December 19, 2013

Authentic Parenting Equals Giving Up Control. ~ Sandi Schwartz

What legacy can you give your child?

“Beautiful Energy, Source of my child’s creation, You trusted me to be the parent of this unique and wondrous being, please guide me; fill my mind and my heart with inspiration so that I may be the parent this child needs me to be.”

This is a prayer I was inspired to repeat over and over when my children were little. Each time I consulted my Inner Being, I received the same message: my role as Matt and Melissa’s mother was to love them exactly as they came to earth.

They were perfect and didn’t need me to change them.

I had to give up my preconceived ideas about the way children needed to be, along with my concern about what others thought. The more connected I was to my own center, the freer I found myself to adore them, appreciating their ability to march to the beat of their own drums.

Our challenge is to let go of needing to be the source of our children’s well-being. We are merely the conduit through which our children are brought into life.

They come into the world riding the currents of the universe. When we try to impose a previous generation’s set of rules or standards on a new wave of humanity, we push against the current of societal evolution. But if we acknowledge a child’s soul as the captain of their ship, we release them back to their authentic purpose for coming here.

When we get caught up in our own agenda, we miss the wonder of our child’s uniqueness and suffer the stress of trying to mold them into the vision of our own desires and expectations. Empowered parents understand that infinite intelligence flows through all children, and we have the ability to encourage or diminish that flow.

Every moment with your child presents an opportunity to either connect or build walls. Connecting with your child is like making deposits in a joint emotional bank account. The more moments spent building trust, confidence, and appreciation, the more you have to fall back on when times get tough.

Banking a strong connection with a child so that we weather difficult times occurs in the ordinary events of everyday life.

For example, twelve-year-old Angela hated taking spelling tests. No matter how hard she tried, she dd not score a high grade. One night her dad suggested he help her study. “Oh, Daddy, nothing will help me,” Angela said. “I’m just a terrible speller.” Dad insisted they give it a try. Each evening he helped her with the words that might be on the week’s test.

Several days after the test, Angela’s dad wondered why she had said nothing about how she did. “I didn’t want to tell you that I messed up again,” she sobbed. “I misspelled five out of 20 words and got a B-.” Dad smiled and said, “I think we should go out for some ice cream and celebrate.” Angela looked puzzled. “What are we celebrating? I didn’t get the A that I wanted.” Dad looked into her eyes and said, “We are celebrating you, sweetheart. We are honoring your effort and all of your other skills and talents.”

I learned this story shortly after Angela’s dad died, long after she had become an accomplished adult. “It was a moment I’ll always remember,” she told me.

What a legacy to leave your child.

Parents often brush their child’s cries for validation of their worth aside. They are so focused on their own issues that they forget to appreciate the essence of the child’s perceptions. Adults can become so consumed with the pressures of modern living, earning money, and getting their own needs met that they become emotionally or physically unavailable.

When you forget to connect with your child, you lose a chance to strengthen the security and bonding vital for the healthy feelings that foster confidence, cooperation, and good decision making.

Your true power cannot come from controlling.

It happens when you seize each moment to help your child feel accepted and valued. An unexpected hug, pat on the shoulder, note of appreciation, recognition of effort, time spent together, and giant smile are all ways you cement a bond.

These tiny, seemingly insignificant flashes of connectedness are sparks that become the fuel for raising a child with a sense of lovability and worthiness. Kids who feel good are more likely to make wise choices.


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Assistant Editor: Edie Lazenby / Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Leonid Mamchenkov/Flickr

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Sandi Schwartz