This post is part of the 30 Days Towards Connected Parenting series.
We become parents with unique baggage. Each of us with experiences and weaknesses and strengths that alter and shape our view. Our view of ourselves as parents, our view of children, our expectations and ability to handle how life changing parenting is.
It can be really eye-opening and life changing to explore our own baggage. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What do you struggle with most? What are your triggers that tear you from connected parenting?
Exploring and understanding your own weaknesses in parenting is often an emotional and ongoing process. So much of what impacts us now is due to how we were parented, schooling and society as well your character and personality traits.
Many of us are parenting different to how we were parented. There can be a fear that we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of our those generations before us. But I think that the most significant thing is to ensure we feel the full emotions that arise surrounding our childhood. Give yourself time to be able to validate those feelings and process what happened and how it impacts you now.
It’s important to recognise that some our ‘instinctive’ (knee-jerk) reactions are not always representative of how we want to parent. Often they are what we were raised to see as normal and can be triggered by feeling angry or out of control. It can really help to focus on moments where you could be reactive rather than proactive.
By doing this introspection, we are better able to relate to our own kids and provide the connection we both need.
Personally, as somewhat of a perfectionist and an introvert, I recognise the things that help and hinder my parenting and connection. I try not to blame myself for struggling with failure (perfectionism) and needing time to recharge after being social (introversion). But I wasn’t always this way. I used to blame myself for things that I recognise now are manageable and sometimes awesome things that are part of my nature.
In the same way that we can value and encourage our children’s unique selves, we can do this for ourselves. The more you work towards self awareness and acceptance, the easier it is to connect with others – including our children.
What do you struggle with most in parenting? What doesn’t come naturally to you? What to you think contributed or contributes to this? What are your triggers that make you more disconnected?