Audio Version of the Blog Below:
Our children are also here to grow us up. A healthy parent-child relationship is not a relationship of dominion of one person over another. Our children are entrusted to us and we are to be their teachers and their protectors. There is a healthy level of authority over them but not for the sake of dominance. This is a relationship where both have something to contribute and to teach to the other.
Don’t treat your child as a lesser version of you. Be aware that the parent-child relationship offers a mutual contribution to those involved, and offers both individuals the opportunity to grow. You have as much to learn as your child does. Your child will reawaken those parts of you that were dormant, and most likely were put to rest when you yourself were a child. Your children will push your buttons and you will be forced to look in the mirror if you choose to truly evolve as a person and as a parent. You can fight it and take a stance of domination or be grateful for the opportunity your child is offering you to also grow up, and heal those wounds that your child so cleverly brings back to the surface.
When children push our buttons, test the limits, push back, take a stance, and we perceive all these behaviours as opposing our authority, we are making a mistake. Our perception is faulty. It is not about us, or about intentionally defying us with a nasty intention behind it. We are the ones who attribute a negative interpretation or intention behind these behaviours that push us over the edge at times, or make us so angry. If we make it about this, we miss the point.
When a child pushes our buttons, it is important to take a step back, breathe and think. Realize if your emotional reaction to this behaviour has its roots in your own past. Most likely yes. By realizing this, you can tone it down and be present to the here and now, and respond to your child, not from a place of pain related to past wounds, fear or guilt. Usually when you do this, the intensity of your emotions will be greatly reduced. This is the gift, because when you realize this, you will parent your child based on his or her needs and not based on a past that is not healed. And then, you are truly present to your child.
When we see the relationship as a mutual opportunity for growth and collaboration, we truly attend to the child’s needs more than to our own personal agenda, which can be steeped for example in not wanting to be like our parents, or with being obsessed with the fear that your child is running your life.
So parents, when you realize that your children are equal to you, and deserve the same respect that you require of them; when you realize that you, as well as they, need to grow up; when you realize that you can learn from them as much as they can learn from you, you will fuel their self esteem in a positive way. This will give them a sense of value and worth because they will not be made to feel less than you or inferior.