The truth? You are not a good parent.
We put so much pressure on ourselves to be good parents. We try to give our kids loving stable homes, send them to good schools, be patient when they freak out, feed them the right foods, set up fun play dates, buffer their emotions, help them achieve their goals, and a multitude of other daily tasks and thoughts to do with their wellbeing and overall levels of happiness. Because that is what good parents do.
The truth? You are not a good parent.
Did you know that in the languages of Sweden, Norway and Finland, where they experience long snow-filled winters, there are as many as 180 snow and ice related words. That’s a lot of ways to talk about something we just call, well, snow and ice. Imagine how differently snow would appear to you if you had so many ways to describe it rather than just cold, wet and white!
Now think about how much richer your child’s emotional life would be if they could describe what they were feeling with more words than just happy, sad and mad.
2017 was a tough year for many people. There was the recession and it’s accompanying financial difficulties; there were crazy weather patterns with hurricanes, droughts, floods and fires that left many homeless or worse; we had racist flare ups and mass shootings and unspeakable acts towards women; and we had people in power positions who many feel shouldn’t even be allowed to breathe let alone run countries!
So as we head into the New Year many of us may be asking ourselves if it’s even possible to have a good year. And the next question that usually comes up is what it is that we're missing to have this great year that we so desperately want.
There are so many articles, books, self help courses and self-development webinars out there to help us to “get what we really want”. You want success or fame or more money or kids who behave well or the perfect marriage? You’ve got some work to do. You need to set goals and control your own thoughts and behavior and manage your emotions and be consistent with your discipline… and what it all really boils down to is control. Control your thoughts, control your behavior, control your spending habits, teach yourself and your children to have self-control, and most importantly, have control over your own future.
But we’ve missed a step here. If you want to get what you really want, then the first question you need to ask is what specifically is it that you really want?
A child told me recently that her mother gives her hidings when she is being “naughty”. I was quite surprised. I’ve had a number of conversations with her mother about parenting concepts and managing relationships with our kids and this is something that has never come up.
Which got me to wondering whether she deliberately avoided the topic with me because I come across as judgemental. And on the topic of spanking, I surmised that perhaps I do. I don’t spank my own kids. I don’t advocate it as a way of handling “misbehavior” (mostly because I don’t believe in misbehavior in the first place – to me, all behavior is a form of communication), and of course, what I write about is usually pro some kind of peaceful parenting.
But…. Although I come across as completely child-focused and gentle in my parenting approach, do I judge people who spank their kids? No. And here is the reason why…
The word out of Silicone Valley is that none of us should be making goals beyond 3-5 years. Why? Because within that time frame around 80% of the jobs that we currently know will be obsolete. You heard me, obsolete. Technology and specifically robotics are progressing much faster than most of us realize and already there are robots taking over many of the jobs in the USA and abroad.
So what on earth do they suggest that we do? And what is to become of our children, most of whom are still in a schooling system that trains them for the current market place?
Most people don't know how they are seen by other people. Most of us don’t really know that we are loved, or why, or how much we are loved.
Over the past six years of working with clients on their limiting beliefs and the things that are holding them back, what comes up more often than any other idea is that almost all of us believe that we’re not ok, that we’re not good enough, and that we’re not lovable.
Let me tell you about someone I know. I'll call her Jane to protect her identity.
The man in Jane’s life (let's call him Joe) has some definite ideas about how Jane should behave. In fact, one might call him controlling. During the week he forces her into a confined space for many hours of the day. She is not allowed to move much at all (even if her legs are cramping and her back is aching). He keeps her doing menial tasks that have no meaning or significance in her life and allows her out of this confined space for only a few short intervals just to have something to eat and briefly stretch her legs. She has no voice in his world. She has no autonomy. In fact, most of the time she even has to ask his permission to use the bathroom.
There has been a huge movement over the past couple of years around how we can manifest things into our lives by using the power of our thoughts. Many of us watched “The Secret” or read about “The Law of Attraction” and we've bought into a lie about the power of our thoughts to manipulate the future into giving us what we do want and avoiding what we don't want. This idea can then create fear and anxiety around what we think and what might happen to ourselves and our children if we don't get it right. It can also lead to blaming and shaming as we assume that when bad things happen to people it is somehow their fault for not being more vigilant with their internal world.
I know that manifesting things with your thoughts is a myth because:
We tend to think of parenting as a happy endeavor. Even though research tells us that in most countries people with kids are less happy than those without, we know that we have the one-up on those childless couples because we are fulfilled!
But what if parenting isn’t fulfilling for you? Or what if that fulfillment isn’t enough? What if becoming a parent was the worst decision you ever made?