Anything that harms the child is not desirable. Most do not realise the damage their actions cause. It is not harmless to smack your child. It teaches your child to fear you, to not trust you, to keep you at a distance, when a parent is the person the child should be able to trust and share with.
Likewise yelling and belittling a child makes them feel unsafe, unloved, unwanted and not good enough. No sane adult would want anyone to feel like that, but we don’t realise that is exactly what our children think and feel when they see us rage in frustration at them.
It is fine to say “Mummy or Daddy needs time out now, I am upset with your behaviour, it wasn’t very nice and I need to calm down before I can play some more”. It is fine to say that. It is not okay to call the child selfish, stupid, dumb, etc or worse to say they ruin everything, you wish they hadn’t been born, etc. Sadly many children do hear such things and it is like a dagger to the heart.
Instead role model to them the behaviour and style of interacting that you do want them to see and do. Show them how to be kind, caring and compassionate to others. What you do they learn. They learn much more from your behaviour than your words. Many don’t acknowledge this as it is inconvenient and does place a responsibility on you to role model appropriate behaviours at all times.
Remember it is okay to say “Mummy is tired and needs to rest or to have quiet time”. The child knows what it is like to be tired and can appreciate that. He/She then knows it is not that you are rejecting them, it is just that you need time to rest or time for yourself.
Meet their emotional needs then they can be more understanding of yours and help you meet them.A child whose cup has been filled with love and attention does not need to chase after you all day begging for love. He/She does not need to yell and scream to be noticed or to get attention. They can play quietly, happily knowing that they are loved and feel safe in their world.
A child exposed to volatile emotions, fighting, parental breakup, etc. is going to be traumatised and need support to process their emotions – fear, anger and grief. They will need extra hugs. They will need time together and to be reassured that it is not their fault that the fighting is occurring. They need to know it is Mummy and Daddy’s business and not about them, that they are still loved, wanted and appreciated.
Too many children end up being the comforters of their parents in pain, rather than the parents comforting the children. This should stop. It is not the natural order of things and children who go through this suppress their own needs to be Mum or Dad’s little helper or hero. They are not meant to be your sounding board for your problems. They are not meant to know the details of your marital problems.
To do so fills them with worry about issues they can’t fully understand or fix. It strips them of their innocence, their focus on living life joyfully in the moment. It takes them out of the moment into the future, constantly worried about what will happen next and trying to influence it or control it. They lose their ability to be a child as they are asked to be an adult too soon.
Don’t do this to your kids. Let them be kids. Let them play and marvel in nature. Let them have fun and chase butterflies. Let them play with pets and friends and know that they are loved always and all ways. That is what they need.
As a parent there are going to be times when you are tired, stressed, anxious, even angry, exhausted and burnt out. It’s important that you take care of yourself so that you feel good, so you have energy. That makes it easier for you to be kind and positive in your interactions with your child.
It’s not easy being a parent. Make sure you are taking time to exercise, to eat well, to do activities you love. Don’t try to do it all alone. Form a tribe of supportive people around you to help you when you need it.
Rest when you need to. Don’t push through till you are exhausted. It’s okay if things aren’t perfect. It’s okay to take it easy some times, to accept what is – you are at your limit to cope and need to rest and balance up.
You can use a wide range of tools to help you balance up. You can go for a walk in nature, pat your pets, draw, paint or do a hobby you enjoy, catch up with friends. All of these types of activities help your body to calm and your mood to elevate. You can use Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) to release the stress and tension of the day, to relax your nervous system and calm down, enabling better quality sleep and more positive relating with your child.
They sense when you’re wound up and stressed out. Their nervous system tunes into yours and they can react emotionally, chaotically if they sense danger, lack of safety or unavailability because you are stressed out or not coping.
Don’t turn to substances to numb out from your situation. Too many people turn to alcohol, TV, shopping, gambling, smoking, drugs, etc. to some for of addiction, to escape temporarily from the burdens they carry. This helps distract themselves from the pain, but it doesn’t resolve it.
Take action instead to heal, to release the stress, tension and trauma, so that you can be more joyful and present with your children, so you can enjoy life more fully. With processes like meditation and TRE it can be done quite quickly only requiring 10-20 minutes of your time and you can do it for free at home once you’ve learned how to do it. It is well worth investing the time to support yourself so you can be happier and healthier for you and your kids.
Humanity chooses to stay enmeshed in pain and loss as it is what is known. The majority of people come from a space of self importance focused on what they can get. This isolates them from others and their heart. In this state of separation they can feel nothing but loss and grief. No matter how much they achieve or wealth they get, they will still feel loss – as it is the loss of the heart, of love, of God that they are truly longing for.
Materialistic focuses result in poverty thinking.There is always more to get or someone else with more to compare yourself too and to feel bad about yourself and your situation because of. It also leads to fear, fear of losing what you do have and fear you won’t get enough in the future. This fear can build to anxiety, depression, desperation resulting in compulsive acquiring behaviours and hoarding situations. It is all fear based as a result of disconnection from the heart and God. In desperation people cling to the objects they do have. They do not realise these things can not bring them lasting happiness.
It is a sad situation when the world is focused on materialistic endeavours. There is no time for joy, for having fun, for connecting deeply and sharing with others, family and friends. There is no honouring of Mother Earth or recognition of her healing and supportive powers. Instead she is seen simply as a commodity – a supplier of resources to be taken and used in the pursuit of material success.
This is not how life is meant to be. Slow down. Simplify. Connect with yourself and your children. Spend time with them. They need your love and attention. They need time with you. They need this connection with you more than they need any material item. They can go without the latest gadget or fashion item. They can not go without your love. To do so results in more dysfunction and a repeating of the cycle as they then try to succeed to feel special, in the hope they will then be loved.
You are all loved just as you are. Slow down and feel the Earth’s heartbeat, feel the pulse of life, allow abundance to flow to you. You do not have to work so hard for it. You don’t have to cling to a pittance, when true wealth is available to you. Connect with your heart, your inner guidance. What is it you really want to do? What do you really care about? Do that. Heal your wounds so you feel peaceful inside. Then you don’t need to strive endlessly outside yourself for that which has always been available to you inside yourself.
Slow down. Love and accept yourself and those around you. Know you are all doing the best you know how to do at this time. You are all healing and evolving and moving towards Christ-Consciousness – a space of love, connectedness and kindness to all. May it manifest quickly in all your hearts as you open to the possibility of living life differently, of being seen as your authentic self, as you drop away the facade / image you have used to please others or get acceptance. It is okay to just be you. You are good enough. You are perfectly okay just as you are. Choose peace and be kind to yourself. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Blessed BE. Amen.
I love the Voice Dialogue work of Hal and Sidra Stone. In this short video they are explaining how many relationships end when the partners have not maintained ‘energetic linkage’ with each other. At the start of a relationship we feel ‘connected’ very strongly and it is that connection that feeds the relationship and keeps it strong.
If either partner moves the majority of their energetic focus elsewhere the connection withers and eventually dies. This happens quite commonly when one partner may get focused more on work or a hobby. The majority of their attention is focused on that and not on the relationship, so the partners start to feel less close. Over time they drift apart until they no longer feel any connection with each other. It is very sad when this happens.
There does not necessarily need to be conflict, it is just a loss of connection and closeness. A common time when this occurs is with the birth of the first child. The wife may focus the majority of her attention on the child and the husband can feel left out. Not understanding why he feels sad or alone he may focus his time and energy on his work, his car, a hobby e.g. the Ipad / computer or start an affair to get the emotional connection from another source.
Sadly many people don’t talk about the growing void in the relationship, the feeling of loss or disconnection. Perhaps, they don’t want to risk acknowledging their vulnerability or they may try to do so but feel unheard. They then shut down further, turning their focus elsewhere. It is common for a woman to focus her energy and time on the kids or with her girlfriends. These provide her with the nourishment she had been missing, but it reinforces the energetic connection with them and not the partner. If the relationship is to survive the main energetic connection needs to be with the partner.
It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to keep your energetic linkage strong – just take a few minutes each day to connect emotionally, to look into each others’ eyes and really be present with each other. Talk from the heart sharing what you are going through. Once a week or so go out and do something together that you both enjoy. The more you nurture the connection the stronger it will be. Even just holding the intent for their to be a strong connection helps – it reverberates out and the other will feel it energetically.
Many people have lost their connection with their hearts and the Earth. They live busy, stressful lives where they rush from one moment to the next, rarely slowing down to breathe deeply or see the beauty all around them.
Such hectic lifestyles lead to a focus on doing, achieving and rushing which result in a lack of rest, peace and joy. We rush about and touch briefly with those around us. We may not eat together and converse savoring the opportunity to connect deeply with what each other is going through.
We may not take the time to play or exercise, both of which are needed for our bodies to be healthy. We spend so much time indoors we forget the majesty of the Earth and all the treasures available to us if we sit quietly in nature.
The green and blue colours which dominate in nature are soothing to our bodies. These colours help us relax and BE. That’s why people can sit and stare at the ocean and feel perfectly content doing so. The salt air also cleanses us energetically making it a very therapeutic activity to do. Likewise, spending time in parks, forests, gardens all helps our bodies to relax, our autonomic nervous systems to regulate and balance back up, to come out of fight or flight and adrenaline rush. Gardening also helps with spores from the soil being dug having a calming effect on the body.
So much happens without our realising it. There is now a field of research called ‘Earthing’ or ‘Grounding’. Where they have scientifically shown that the Earth’s surface has an electrochemical current that gets transmitted to us when we are in physical contact with her. When we walk bare foot or have other skin to skin (Earth’s surface) contact, an exchange of negative ions occurs, which is beneficial to health.
Many people have reported amazing reductions in inflammation, pain and other health issues simply as a result of spending more time connected to the Earth. You can buy earthing sheets for your bed so you can sleep grounded. The sheets have silver threads that conduct the electrical energy through them. However, it’s not electricity. It is just the Earth’s energy drawn through the third prong in a power outlet – the Earth wire. The power point can be turned off and it still works. Similar to sticking an earthing rod into the ground and running a wire from it to the sheets. For more information check out the Earthing Oz website. There is also a documentary made about the amazing health benefits of Earthing that is sometimes available for free viewing. See: http://youtu.be/jgwF0tpioTU.
In ancient times we all had greater contact with the Earth. We walked barefoot or in leather moccasins which also permitted the transfer of the current. We slept upon the Earth perhaps on animal skins which are conductive too! We grew and harvested our own foods and caught or hunted animals to eat.
Modern society is largely separate from that past. We wear rubber soled shoes which block the transfer of the Earth’s current. We spend our time indoors mostly and we buy the majority of our food already processed and prepared from the supermarket. Many are very disconnected from nature spending more time playing with technology than in nature.
Today’s children – many of them – have not spent a lot of time playing outdoors, using their imaginations, watching the clouds or playing with bugs. They don’t ride their bikes to the local creeks and catch tadpoles or have adventures. The creeks in some areas are gone, turned into concrete channels and some feel it is too dangerous to let kids roam the street, concerned about what may happen to them. Some parents feel it is safer to keep them inside, to let them play video games all day long. The result – greater levels of obesity, anxiety and depression. Also boredom. Many kids don’t know how to BE in nature, they would see it as boring. They are used to fast paced, action filled games and TV/Video shows that capture their attention and entertain them. They’re not used to generating their own fun or being still. This is something that is really sad for all concerned as many kids have not experienced deep conversations with those they love, with an ongoing heart to heart interaction. We all need that level of human connection and we need connection with nature too – in order to be truly healthy.
Another negative side effect of being indoors so much is a lack of natural light. Sunlight contains the full spectrum of light. If you shine it through a prism we see a rainbow. Each colour is a particular energetic frequency – that is what it is and our body uses each colour to regulate its functioning. If you become deficient in a particular colour there will be a negative impact on your body.
Fluorescent lighting, energy saving globes and LCD TV and computer screens all emit the blue spectrum – the higher end of the colour frequencies and less of the lower end – the red, orange and yellows. Excessive exposure to blue frequencies can lead to depression and is one reason we are seeing an increase in depression in our society. To alter this you can spend time in nature absorbing sunlight. You can also buy full spectrum light globes. You can even buy yellow TV/PC glasses that balance up the excessive blue with the opposite colour = yellow. Yellow is needed for our nervous systems to work effectively. You can wear the colours you need, decorate your house in them or have colour light therapy to help your body come into perfect functioning.
Colour is just a certain vibrational frequency and we are all made of energy. Our bodies are simply atoms vibrating at a certain density that seems solid but in fact is all energy. Light and colour is also energy and helps our bodies to heal itself. For more information about light therapy and the use of colour for happiness and health see my page on Samassati Colour Light Therapy.
So, if you are feeling sad, exhausted or depressed make some time to BE in nature, to connect into the peace and tranquility, to absorb her energy through skin to skin contact. Go for a walk, do some gardening, grow your own vegies. There are lots of things you can do that will help shift your mood. Even the act of walking at a normal pace for 20 minutes creates a change in the hormones and chemicals in the brain leading to greater peace and calmness. This is important for all of us, but especially those who are struggling in some way.
If you have kids ensure they spend some time outdoors playing or BE-ing. Get them involved in outdoor activities – be it scouts, sports or even environmentally restorative activities such as tree planting.
Schools today thankfully usually have some activity on this front. Many have their own vegie gardens, native gardens, chicken coops, compost and worm farms – that expose children to nature and important information about nutrition. It embeds a joy of working the soil and growing your own food. It teaches them how to prepare nutritious meals from what they’ve grown.
These programs have been found to have much wider benefits too. They help foster teamwork and leadership skills in kids. They build self esteem and give an opportunity for non-academic kids to also excel and feel successful. Indeed some of the academically gifted kids struggle outdoors and get to see the strengths of the other kids. These programs are often run in partnership with the community. Parents and other helpers assist the kids with the gardening or other activities that they do. This provides children with exposure to role models that they may not normally have access to. This is especially beneficial for the many children who are growing up without their Dad’s around on a day to day basis. They get to form a positive relationship with men who show them respect and appreciation of themselves and the Earth.
Our findings were used to produce a guidebook for other schools and communities to use on how to establish effective ‘School Community Learning Partnerships for Sustainability (SCLPfS)’. The guidebook is available for free online at: http://mams.rmit.edu.au/s3ysio6sumic1.pdf.
So, lets get connected with the Earth and enjoy the many benefits of doing so! The more connected we are the more likely we are to care about what occurs on the Earth. Like a protective parent standing up for it’s child, we can stand up for the Earth – speaking out against activities that harm her; taking action to reduce further damage; and repair that which has already occurred. All of us can play a part in this process. So, lets step up and use our voices and our hearts to create a world full of love and respect for all beings – for us and the Earth.
Blessed BE, Jodi-Anne
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In times past families were physically located closer together which helped strengthen connection and unity. Now families are spread across the globe. Aging parents don’t necessarily have loved ones near by to take care of them.
Our society, in general, is focused on achieving success, material wealth and individual advancement. This paradigm does not reward caring for the elderly. The elderly are seen as a nuisance, a problem to be handled and solved rather than the wisdom keepers, the pioneers, the treasure trove of support that they can be.
Grandparents can make a massive positive influence on children. This is especially needed in today’s world where many children are suffering from a lack of loving nurturing attention. Either because their parents have separated or even if together they are so busy that the children don’t get quality one on one time. Parents role model this lack of connection and this need to succeed and acquire wealth to their children who then grow and perpetuate this cycle.
What is needed and could solve this problem?
Parents realising what their children need is their love; their time; to play; to feel special, wanted and loved. They don’t need to watch more TV or have another computer game. They don’t need junk food and hurried eating. They need time together growing food, preparing nutritious meals and connection while eating them. Be a positive role model for your children for they learn from your every move.
Choose a simpler lifestyle so you do have time to play with and nurture your children. Listen to them, get to really know them. If you can’t do this all the time, ensure there are other people who can. This is where grandparents play a valuable role. Children need connection and ideally that connection should come from people they love and trust, not physical objects or strangers / movie stars. This is why children form gangs – for connection, for a place to belong. Help them feel like they belong at home. Let them know they are loved. Encourage them to care for self, others and the planet by role modelling this for them.
Where the elderly are isolated it is useful for the wider community to engage with them and show them their value. Start community gardening initiatives where young people work in the yards of the elderly to grow vegetables, flowers and trees – to form connections and roots, to share the produce. Many homes are now being built on tiny little blocks and don’t have much garden space. Older homes often have larger yards and once past a certain age it is hard for people to dig the soil and do all the bending, lifting, etc that is a part of gardening. But if we work together we don’t have to loose that joy of gardening or the expertise people who have gardened for decades have. We can share and learn from each other.
Community building initiatives such as communal gardens, such as sharing equipmentlike lawn mowers, whipper snippers and other tools can save the need for each family to purchase their own. This saves money and physical resources which benefits the planet. It also means you don’t have to work so hard as you don’t need to buy all the gadgets yourself.
There’s lots of things that can be done to strengthen community cohesiveness and have fun at the same time. Get to know your neighbours, find the people who are passionate about sustainability and work together to raise awareness and make changes in your neighbourhood. By making it fun, social and engaging more people are likely to join in. We will explore this more in future posts.
For now just know that we can turn this around. We can have strong family bonds and cohesiveness. We can have community’s that care and share. We can have happiness and harmony. We just have to make the choices and take the actions to create this in the world.
Some thoughts on parenting – combining insights from neuroscience, new biological sciences, conscious parenting, and psychology.
Children need love and affection
Children need to feel loved and accepted in order for their brains to develop optimally. Even prior to the formation of your egg or sperm your thoughts about yourself, the world and your desire or not to have a child and your ability to care for that child or not, start shaping the personality of a possible child. Your thoughts affect what genes are selected and programmed on your egg or sperm. So even prior to conception you have the ability to affect the personality and intelligence of your child.
Children need your time and attention
Even in the womb children benefit from you connecting with them, talking to them, telling them they are loved, wanted, welcomed, that the world is a safe place, that you look forward to sharing your life with them. This prenatal attachment helps your baby’s brain to grow in optimal ways.
Blood flow from the Mother crosses the placenta carrying all the Mother’s beliefs, emotions and stressors. The baby gets the lot. It is as nature intended it – shaping the baby to learn and survive in the world as the Mother sees it. If the Mother sees a loving world and experiences that (hence the role of the Father is also key here) then the foetus will grow optimally. If she sees a harsh, scary, dangerous world the foetus will develop differently. The blood flow will be diverted from brain development to muscle development so that the child will be able to survive, be a fighter in the world, able to fight or run away from danger. In this way 50% of IQ can be diminished if the foetus is carried in fear during pregnancy. (Bruce Lipton talks about this, see his material if you want to learn more).
If the Mother is very stressed then her body is full of cortisol and this is toxic to a developing baby’s brain. It actually eats away / dissolves the brain cells. (The same happens when a baby is left to cry – cortisol is secreted and can damage the brain). What you do during your pregnancy has a major impact on the development of your child-to-be’s IQ and physiology. Up to halfof their personality is already formed before they are even born.
Children need loving births and to bond with you immediately
The birth process also affects the child and its experience of the world. Is it stressful, noisy, loud and invasive – like a hospital can be? Was the birth traumatic with the Mother and Father in fear? Were there any complications? Was the baby taken from the Mother and tested for various things – pricked in the foot for blood tests, immunised, a plastic scapula stuck down its throat to sample its stomach contents, weighed on a cold scale? All of these things affect the child’s perception of the world and whether it is safe, welcoming or not.
If drugs were used during the labour these have also entered the baby across the placenta. This can leave a baby unaware, not fully present for the first few days. And this time is some of the most crucial time for bonding and attachment with the parents. The baby needs to be held, loved, nurtured, have lots of eye contact and skin to skin contact with both the Mother and the Father. Without it bonding does not occur and this sets the baby up with abandonment issues, feelings of being unloved, etc. These early moments are so, so important. Science is now confirming what those with open hearts have always known. Babies do feel, are sensitive to pain from the very start, from their time in the womb. All that you do impacts them. Your role as parent is so, so important shaping their health and personality and the role they will play in society.
It is now being fully recognised by politicians and community health personnel that if you raise babies in a more loving and nurturing way those children will grow up with a healthier sense of self esteem and connection with society. Poor care giving leads to more crime, ill health, poverty and other undesirable characteristics. That is why Governments, including Australia, are introducing policies to support parents and improve early care giving. We will continue to see more and more early care services for families as this recognition becomes widely accepted in society.
Parents need help to look after their babies optimally. Parenting is a hard job. It requires you to give and give and give. If you are stressed, resentful, depressed or even just unhappy with your life – your baby absorbs that and may believe it is their fault. Setting up beliefs of “I’m a problem”, “I’m not good enough”. Even if they don’t do that, they learn about life from you, so they will automatically expect their life to be the same.
Children learn from your every move
From 0-6 years of age their brains have not developed conscious functioning – the ability to question data. From 0-6 years they simply believe everything that they are told or what they see and sense about the world from watching you. If they see you sad or scared or stressed, they absorb it. If they hear you say that they are bad, unwanted, have spoilt things, are selfish, stupid, you wish they were never born, etc, they absorb it and believe it. This forms their core belief system that will then affect them for the rest of their life.
Parents, most anyway, do not set out to damage their children, but when they are stressed and exhausted such statements can slip out. Especially if that is what you were told when you were little. Your parents programmed your beliefs from 0-6 years of age as you do with your children. These patterns can repeat through the generations unless you make a conscious decision to heal and change those beliefs – then your actions can be different.
Conscious parenting is a great start, learning what you can about loving and nurturing methods to promote a baby and child’s self esteem, individuality and emotional intelligence. The knowledge is key. You will be able to apply it when you are calm, centred and feeling good. But when you are stressed you may be shocked to find that you revert back to not so ideal ways of talking to and treating your baby or child. You may hear your Mother’s of Father’s words coming out of your own mouth. Because when you are stressed you react more from the subconscious mind, on auto pilot. And this is the part of the brain that was programmed from 0-6 years old. It contains all the memories, feelings, beliefs form those times and plays them like tape recordings over and over. It does not judge or think it just plays over and over. Changing these tapes to more loving ones about yourself, your ability to be a good parent, about your child is crucial to good child rearing. It is this information which is now leading to greater support for families. With less stress it is easier to be more loving and kind to your child.
Parents need support
Whether it just be friends or family who can help around the house – getting drinks, meals, cleaning up, taking older kids out so that parents can bond with a new baby or family and friends helping to hold the baby when it cries so the Mother and Father can rest.
Crying is a natural biological process for releasing tension and stress. Sometimes your baby just needs to cry. There is nothing that they need other than to be held and loved while they cry. This can be challenging to a parent, especially a first time parent, who assumes that they are doing something wrong. Their belief tapes play “I’m not good enough”, “I’m a bad parent”, “My baby doesn’t like me” or “My baby/toddler is deliberately trying to upset or disobey me”. (Some people do have these beliefs, believing that babies and toddlers are deliberately trying to upset them, but this is not possible, their brains have not developed that much yet. They are not wilfully disobeying, they are just being babies/toddlers. They don’t need judgment or punishment, they need love and acceptance.)
A constantly crying baby can wear a parent down and it is important that another caregiver is present to take over and hold the baby when the parent can no longer do so in a loving way. This does not occur in a lot of families and what happens instead is that the baby senses your stress, anger, desperation = danger. You may have started to pat or bounce them a little harder. You may have shoved a dummy or food in their mouth. You may have put them down and walked away. All of these responses tell a baby it is not safe to express my emotions. They learn to bury the tension inside their bodies, setting up a lifelong pattern of emotional regression and inability to ask for what they need. Using food to comfort a child can set it up for obesity and eating disorders in the future.
Children need to express their emotions
This pattern is usually reinforced during toddler years and beyond if the child is not allowed to express it’s emotions to you. Often a child will be unhappy with something that you have done or something you won’t let them do. Few parents let their child express this. It leads the parents to feel hurt or guilt, and they can’t handle it so they stifle the child instead. “Don’t talk back”. “Respect your elders”. “Because I said so”. Are all ways parents use to stop a child expressing itself.
Ideally children from a young age are taught it is okay to express their emotions. This can be role modelled using I statements. “When you do ….. I feel and I’d prefer …….” This is healthy. Children can also draw, write about what they feel. They can be taught to punch a pillow or kick the bed when they are angry and get their emotion out. Teach them that is okay but hitting a person or animal is not.
Tantrums are an overflow of emotion that they don’t know how to express. They literally lose control of their senses as their body is flooded with hormones and chemicals. It is very scary for a child to experience. What they need when this occurs is for you to stay present, talk calmly to them, and wait for the chemicals to pass, for their nervous system to regulate, so they regain their bodily control. Do not walk away, yell at them or shame them. Abandoning them during such a time teaches them they can’t rely on you or anyone to be there for them in their time of need. Remember from 0-6 years old they don’t have the ability to question data, it just gets absorbed. They can’t rationalise and say “Mummy’s just upset or tired, that’s why she walked away”. They see you walk away angry and assume it is their fault, that they are a bad person, not good enough, etc. If you do need to walk away say why. Say you are tired, stressed, need some time to yourself or to rest. Say this so the child knows it is not because they are bad.
Children need boundaries not discipline
It’s perfectly okay, desirable and healthy even, for you to assert your needs and desires with your toddler and older children. Let them know you have needs. For instance “I need you to go to sleep now, so Mummy can rest too”. “I need you to tidy your room as it is getting hard for me to walk around and that upsets me”. “I need some time with Daddy now so please go to sleep. I’ve enjoyed our day together, now it’s sleep time”. A child is more likely to go to sleep hearing this than if you try to tell them “You need to sleep so you will be refreshed in the morning or so you can concentrate at school tomorrow”. The child doesn’t care about these things, they are in the future, not now. Explaining your needs helps them learn that you are human, that you have needs too, that you won’t always be able to give to them. That is good. It helps them learn to be considerate of others and to be a caring member of society.
Letting your child walk all over you, treat you poorly, get away with all sorts of undesirable behaviour is damaging to them and to you. They need boundaries. They need to be taught about morals and care for self, others and the planet. These things can be done naturally and easily if you use such positive communication processes as I statements, as you role model healthy emotional intelligence and teach them the same. Make activities and chores fun, a chance to connect, then they will gladly tidy their room, help with the dishes, etc. Show your appreciation of their help. Your genuine praise warms the heart of your child and builds their self esteem. They will do more of what you want to get that warm, good feeling about themselves. If you have this connection and bond, you don’t need to coerce, manipulate or shame a child into doing the right thing. They will do it because they love you, you love them, you’ve made it fun, you’ve explained why it is important to do and they will get that yummy feeling. This is the reward that means the most to them.
If however you use star charts and rewards like chocolate, toys or special outings, the child may do the desired behaviour but they do it because they want the reward. Not because it is the right thing or considerate thing to do. They don’t learn the moral. They learn to focus on achieving, success, consuming / materialism. This is not healthy or desirable for them or society or the planet. There are already too many people wasting their lives working hard to get material possessions they don’t really need, which pollute the Earth. What is needed or more beneficial is people recognising that what really matters is family, friends, love, connection with self and others, doing what you want, being yourself, enjoying life and honouring the Earth. This is much more balanced, much healthier.
We can role model this for our children. Choose to spend more time with them and go without the fancy gadget. Your child will benefit immensely as will you. With strong connection discipline problems don’t occur and any minor issues can be resolved quickly and easily through talking about each person’s needs, feelings and desires. Get children to problem solve – identify different options and choose one. Get them to reflect on what happened, why and what could be done differently next time. This is a respectful and honouring way to resolve conflicts.
Using traditional disciplining methods (hitting, spanking, yelling, shaming, punishing) just drives a wedge between you and your child. If they aren’t allowed to express their feelings they bury it inside. But be warned you will hear about it when they are teenagers! The brain starts to grow again in teenage years and all their unmet toddler needs surface. The hormones and hurts lead to a volatile combination fuelling teenage rebellion. They are now old enough to question your behaviour and to see where you have been less than ideal. They may not respect you or listen to you as you didn’t show them respect or listen to them when little. If you treat them lovingly and nurturingly when little teenage years can be a lot easier.
If a child is refusing to dress use natural consequences. Let them go outside without a jumper. When they get cold they’ll ask for it and they will have learnt why it is a good idea to wear one. Don’t fight and struggle. Find ways to make it easy, fun. Give a child a choice – “Today you can wear this or this outfit, which would you prefer?” Or let them choose out the wardrobe. Be prepared that they may not dress the way you like – a dress up outfit, mismatched clothing – but if they are happy, dressed and warm why should you care if it doesn’t match? That’s just societal conditioning about how we should do things. It does not mean you’re a bad parent if your child isn’t dressed traditionally. Let go of such thoughts.
Let your child play and their imaginations flourish. Don’t deaden life into routine and boring normality. Let their individuality shine through. This makes you a loving parent, one others could learn from. Do what your heart tells you is right, not what your head or mind says. If negative beliefs come up, look at them, heal them. There are a range of techniques that can be used to reprogram your subconscious mind with more positive and self supportive beliefs. Psych-K, the Lifeline Technique, even affirmations if done regularly, with feeling, looking into your own eyes in the mirror can do this. They can change the belief which leads to a rewiring of your brain. Science has now shown the truth of all this.
No parent can meet all their child’s needs all the time. Everyone falls short of the parenting ideal at times. Please do not beat yourself up about anything that may have happened in the past. You can’t change what has happened but you can commit to being a more conscious and nurturing parent now. Know that love heals and leads to reconnection.