There is another side to respectful parenting that no one is talking about, or at least I haven’t heard or read it yet, so i’m going to write about it because I think there are many conscious parents doing a great job but they just don’t realise it.
To really listen to our children and validate their emotions is really frigging hard work at times, especially when this isn’t how we were raised and it’s not being modelled in the wider society.
As a respectful conscious parent we honour our children’s emotions, we let them feel them, we validate them, we listen. But in all of this validating/honouring and listening to our children’s emotions are we doing the same for ourselves?
It’s not possible to be 100% attentive to our children’s emotions 100% of the time, at least not in my experience.
Unless you were raised by perfectly respectful parents, who never ‘lost their shit’ and were never triggered by your outbursts, then we just don’t have the hard wiring.
You have to build new neural pathways in the brain to react differently. This takes time, patience and a whole lot of self-discipline. At a time when parents are already pushed to the limit this is not easy!
So please, to those parents who are practising respectful parenting and building emotional intelligence in their children, remember to practice these skills on yourself!
Allow your emotions, honour them, validate them and listen to YOUR needs. If you lose your shit its OK! Acknowledge you were triggered, practise self-compassion, forgive yourself and apologise to your child. Children do as we do not as we say, so to respect your child’s emotions, you must respect your own.
Your inner voice will become theirs, don’t undo all the hard work you’re doing on the outside by not doing the inner work on yourself. If you allow your child’s emotions whilst denying your own they will still pick up on all the negative thoughts you have about yourself.
We weren’t raised in a time where children’s feelings were validated, we were told ‘you’re fine!’, ‘stop crying or i’ll give you something to cry about!’. This is not to put any blame on our parents whatsoever, they were doing their best with the knowledge they had, isn’t that what we’re all doing?
We are a new generation of conscious parents, raising conscious children. We’re creating the future now. Our children will practise these skills and raise an even more empathetic and emotionally intelligent generation. We might not see the full fruits of our labour for a long time but every time you validate your child’s emotions you’re creating that change. This doesn’t mean we have to be 100% perfect 100% of the time, it means we have to be real. It’s not easy for us but it will become second nature to our children.
Just the other day I lay in bed with my 9 year old who was anxious about a school trip. I listened to her worries and validated how she felt. At the end she said ‘Mam, is their anything you’re worried or nervous about that I can help you with?’. I swear if hearts could actually melt mine would of right there and then whilst simultaneously bursting with pride!
What the world needs now is more empathetic people and you’re doing an amazing job of raising one, even if you haven’t seen the evidence because your child is still very young.
Whilst i’m a conscious parent and practise respectful parenting, I don’t get this right all of the time. On the morning of the school trip, after more than a week of listening, validating and allowing, I was in all honesty sick of it! She had a few tears in the car before school and I wanted to shout ‘for god sake it’s just a school trip! You’ve been on plenty before and loved it, you’ll be fine!’ but instead of beating myself up and feeling guilty I practised the same tools on myself.
I allowed myself to feel irritable, I acknowledged ‘this is hard’, I didn’t try to deny how I felt or push it away with distraction and I didn’t cry with guilt afterwards like I usually would. I was able to be there emotionally for my child and myself. That’s not always the case, it’s why we practise. I don’t think we’ll ever ‘be there’ 100% and I don’t think we need to be either.
Do your best, every time you win you win, but that doesn’t mean if you ‘lose it’ that you lost, these are often the best times of all for teaching the skills because its afterwards that we get to say sorry and show our own vulnerability, when children know we aren’t perfect, they know they don’t have to be either. When we show our emotions, they know they can too.
If you’re a conscious parent trying to do your best and raise your children consciously but feel overwhelmed and exhausted you can sign up for my free Sensitive Mama Reset experience starting Monday 25th March for 4 days. When you create a little inner peace inside of yourself you’re much more able to be their emotionally for your child. You can join us by signing up here http://tinyurl.com/y2uu7v58