The idea that we can do something meaningful for the world and make a difference through our parenting is both empowering and at times an overwhelming responsibility. Our children need to feel connected in order to thrive, their need for a close, warm, emotional bond with us is vital. The vision of Hand in Hand Parenting encompasses this and is what drew me to the work I do:
"Our vision is a world that supports the difficult work of parenting and fosters meaningful personal connections to move us toward a sustainable and peaceful world. At Hand in Hand, we heal society one family, one community at a time."
When we parent in a connected way, we view our children differently to the traditional ways of parenting. The old ways have focused on punishments and rewards and are based on the idea that we need to civilise our children and control them. To view our children through the new paradigm lens is to see that they are inherently good. They have an inbuilt desire to cooperate, be kind and thoughtful, to love and play. When they are not like this, they most likely cannot feel that sense of connection in that moment. They don't need punishment.... this disconnects them further, resulting in more challenging behaviors.
I am wondering if this resonates with you? Or are you still wanting to know more about the idea of this new paradigm? You can read more about it here.
An important part of the 'bigger picture' is supporting and empowering parents so that this kind of emotional connection with our children can be maintained, and strengthened. We are full of feelings when we become parents - there is nothing like a crying baby, a defiant toddler or a child acting out to push our buttons as parents! We might think we have it relatively 'together' as an adult before parenthood.... and we discover new parts of ourselves when parenthood begins. This also has to do with brain science - our brains are wired in a certain way, depending on our past experiences, and what comes naturally when we have children is to parent them the way we were parented!
Reflecting on our reactions, our buttons that are bring pressed, and recognising there might be things we want to differently is a powerful process - because our brains can be REWIRED!!! We can change the way our 'default' parenting style is - isn't that fascinating? And more importantly, empowering??
This is where we have our huge potential as parents. We have the power to shape our child's brain, through the experiences we offer. And children learn best, and develop their social intelligence when there is a sense of connection present. This is where we can change what is passed down from generation to generation. This is where we can heal our communities. This is where we can create a more peaceful world.
I think we, as parents, have such an important job, that deserves more respect and support than our culture generally provides. We are raising our future leaders, who are going to be making decisions that affect our world.
This is where we are on the leading edge of the new paradigm. For thousand of years our culture has not given enough credit and support to parents, and also not enough presence to children, to guide them consciously. We are now at a turning point, of a new way of being, with ourselves, and with our children. And you can see this flowing out into the world.... punishments in schools are being questioned on their efficacy, new systems for prisons are being discussed, and the mind body connection in the medical world is becoming more recognised.
This is an exciting time! But it begins with us, as parents, being willing to look at where we are parenting from, being willing to give ourselves the support we need so we can offer the warmth, connection and presence our children thrive on.
So, what can we do right now to be a part of ushering in this new paradigm?
We can view our children with the insight that they are GOOD! They innately know how to love and play and cooperate. When they are not like this, they need our LOVE, not more disconnection. If our parenting decisions come from this place, we are on the way to shaping our children's brains to bring more empathy and kindness into the world.
If you're finding parenting challenging, and the idea that you have a huge responsibility is more of a burden than an excitement.... then know you are not alone! Parenting is hard, emotional work, that is often unappreciated. Be gentle with yourself, and you will teach your child to be gentle with themselves when they are feeling overwhelmed. No one needs to be punished. Including ourselves.
Be inspired! Read and learn and grow and play....our children are calling us to let go of old ideas, and find new parts of ourselves that resonate with how we want our lives, and our children's lives to be.
Take a moment to reflect, how do you want to parent? How do you want your child to be? In this information overloaded world we can forget to tune in to ourselves, and what matters to us.
We are powerful agents of change but we need to be willing. We can transform generations but we need to start with ourselves.