DAFxZpaYkV4I have been contemplating for a few years now why so many more of our kids these days struggle with mental health issues, why we find it so hard to get the balance right in parenting with firmness and kindness, and why the world is currently such a complicated and overwhelming place to live.

And then it hit me. I was sitting in an auditorium listening to the beautiful Dr Vanessa Lapointe talk about how we can help kids thrive, when she mentioned that word: CONNECTION. Now, I have myself spoken many times about the importance of connection, so there was nothing new in what she was talking about. Still, something in what she said brought it home to me so strongly that I sat there stunned for a while. 

Human beings are SIMPLE. We all strive to BELONG; to be LOVED, to CONNECT, and to feel SAFE. When we achieve these things we can thrive, be successful and build healthy relationships, because we come from a place of GIVING rather than from a place where we need to TAKE from others in order to feel complete. 

The problem with that, of course, is that we are not perfect, whole human beings. We come with scars, trauma, and insecurities from our past which largely define how we parent our own children. We raise them with good intentions. We want them to have what we didn't have. We want them to feel loved, to feel happy, to be resilient, to feel confident. We want the world for them. And we do the best that we can with the tools and resources that we have at the time.

The catch is that when we raise children with pain from our own past, this pain will inevitably emerge when we least expect it to, mostly during times when our children test us because they are acting out. Enter power struggles, shouting, nagging, and all sorts of bad behaviour from us (yes - us) because - guess what? - we are ultimately just having a 5 year old meltdown in an adult body, just because our children won't listen to us.  

We live in a hugely fast-paced world. We spend a large amount of time on devices, our schedules are super busy, our kids have extra curricular activities up to their eyeballs, and many of us have lots of 'stuff'. Because there is so much 'stuff', they don't hold as much value and if we don't like something we can change it - pretty much instantly. 

We are so consumed with external things, being busy, achieving, that we have lost sight of what is crucial to our survival as a species; CONNECTION. In fact, many of us have even lost the ability to do so, resorting to social media, drugs, alcohol, shopping, in order to fill a need which we no longer know how to fill. 

Is there any wonder anxiety is on the rise?

To be a good parent we need to relearn how to connect, not only with our kids, but with ourselves. In fact, connecting with ourselves needs to be at the heart of our parenting. When we can connect with ourselves, we can tune into our own feelings and needs. We can learn to love ourselves and give ourselves compassion and kindness. And then, when we have connected with ourselves, we can finally begin to parent our own kids from the heart. 

Here are 4 things you can do to connect with yourself

1. Rediscover Your Authentic Self

Before we can expect to connect deeply with our children, we must first reconnect with our own authentic selves. Modern life often leads us to conform to societal norms and expectations, losing touch with our true desires, passions, and beliefs. By dedicating time to self-reflection and introspection, we can align ourselves with our core values, allowing us to show up as our genuine selves and model authenticity for our children.

2. Cultivate Emotional Well-being

Children are intuitive and perceptive beings who can sense the emotional state of their parents. When we are disconnected from ourselves emotionally, our ability to effectively support our children's emotional well-being is compromised. Taking the time to prioritise self-care, engage in activities that bring us joy, and process our emotions helps us become emotionally available for our kids. By modeling healthy emotional expression, we create a safe and open space for our children to share their own thoughts and feelings.

3. Lead by Example

Children learn by observing the behaviour of their parents. When we prioritise self-connection, we demonstrate the importance of self-awareness, self-compassion, and personal growth. By engaging in activities that promote self-reflection, such as journaling, meditation, or engaging in hobbies, we inspire our children to explore their own interests, develop their identities, and embrace the power of self-reflection.

4. Foster Effective Communication

Meaningful connections are built upon open and effective communication. By strengthening our self-connection, we enhance our ability to communicate authentically and empathetically with our kids. This allows us to truly listen to their needs, concerns, and desires, creating a nurturing environment where their voices are validated and respected. When our children feel heard and understood, they readily turn to us for guidance and support.

Once you can fully connect with yourself by practicing self-love and compassion, only then can you start to truly connect with your children. 

So how do you connect with your children?

1. Get Curious

Ask yourself, what makes them tick? What is their behaviour telling you that they need? What support do they need? Tune into them and get curious. Curiosity will allow you to see your child for who they are and in turn they will feel heard and seen

2. Join in

Observe your child. What do they really love doing? Forget about putting your ideas onto them. Give them space to show you and tell you what they are passionate about. Join in their activities. If it's dinosaurs, do a little bit of role play. If it's gaming, show an interest in their games rather than constantly telling them to get off their screens. When you have connected with them this way, they will be more open to doing things for you when the time arises. 

Remember, as we invest in our own self-connection, we provide our children with an invaluable gift of having connected, present, and engaged parents who will help shape their future in the most positive way possible, whilst being able to connect with them on a much deeper level because we are parenting from the heart. 



Leave a Comment