No one ever told me that by having kids that I would go through a re-parenting of myself. It's not really something spoken about at least not when I had my first over a decade ago. I think one of the biggest challenges of parenting is learning how to be the parent we want to be whilst working out how to re-program our default settings from our childhood.
There's a beautiful quote from Esther Perel "tell me how you were loved, and I'll tell you how you love". I find these words so fitting when we think about parenting. How you were parented is the blueprint for how you will default parent. I use the words default parent because it's the unconscious parenting times. The times when you react to life rather than respond. When things just seem to happen, and you have to process and understand it later.
When we look back at the history of parenting, it was only 2 generations ago that parents were told not to tell kids they loved them, not to cuddle or indulge/spoil them with affection or attention. We have that in our lineage whether we want to or not and we are a biproduct of some of that. It can at times be terribly difficult for parents to be the parents they want to be in 2023 yet battle with the child within them and the experience of parenting they received.
If this has all sounded a bit dreary so far here comes the positive. We are now in an age of emotional intelligence and a generation of parents wanting to shift the paradigm to have children heard and validated. As a result,
I see teenagers and children in my clinic with emotional literacy and the capacity to understand themselves and reach out for help when needed. I also see stronger parent child connections right through the challenging teen years which is absolutely fantastic!
So how do we get to a place where we raise ourselves as we raise our kids? Well, I think it's an ongoing process. We are all works in progress. Rough drafts. It's one of those learn as you go roles where there isn't a formal training before each stage of parenting presents itself. It's like being on a roller coaster with no idea what the ride entails. The first step is to become aware of ourselves. To seek to understand our story. Why and how we are the way we are and identifying what supports and systems we need to be able to move beyond any behaviours or habits that don't feel good in our life.
An important part of re-parenting ourselves is patience. Just like we are patient teaching our children to walk or talk we need to offer that same patience to ourselves as we learn and evolve in our parenting. We aren't going to get it right or perfect. We are imperfect creatures. If we can own our mistakes, the hurts we cause and make true effort to know better and do better then we role model the same to our children and raise beautiful humans.
Wherever you are on your parenting journey, I want you to know that as we learn and know more we can be more. I urge you to forgive yourself for the hurts and moments you might be holding in your heart. As you set yourself free from any guilt or shame you create the space to grow into the parent that you crave to be. And lastly, watch your social media consumption. Stay out of comparision. We are all equally nailing it and fucking it up!