Parenting

It takes a village to raise a child.

With the pressure and pace of modern life, and the perceived material and achievement driven definition of success, it's easy to disconnect from our village. We slip into survival mode while feeling we need to be everything to everyone, which serves no one.

As parents and carers, we benefit from mentorship too. Some enter the role kicking and screaming, others meticulously plan the journey; neither approach guarantees success or failure.

What and who defines success or failure anyway?

There is no one size fits all guidebook. We all do the best we can with the knowledge we have to meet our universal needs.

Today, more than ever, children and adolescents need parents who support them in becoming functioning adults.  This means less hovering and bubble wrapping.  More empowerment and support to figure things out for themselves to learn how to cope with difficulties.

This is an excellent read on why over-protected children are not allowed to deal with loss, failure or disappointment, all inevitable aspects of a life well lived.  This not only has an impact on their "employability", more importantly, their mental health.

If we're not failing, we're not learning how to process loss and get back up again to find a different mistake to make and learn from!  Give your mentees the gift of space to fail and create their learning opportunities.

In order to feel safe to fail, children and adolescents need to know they have the support of a parent or mentor.  Someone to hold space for them while they try and fail and process the emotions that come hand in hand with the experience.

This is a great read from a Father who's Father allowed him the space to welcome and feel all of his emotions and how he is transferring these skills to his Daughter, one public tantrum at a time!

Allowing another being the space to feel their emotions can be triggering for many, particularly if we were not encouraged to express our emotions through childhood and adolescence. It can feel incredibly uncomfortable and something we want to suppress, and fast!  Then we react rather than respond with compassion.

How can we develop these skills in adulthood?  Practice.  We can start with feeling our emotions, crying, or throwing our own tantrum while allowing someone to hold us through it. Then return the gift of compassion to our children and mentees.  There are few days that pass without an opportunity to practice these skills!  

This article lists an excellent collection of books for parents seeking further knowledge to inform their parenting connection on the collective journey.  Highly recommend the books written by Dr Laura Markham, Kim John Payne, and Dr Daniel Siegel.

Here's to parenting peacefully through connection and with compassion, collectively.

Melissa Shadforth