Principles for Rewarding Parenting
by Martine Delonnay
Parenting is a rich experience for many people with a multitude of diverse emotions coloring their involvement. It can be lovely or stressful, tiring or rewarding with many factors determining the pleasantness or difficulties during the journey. Age and maturity of the parents, economical factors, one’s own experience as a child, and the environment in which one gets to parent their children are all contributing factors.
One considering factor is an individual’s mental-emotional disposition toward parenting. Some see taking care of children as a task, some as a gift, others both. When a parent is solely motivated by the idea that a child is his/her responsibility and they want to honor the task, or when they are animated with the sentiment that the child is their “own” continuation of life, the race can leave them out of breath sooner or later.
What if, instead, parents started to see their child as his/her own person—a life that they have been given the opportunity to observe, assist and cherish, separate from their own lives? While it may not always feel like it, the poignant truth is that if a parent or a child happens to pass, one can live without the other. In that way, it becomes easier to figure how to keep peace and sanity in a relationship with children.
The following principles can reveal helpful to parents:
Educate oneself before/during and after having kids
Knowledge about subjects outside of oneself, such as economics, health and art, as well as things like personal family history, conditions in which one entered life and parents’ state of mind and dispositions at the time of one’s own birth, creates options and brings awareness to one’s parenting. This will help individuals understand the unconscious reasons behind their own choices and certain personality traits they may have. They will also be able to accept what they are transmitting to their offspring and have more compassion for them and themselves.
Feel one’s feelings
Emotions are energy in motion. They are supposed to be moving, not buried or stuck. When people have the courage and the humility to experience whatever comes to mind without much judgment (shame, sadness, rage, anger), they give their emotions an outlet to be released and clear up the way for other emotions to flow ( joy, happiness, contentment)
The tricky part with kids, especially the younger ones, is their souls are like sponges. They absorb everything their surroundings are carrying. Since parents usually spend more time with them, kids can show outwardly the hidden emotions their parents carry. An angry little boy or a sad little girl may have a mom or dad with some suppressed emotions, which when exposed and released, free the child to continue his/her path without much more efforts.
Moreover, when parents engage in sitting with their emotions, rather than suppressing them, they get a chance to challenge false beliefs about their own life experience and feelings, and are able to grow new wisdom. It is a win-win situation for both parent and children.
Choose carefully one’s surrounding
Young parents (which imply young children) are often challenged with the belief that they must follow what everybody does, fit in with society, or worse, surrender their authority to older family members. Parents should be empowered to choose carefully what they think is best for the first years of their children’s lives even if it implies not seeing certain family members that disagree with the lifestyle.
Empower one’s children
The strength and clarity children will manifest once they strike out on their own will be the parents’ report card. Empowerment can be taught on a spiritual platform, or with other resources like education and economy, among others. Whichever one might choose, it is never too early to start. People that are empowered with more resources as a child have a higher rate of success. Resources of the heart like compassion, understanding, respect, love, courage and self-esteem are extremely important. When they are well-applied, sooner or later success will be around the corner.
Whenever these principles are part of parents’ superstructures, like a tree trunk, everyday life follows the trend, and events surrounding the family life come as branches where flowers and fruits will grow. Most importantly, parents should simply strive to do their best and keep growing always.
Dr. Martine Delonnay is a naturopathic doctor. She has a special interest in bringing awareness to the mind-body connection usiong homeopathy, botanicals, lifestyle counseling and nutritional support in her practice. She can be reached at 617-401-5076 or [email protected]