Where were we then?

cute kidsA good place to check in with ourselves when parenting hits a rough patch is to ask ourselves, “Where were we, and what was going on for us, when we were the age that our child is at this moment?”

Children drag us back through our own developmental histories, and that includes every awful thing that ever happened that we wished never to revisit.  When childhood was hard, it’s not uncommon for us to remember very little of it.  Yet the body remembers, and issues like colic, toilet training, separation at preschool (or any other sort of separation) may trigger unconscious, often pre-verbal, memories in ourselves.  When there are no words or pictures in our minds to make sense of such “body memory” we may feel anxious, depressed, confused and irritable.

There is great value in being conscious of our past and our wounds; firstly it helps us avoid unconsciously projecting our bad experiences onto our children (unwittingly “scripting” kids to dislike or distrust the things that might have pained us, but which might be fun for them, such as sports, camps, and the like).  Another positive in dealing with our past wounds is that by parenting our kids empathically through their development, we can create a new parallel script for ourselves.  We may have hated 5th grade, but if our children can have a good experience in their own 5th grade, we help put our old ghosts and demons to bed; by becoming a good parent, our forgotten “inner child” then also benefits from our compassion and finds subtle healing, in counterpoint to shame and isolation.

So, if things get rough on the parenting journey, ask yourself if it could possibly be related to your past, and if so, then try to imagine the heart, soul and good wishes that you carry for your child also making their way somehow back to, or within,  you to reach and soothe the child that you once were.

In this spirit, let’s dedicate today to consciousness and compassion for all our collective children, including those that we parents were, once upon a time…

Namaste, Bruce

p.s. if you find this idea raises specific questions, please feel free to send them along in a comment or an email—it’s not a matter of what I might say about it so much as encouraging your own voice to speak up, ask, puzzle and heal from within your own best Self… and to trust that this process might help other parents and children in a context of kindredness and community


Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s