ALLOWING PARENTING TO BE SIMPLER
I knew something had shifted when I stopped reading books about parenting approaches, strategies and techniques and stopped feeling the urge to write ‘how-to’ posts or step-by-step guides.
And it wasn’t because I suddenly knew it all and everything was sunshine and roses 24/7…I wish ?.
I think it’s because I gradually realised that there’s much less to ‘know’ or ‘get’ than I ever imagined.
I was finding that intellectualising on all that theory and information and opinion was adding to my mental load and a constant distraction from listening to my own parenting instincts and innate clarity and wisdom.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a huge advocate of peaceful, respectful and gentle parenting approaches; they intuitively still feel spot on. But by focusing mainly on what we need to do to learn to parent peacefully I realise I was innocently missing a deeper, very vital point.
Which is that WE ARE THAT PARENT ALREADY. There is nothing we need to do to get there. At our core, beyond our thoughts, behaviour and experience, we are innately whole, well, wise, peaceful and joyful. It’s our birthright, and it’s always been there and always will be whether we can see it or not. It’s just that the way nearly all of us have been innocently conditioned is to forget this. Forget it so deeply that we almost no longer believe it.
But it is this part of us, the part that has remained constant from babyhood to now, this is who we really are. And this core part of us is unchangeable, unbreakable; it never goes away. We all have this, we are all the same. And more to the point here, so are our children.
And once we see this, know this, much of traditional parenting makes less and less sense:
We don’t need to ‘train’ our kids or ‘manage’ their behaviour; they are born cooperative and ‘good’.
We don’t need to engage in power struggles or ‘get’ them to respect us; consistently and genuinely demonstrating our respect for them is enough for that to evolve naturally.
We don’t need to ‘learn’ how to parent, how to cope, how to stay calm, how to love; this is all within us already for the taking.
We don’t need to buy into the hype that parenting is inevitably hard work and a struggle. Of course, the practical elements can be exhausting (I’m definitely not denying that), but the heart of the parent-child relationship itself is naturally about joyful connection, about our light meeting with their light.
Our kids have had less time on this strange planet than us, so there are obviously practical and safety elements where they can benefit from our experience and need a compassionate guide. And I’m not suggesting there are never situations where we need to intervene or advocate for them.
But what if the rest of it we’ve over-complicated and mainly made up? And our attempts to fix, manage, teach, discipline actually get in the way and create problems that were never there to start with.
It looks to me that when we pay too much attention to advice from our family, friends, other parents, ‘experts’ (so sorry if that’s been me ☹), our heads get filled with a confusion of ‘shoulds’ and shouldn’ts’ that makes no sense in our hearts. We forget that we can trust ourselves, that when our head is clear we can hear the moment-to-moment wisdom that’s always there guiding us. That same wisdom that successfully guided our ancestors for so many moons, long, long before we came to rely on google and facebook to find our answers.