I have been blessed with two beautiful souls that I am honored to call my children. They are loving, adventurous, resilient, creative and extremely silly individuals who are a constant source of joy and inspiration.
When my son was born, in 1999, I was overwhelmed by the responsibility of being a parent. For me, the question was not whether I could raise a child but rather, how do I raise a spiritual, emotionally intelligent, and physically healthy individual who will contribute to the betterment of the world? And so began the journey to figure this parenting gig out. I soon realized that to raise a whole being, I had to begin with my personal transformation.
My children have a way of holding the mirror up and revealing my most glaring imperfections. As a result, throughout this journey, I have had to look at and work on myself in order to help them along their journey. Every day I am grateful because they continue to challenge me to become a better version of myself.
Being a mother has been and continues to be one of the greatest adventures and joys of my life, and I love it! In the work, I do as a therapist and parenting educator, my hope is to share with parents what I’ve learned over the years in order to empower parents to discover the joy amidst all of the challenges and mistakes.
Here are some insights I’ve picked up over the years about parenting that have helped me tremendously.
Treat children with dignity. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity no matter who they are. Dignity is a human right. Always ask yourself does what I am doing leave my child with his/her dignity intact? One can discipline a child without stripping them of their dignity, so learn how.
Parent with the long term in mind. Is what you are doing effective in the long term? You are raising a human being, not a 2, 3, or 13 year old, but a unique and wonderful soul with great potential. Your work is to draw forth those amazing qualities that they already possess. So parent for the long term and not the moment.
Childhood is a time of magic. Sometimes, allow yourself to be swept away into your child’s world of magic, wonder, and adventure! It passes all too quickly, trust me.
Inject your relationship with humor. Let your hair down and be silly! Laughter builds bonds and heals wounds. Humor is definitely the glue in my family.
Examine your relationship with mistakes and failures. Mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn and failure is just information. You often learn more from failure than success.
We are all flawed, so embrace it. There are no perfect parents or children. We are all imperfect beings trying to figure it all out. So cut yourself some slack and do so for your children and other people in your life.
Breathe! When things start to fall apart, the first step to problem-solving is to take a deep breath (or two or three). Oxygen has a way of clearing the head and relaxing you. By taking a moment, you give your problem-solving brain time to kick in, rather than letting the reactive, irrational brain take over.
Model, Model, Model! Model the behaviors and qualities you want to help your child with. Be loving, honest, kind, compassionate, forgiving and they will learn to do the same. Ask the mirror neurons, they know.
Trust your intuition. In this modern age, where we are often made to distrust our intuition, trust it. Be careful to distinguish between your intuition and ego. You know your children better than anyone else, so trust that inner voice that knows the answers.
Always remember “This too shall pass.” Everything eventually comes to an end.
Parenting is a challenging but noble deed, so welcome the challenge, enjoy the journey, learn to relax and trust that everything will turn out okay. Here is a quote from my religious tradition that has inspired my parenting and so I share that with you.
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“O ye loving mothers, know ye that in God’s sight, the best of all ways to worship Him is to educate the children and train them in all the perfections of humankind; and no nobler deed than this can be imagined.” –Baha’u’llah