““While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”
Children thrive in a caring and supportive environment. We parents need to love them unconditionally and also set boundaries within which they will feel safe and secure.
Parenting is a blessing - full of rewards but also a challenging, complicated and sometimes heartbreaking process. We want our children to be healthy, happy and successful. We want to raise confident, balanced and fulfilled people of the world, but our own education does not equip us with the right skills, insight or strategies to confidently do so.
What life has taught me is this:
A healthy and vibrant body is a good place to live. When we eat a delicious meal, we feel nourished and content; a warm and comfortable house makes us feel safe. Family and the people we love (and who love us back) are our security net. The company of a good friend is precious and nurturing.
A rewarding career, a job we like, a good salary and money that enables us to do what we want can make us feel secure and content. And an active social life and community service fosters a sense of belonging - the feeling we are valuable members of society.
Nevertheless, even if we achieve all of this we know it’s still possible to feel unhappy or unfulfilled. And equally, we see people who in the absence of nearly all these things have managed not only to survive, but to rise above any challenge or hardship and thrive.
What is it that makes the fundamental difference?
We all want to feel valued, seen and understood. We want to feel worthy - that we are significant and that we matter. We flourish in the presence of people who are supportive and who love, appreciate and respect us. And yet there is always the potential to damage it all; fear of criticism, rejection, failure, disappointment, humiliation, shame. Fear is what makes us compromise, and what keeps us from doing amazing things.
When we rely on approval, validation, compliments or confirmation from others to sustain our sense of worth, dread of their absence creates fear. We can easily become motivated by someone else's vision, expectations or aspirations; we may follow someone else's dreams, chase after someone else's ambitions… and lose ourselves in the process.
How can we overcome our fears?
We don't need to get rid of that fear, but instead make it our ally. We need to be in touch with our inner world, to form a strong core that enables us to know who we are, what is good for us, what we want and where we are going. This is what we want our children to have; this is who we want them to be.
As an experienced family therapist I can teach strategies and offer support in learning the skills that will help you raise your children as balanced, grounded and flexible citizens of a fast-developing world.
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