If you have not read the work of Brene Brown, or seen her TED talk, please do.
If you haven’t noticed yet, parenting pushes all of your buttons; especially the buttons you didn’t know that you had. 🙂 Of course, it is very hard to reflect on your childhood and the assumptions in your family, but it is part of the work, I think, of parenting.
One comment that I hear often from parents is: “I don’t want to be ‘THAT PARENT!‘” I think this comes from our past, and that we can mean different things by it. What is our biggest fear as a parent? And where does that come from?
Our children are more resilient than we can imagine, and, if we are honest with them, the way Brene Brown describes being honest in this video, your children will stay in relationship and learn something about what to do with their own shame.
(She describes the difference between shame and guilt this way: “Guilt is when you know that you did something “bad”; shame is when you believe that you are bad. Shame leads to bad outcomes on every level.)
So, whatever you fear, please face your fear, or you can pass on your shame to the next generation.
if you are afraid for your child not to be pleased or entertained, to be angry, or to stand your ground, your child may feel unable to cope with difficulty.
If you are afraid of a child who is “spoiled”, you might be too strict, and fail to express your empathy, leaving your child anxious.
If you are afraid that your child is not learning enough, you may keep them too busy, and not give them enough time to discover on their own.
If you are uncomfortable with structure, you may leave your children hanging about what to expect.
If you are afraid that they will get emotionally or physically hurt, you may not let them explore relationships and environments on their own. We learn best when the learning is our own discovery!