Being heart centred in our parenting is about committing to nurturing the best possible relationship with our children. The starting point for fostering love, connection, trust and kindness is in how we view children. What is our image of them? What do we see as their 'place' in the relationship? What are we expecting from them?
Respecting children means we see them as a fully fledged person, while also having a reverence for childhood as its own unique stage.
Children are not mini adults, people in training, or 'just a child'. They are children, period.
They are different from us in their needs and how they experience life, but just as worthy of respect and kindness. In fact, given their vulnerability and impressionable way of soaking in the social life around them, they are perhaps due an even greater respect. When we stop and think about how 'whole' our children are after only a few years (if that) on our planet, we should be completely amazed by them.
How do you view the child?
We need to view our children as the capable, willing, wise, inspiring, wonderful, curious people that they are. We can recognise how much learning is still ahead of them and show understanding when they make missteps and try ill-fitting behaviours on for size.
Living and learning are inextricably linked, and our child needs a partner on this journey, not a critic.
We blur the responsibilities we have if, in our quest to be kind, we put adult weight on little shoulders.
Children need equal respect but not equal decision making powers. We are the more experienced member in the partnership and our child feels safe in the knowledge that they are not being made to entirely captain their own ship.
We must let the child be a child, while we enact the parent role but we can consciously keep kindness in mind.
What was it like when you were little?
If we remember what it was like to be young and make mistakes we can respond instead of just react when challenges arise.
Summon up the image of the child-you and recall what you needed. Was it someone who viewed us as 'naughty' and incompetent, or someone who saw us for what we were - a learner who would keep growing with increased experience, maturity and support.
The images we hold influence our perspective and so we owe it to our children to view them in a light that comes from our hearts and sees all the good in theirs. That is the foundation for a beautiful relationship.
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