Maybe you have more of an impact than you realise
Raising children and young people is hard, there's no doubt about it. As parents we do the best we can but we are also human and there is no manual for how it should be done.
There is however plenty of people's opinions on social media and from those around us, normally all too often quick to judge and offer unwanted statements of how they would do things differently. Statements of how you're not doing it "right" or "could do better".
Coupled with this other factors influence how we are as people and also how we navigate our journey in the role of a parent. This includes our own experience of being parented and growing up and also other factors such as cultural influences or traditions.
So you enter this world of being a parent with a pre programmed way of parenting that you bring to this journey that you may or may not be aware of. This is loaded with "should's" , "milestones", expectations and normally a strong indicator of what's right or wrong. This also incorporates how disciplining should be and dealing with unwanted behaviours.
When you have a child you have instantly a planned out vision of what life will be like, activities you'll all do together, good times only and a healthy happy child.
But what if life hasn't worked out that way? What if you suddenly find yourself in the position of parenting a child or young person with a disability or mental health challenge? What then? Surely the way you raise them will have to change to accommodate and understand this?
In some people yes, but more often than not parents manage as best they can to try and understand the diagnosis, deal with day to day challenges and situations still with the same pre programmed parenting rules that they entered this process with.
As parents we would all agree I'm sure that the way we are impacts those around us, including our children. Do we really sit and think though how we can implement this phrase to the benefit of our children and us via our parenting ? Most look at the child's diagnosis to try and understand them of course but how many really look at themselves?
I'm not talking about parenting courses which tend to get parents backs up, I'm talking about something much deeper than just different techniques or shaming parents best efforts. Crushing anyone's self esteem and criticism doesn't help anyone. No I'm talking about looking at you as a person.
Something that I have found a massive benefit to my role as a parent has been the unlearning of a lot of things I held inside. To shed those unhelpful and not relevant unspoken "rules" of how I "should" be. This requires a huge deal of inner work, honesty and facing the story we are telling ourselves of how we will be.
It is only in doing this that we can be a truly authentic parent for our children who are all navigating the world in the way they know how. Our job as their parents are to support them, in good and not so good times, guide them and most importantly meet them where they are and understand them as best we can.
We are their safe place, their voice and their security but if we are running from a set of pre programmed standards and rules that aren't helpful to us our children and in fact cause more harm than good then that has to be questioned.
Relationship is everything in business, friendship and between parents and children. Once that relationship is fractured it can be hard to repair back to the same way it was before. Therefore taking a look at the effect we have on our children is a good place to start and make the necessary changes as needed. After all, we are the adults, right?
This might include breaking through some of the internal barriers, judgements of ourselves and expectations we hold. It also includes looking after our wellbeing including investing in our self care and managing our own emotions along the way. No one likes a zero patience, negative, stressed person around them who's got no warmth or compassion because they're burnt out, unhappy, in pain and running on empty.
In understanding this and adjusting ourselves to reduce the impact we are having on our children we will improve their experience and also our relationship with them.
It's not a game of control and our children do not belong to us. We are privileged to love them, support them and help them grow into the amazing young people and adults they are meant to be. In turn they help shape us into who we eventually become thanks to their teachings. Let's enhance that process not hinder it.