What's the best way to parent?
Get to know yourself!
Our children learn from us not only by what we say but more by how we live our lives. The way we live our lives today is based on our past, our own childhood. We bring with us from our childhood a collection of beliefs and unresolved issues. Therefore, making sense of our childhood experiences has a profound effect on how we parent today.
The more we understand ourselves in a deeper way than the better we respond to our kids. If we are not aware of our unresolved issues or beliefs then there is a strong chance that we will pass the confusion from these issues down to our children. So do your inner work! Don't go into the blame game instead be curious.
"Being a parent gives us the opportunity to reparent ourselves by making sense of our own early experiences. Our children are not the only ones who will benefit from this making-sense process: we ourselves will come to live a more vital and enriched life because we have integrated our past experiences into a coherent ongoing life story."
"History often repeats itself, and parents are vulnerable to passing on to their children unhealthy patterns from the past. Understanding our lives can free us from the otherwise almost predictable situation in which we recreate the damage to our children that was done to us in our own childhoods."
Where to Start
Start the process of becoming aware of your inner life. Learn to meditate, practice with a teacher if you can. Learn to be still and quiet your thoughts so you can live from the present moment. Meditate on vulnerability and see what comes up for you. You may find areas where you feel uncomfortable. Be open to seeking professional support as you learn. It is important to acknowledge your own childhood struggles and pain. Do your best to make peace with that past and hold it with compassion and understanding.
As a mother, I am continuously learning how I bring my past into parenting. A simple example is my belief that its not good to be late. I noticed how I would feel anxiety in the mornings with my kids for school. Even if my kids were not late, I was full of anxiety. It was a situation where there was no problem, I created a problem. This belief was only causing my family suffering because I was so unconscious of it. I learned from my inner work that being on time was a strong belief handed down from my dad. I in my young child's mind confused being good was to be on time, being late was bad. Many beliefs are passed down from generation to generation. Therefore to be a better parent, I now go with the flow.
Last but not the least
This is a tall order to get to know your past but the demands of parenting are greater. Your child is a part of you, your peace is their peace, your stillness is their confidence, your understanding is their kindness towards themselves. At each stage of their life you will be presented with that stage of your own childhood. If there is unresolved suffering at that point in your past, make peace with it so you do not inflict it on them. As parents, our hero's journey lies in embracing our past so we can let it go and make space for something new and wondrous.