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Parenting Beyond Our Concerns

Becoming a parent is one of the most beautiful and magical times in most people’s lives. Holding your child for the first time, seeing all their firsts, teaching them new things, and watching them grow and explore the world around them, there is really nothing to compare it to. It is also one of the most anxiety inducing experiences ever. For me it’s the experience of ripping your heart out of your chest, sticking it in another human being and having them walk around in life with it. When our children are young we have a lot of influence over the circumstances of their lives, where they go, what they are exposed to, the people they interact with, and their thoughts and feelings. As they grow older and move further out into the world, our ability to influence and protect them seems to lessen and sometimes it even competes with the influences of others like their friends and peer culture. 

In 2017, I participated in a group coaching session for parents where I really got to see that I was interacting with my son Keagan through my concerns for him versus being with him. Like every parent I had lots of concerns for my son, like the amount of time he played video games, how well he will do in school, will he grow up to be happy and successful, concerns for his physical wellbeing, and of course what parent doesn’t deal with, at some point in time, fears or anxieties about what other’s think about our parenting, or how good our kids are?  These concerns were always in the space between Keagan and I.  I would parent him through my concerns for him, which had nothing to do with him. What I discovered through that coaching session, was that those concerns all came from other people’s/societies standards for what it was to be a good parent, or have a good child. They weren’t even Keagan’s concerns. Once I got this, I was able to speak to my son so I could understand what was important to him, and what he wanted to work on in his life. 

Discovering this has created such freedom in my relationship with Keagan. I was able to give up my fears and anxieties for his future, I was able to take responsibility for my concerns and stop putting those on him. We have more fun in our relationship today, and I experience greater happiness, and joy in being a mom. 

What are your concerns for your children? How do those concerns frame your interactions with them? Take a few moments and reflect on your last conversations with them, what concerns were present in what you spoke about, or the way in which you spoke to them about it? When was the last time you were just present with your child? No teachable moments, no conversations about what they need to do or not do, just being with them? 

A wise man once said that we don’t create our families. If we thought our parents did a great job, we replicate it, or if we think they didn’t we do the opposite. What if you could choose to create your relationship with your children, your relationship with yourself as a mom or dad based on who you are now, not your past? Something I realized about children and adults a long time ago is that children and teenagers are almost too present, not seeing how repeated actions over time result in habits that might not serve them. Whereas adults spend so much time thinking or worrying about the future we are almost never present. These concerns and worries rob us of the true joy of being a parent which is experiencing life with our children.  I invite you to try and be completely present with your children and discover something new in your relationship with them. 

With love,

Amber Howard

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