Having An Empowered Relationship With Your Child

What is a pattern of behaviour that you noticed as a child growing up around discipline and/or the expression of emotions? Can you see any generational patterns playing out now in your own parenting?

As mentioned in my previous post there are generally two types of parenting patterns we know. The power pattern (power over another) and the empowerment pattern (relationship with another)

The empowerment pattern serves to do exactly that and provides empowered relationships between the parent and child. With this approach everyone had a voice. As a child you are trustworthy, whole, loving and complete just AS YOU ARE.

Parenting and children work together as a team to come up with a solution opposed to the parent ruling and dictating over the child. With this there is mutual respect, empathetic understanding and the child really feels seen and heard. Because of this the child feels unconditionally loved. They know they are loved - no matter what.

A parent using the empowerment pattern would strive to be an active listener, being open, curious and seeking to understand. You enter an interaction with your child from a neutral place. Listening intently, refraining from judgement and just really hearing your child and because of this a mutual respect based in love is created.

And the empowerment pattern displays direct communication whereby as a parent you communicate directly about your intentions, feelings, needs and solutions which are based upon family values. Children aren’t forced to do things against there will and there is no manipulation, bribes or threats (all of which deplete your energy).

You see the empowerment pattern may be new to you and you may be thinking how on earth do I move from the power pattern to the empowerment pattern. You may have limiting beliefs around your parenting believing that you ‘should’ control, dictate, bribe and power over your child and that your child ‘should’ do as you say. But I promise you there is a better, more kinder, more gentler way.

You may also have been brought up with the powered pattern and be telling yourself that you turned out fine? How are you defining ‘fine’? Is this based upon achievements, external factors, possessions? But what happened if you looked within. Perhaps explored any anxiety, low self esteem, guilt and shame that you have been carrying and recognising patterns in behaviour from childhood?

The Five Properties of the Empowerment Pattern

  • Empowered relationships: Everyone has a voice. As a child, you are trustworthy, whole, loving and complete just as you are. Parent and child work together as a team to come up with a solution that is a win-win for both parent and child.

  • Unconditional love: You are loved no matter what.

  • Active listening: You as the parent are curious and open. You are seeking to understand. Seeking to understand means that you don’t know everything about yourself, parenting or your child. It means that you are coming to this situation fresh and neutral.

  • Natural sense of respect based in love: Because you feel safe, heard and loved, then you show me respect.

  • Direct communication: As a parent, I communicate directly about my intentions, feelings, needs and solutions based on family values. I never have to force you to do what I want you to do. I don’t need to use coercion, manipulation, bribes or threats.

    (adapted from the Jai Institute of Parenting)

You will always find me being an advocate of the empowerment pattern yet we are human and of course from time to time we can default to the power pattern especially if that’s how we were brought up. But with self empathy and compassion we can always bring ourselves back to a state of awareness and choose again.

The empowerment pattern is discussed in more detail in my 10 week Parenting course which I’m opening for enrolment soon. If you want to be added to the wait list apply here and we can arrange a call.

Fiona NgComment