The most sacred relationship is that of a parent and child. It can never be severed and it can never end. It is ongoing and eternal, and because of this, we owe it to ourselves and our children, to learn how to create close, loving, and intimate relationships with them. Let’s take a look at what this means and how we can begin to manifest it.
As parents we are also adults, and this means that we can never expect a child to have the knowledge of how relationships work. Most of the work has to come from us. We as adults are suppose to have the resources to navigate and teach the child healthy habits. What happens though when we ourselves were not taught correctly? What happens when we come from a dysfunctional family that has left us with no appropriate parenting tools, let alone knowledge of what a healthy relationship looks like.
We automatically practice what we’ve been taught, without questioning it. It is in our nature as human beings. The only proof of damage we have is perhaps the trail of failed past relationships, or the pain we may be feeling when things aren’t working out in present relationships. Furthermore, the arguments and fights, the back talk we hear from our children and spouses can often feel unbearable, making us think that we have failed miserably in both areas. Although, these thoughts can feel very real, we don’t have to stay there. With every fail, there is a lesson and an opportunity for growth and correction. When we seize it, we can manifest change, the change we want.
What is the present state of your marriage? What is the present state of your relationship with your children? A lot of my clients come into my rooms with the intention of repairing their relationship with a child they haven’t spoken to in months or years. The child or parent, for their own reasons, have chosen not to speak to each other. It seems easy to allow years or months to go by without making the first move of picking up the phone, but the price to pay especially as a parent is great. The pain insufferable.
Let me help! The most important thing I had to learn as a parent myself, is never to take anything personally. This was a hard lesson for me to learn, given that as a child growing up, I was always told how sensitive I am and how I take everything too personally. I took this as a very negative character trait and carried it well into adulthood. So when my daughter one day, said the same thing to me, it didn’t sit well. Never did I expect to hear this from her and I felt unheard and disregarded, much like I did when I was young.
What I had to realize was, that first, these were my feelings (issues) and not my daughters. Secondly, in order to take full responsibility for my behavior and emotions I must first do the internal work of acknowledging my past trauma, my feelings, hurt and grief, (which always led back to childhood), then I could be ready to talk with my daughter without projection, and not before.
You see, if we do not do our own internal work, and come to some awareness and peace with our past, we project our issues onto our children making them their issues. A lot of what children feel and experience are their parents insecurities and not their own. Without their knowledge children tent to adopt and mimic their parents emotions and behaviors, so what we want is to lead by example in order to teach them healthy behaviors and healthy relationships and that begins with healthy and effective communication.
Taking responsibility for ourselves means speaking our truth. Speaking our truth means being vulnerable. We have to know what our needs are, verbalize them and acknowledge when they are not being met. It is never another’s responsibility to meet our needs but always our own. When we talk, we talk about ourselves using “I” statements instead of “you”. We talk about our feelings and our needs. An example goes something like this: “when you did this…. I felt like this … (angry, sad, hurt, rejected) because I need to feel this…(understood, accepted, respected..) etc.. In this way, we are taking full responsibility for ourselves, and this opens up the channels of communication and vulnerability. This is where true intimacy and connection can be experienced whether with your friend, child or partner. Their behavior, what ever it has been, doesn’t really matter! Yours however, does.
I talk a lot about acceptance in my work, this is because it is the key that enables us to be in the present, to be genuinely happy, and manifest genuine peace and healthy relationships. Whatever your experience is right now, accept it and let it be. Whether its anger, sadness, hurt, shame, or rage, acknowledge it and know that it is ok. Once you are able to do this, your struggle will end and you can begin to teach this to your children and others. The more we push against the current the harder it gets. Let go and let things be. This is the beginning of peace, serenity and true happiness. It is where change can begin to manifest. Its takes a lot of trial and effort, but in the end its oh so worth it!