the best you can is not enough. In fact, doing is never enough if you neglect Being.” (Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, 2016)
DOING is about the busy-ness of everyday life: the breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, the homework, the soccer practice, the driving, the cleaning, the routines, the rushing out the door, the grocery shopping etc. These tasks are necessary but NOT SUFFICIENT in conscious parenting.
BEING is about connection, containing, slowing down, room for uncomfortable emotions, listening without interrupting, non-judgement, empathy and compassion. This is a tall order for any parent, let alone the average unsupported, working -parent in the Western world.
Here are 10 suggestions to prioritize Being this summer with your children:
- Keep the schedule open and flexible. Children accumulate overwhelming stress into their nervous system from the long academic year filled with deadlines, homework, tests, and a strict schedule. Do not overschedule your children with camps, sports, tutoring and other heavily-structured activities.
- Be a playful parent. Most tension can be resolved with play, laughter and the parent taking the less powerful/less knowledgeable role. Read Playful Parenting, book by Dr. Larry Cohen to dive deeper into this concept.
- Take a leap of faith into your child’s world, with enthusiasm. If they like to play video games, play with them (with time limits). Take on the student’s role and let them teach you. If they like to do videos for TikTok or YouTube Shorts, help them, guide them, dance with them.
- If age appropriate, allow them to have a say in their schedule. Allow them to choose who to play with, when and where.
- Offer Special Time at least 1-2 times a week (read more about #SpecialTime on my blog).
- Maintain limits around screen time.
- Ensure ample sleep time (8 hours or more) every night.
- Listen, listen, listen. Welcome difficult conversations or emotional episodes with an open mind and an open heart. Our job as conscious parents is to be the safe container in these hard moments. Read Listen, book by Patty Wipfler & T. Schore, for a deep dive.
- Take care of YOURSELF. Make sure you sleep enough, eat well and exercise. Keep your adult relations active and healthy. Maintain a good support system around you.
- Stay in the Present Moment. Practice Presence. Every time you “lose yourself” in the past or the future, offer yourself self-compassion and come back to Here & Now. Many small moments of presence matter more than one big (and rare) splashy event of “togetherness”.
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FROM A MOM IN MY PROGRAM:
“Hi Mihaela ! Last week I finally had a meeting with my son’s new teacher. She couldn’t understand why I insisted on meeting her until she read my son’s file. She told me that when she met him for the first time this year, he was a completely normal boy, connected in class, totally integrated with his classmates, a fast writer, playing with everyone during the breaks, and even showing emotion if he was not included in some game. That’s the exact opposite of what I would get from school for at least the past 4 years. She said if she hadn’t read the file, she would have never imagined my son used to have all those symptoms and even medication. I explained what a difference it made to now have evidence that this was the result of narcissistic abuse and not ADHD or learning disabilities. I cannot thank you enough for showing me how to support my son all this time in our journey from hell into normal life.”