You know you have to pass a test to drive a car.
You have to pass a test to become a bank cashier.
Yet there is absolutely ZERO test to become a parent.
My husband and I often discuss how it is CRAZY that there is NO test to become a parent and absolutely anyone can be one - even young teenagers who can’t even look after themselves let alone a baby!
It’s frightening because being a parent is a tough gig and one which requires you to really step up to the mark and to really do a lot of exploration about what it is to be a parent. Not only that but it is the hardest job in the world. You are literally the lifeline of babies. They need you for food, water, comfort, shelter, LOVE - basically everything in the early days and its also 24/7. You can’t quit, throw in the towel, clock off, hand in your resignation. You’ve got to keep going. When your sick you have to get up and care for someone else. When you are exhausted and sleep deprived you have to get up and care for someone else. And chances are your kids are on your mind always, even when your apart! It’s mentally, emotionally and physically draining yet it’s also the most rewarding, joyful, heart bursting experience being a parent to children. A true blessing!
It’s no surprise parents have coined the term ‘winging it’ because on a day to day basis we do. Remember when you came back from hospital with your first born and you literally had NO CLUE what to do?? You were in the most sleep deprived physically exhausting state you have EVER been in but you didn’t dare shut your eyes because you HAD to keep watching the baby all night (just incase…) We’ve all been there and we’ve all shed a fair few tears over the struggles that come with parenting.
Often many of us perhaps look to our own parents for our reference point on ‘how to parent?’ or others vow to be everything there parents weren’t - depending on how they view their childhood.
It is so important to shine a light on the type of parenting you received growing up, so important in fact I wish parents to be did this during pregnancy because it plays a big part in the type of parenting that you will unconsciously play out with your own children. Bringing yourself into awareness around your own childhood helps you take those steps towards becoming a conscious parent and knowing how you were parented can radically transform your own parenting journey.
We first must realise that all our parents did their best with what they knew at the time of raising you. They did the best with what resources they had and what mindset they were in.
Today we are extremely privileged because we have access to so much information so we can learn anything at a touch of a button. Our parent’s didn’t so all they could do is try there best.
We have all grown up within a generational parenting pattern.
“Generational parenting patterns are strong because they are basically patterns of thought, belief and behavior that have been enacted over and over through time, establishing ingrained ways of being within an individual’s brain and biology.” - (Jai Institute of Parenting)
But now we live in the information age we can now be the ones that choose to END and to BREAK generational parenting patterns shifting from the POWER PATTERN (Power Over Another) to the EMPOWERMENT PATTERN (Relationship With Another).
The POWER PATTERN goes something like this:
“I’m the adult your the child so you will DO as I say”
“ You wont’ get to go to the party UNLESS you tidy your room”
“You will do your homework now because I said so”
“ Go to your room and stop crying or I will give you something to cry for”
In the Power Pattern the parent is more interested in controlling or stopping the child’s behaviour than creating a CONNECTION with the child.
1) You use your CONTROL as a parent to parent OVER your child.
2) There are EXPECTANT CONDITIONS FOR LOVE - where the child must behave in a certain way to gain a parent’s love.
3) CLASSIC DISCIPLINE is displayed where the parent rules over the child using statements such as - “Because I said so!!”
4) There’s a FALSE SENSE OF RESPECT based in FEAR - ‘Because you fear me and what I may do to you if you don’t listen, then you show me respect.’
5) And the power pattern uses a lot of INDIRECT COMMUNICATION, ‘As a parent, I communicate with bribes, manipulations, punishments, threats, rewards, shame, and/or guilt.‘
It’s not always an easy process looking in and observing the type of parenting pattern you received growing up however once you have it serves as a truly transformational process.
In my next blog post I’ll be going into detail about the EMPOWERED PARENTING PATTERN and the steps we can take to make connected relationships with our children opposed to ruling over them.