Digging Deep is honored to work with guest authors contributing their voices and their expertise to this blog. Following is a post written by early childhood educator and Child Life Specialist Evieann Barber. Learn more about Evieann and her work at her site, HealingNectarArts.com, where you can find resources bridging the gap between parents and children!
Remember when you were a child? Think back to a time in your childhood and remember a moment or event that made you happy! What were you doing? Who were you with? Relive it again now. Bring in your five senses to this memory. What do you feel, see, hear, touch or taste? How does this experience make you feel? Remember?
I believe every parent wants to do the best they possibly can at raising their child or children. A parent at the basic core of their being wants to have a happy, fulfilling and loving relationship with their child. But what does this look like on a daily basis? How do parents achieve this ideal when they are busy balancing their own lives with its own demands, expectations and realities? How during these times of great uncertainty and change can parents hold onto ways of being compassionate and caring?
If you are curious and interested in ways for you to improve your relationship with your child and to enhance your present parenting skills, then becoming a more compassionate parent may be of importance to you.
I have been an early childhood educator for over thirty years and a certified child life specialist since 2012. Through my relationships with children and families I realize qualities and attributes about parents, caregivers and their children:
- Parents are doing the best they can at the given time.
- A situation approached with compassion has a far greater chance for a healthy resolution.
- A child’s world is magical and the more we come to know, accept and embrace our own inner child from our childhood, the better we are able to understand our own child.
“YOU NEED NOTHING BUT TO ACCEPT YOUR CHILD EXACTLY AS THEY ARE RIGHT NOW. (READ AGAIN) …BREATHE…”
When we work harder to change a situation or a person based on our agenda, it is an uphill battle. When we decide to accept and adjust to a situation, it allows possibilities and choices and a variety of outcomes to explore. To do this in practical everyday situations it means to begin a life-long practice in observing oneself and one’s own:
*Resolve and validation
In any given situation you may have with your child, it is important to consider the above by first stopping your emotional agenda. STOP and PAUSE. (Never underestimate the POWER of the pause).
It is challenging at best to address and achieve an optimal resolution when emotions are in control and reacting overrides responding. We want to be able to come from a place of Hopefulness, Kindness and Trust in oneself and another.
A person who is aware of their own level of happiness, emotional ease, and wellbeing is better able to learn to maintain, continue, and sustain healthy and happy relationships with others. Observing one’s own behavior with compassionate curiosity offers opportunities to begin to make positive changes and healthier outcomes.
At times the parent’s ideas or expectations are not being achieved. If the situation is causing the parent dissatisfaction, worry or stress, they still may remain attached to it. A patterned reaction to a situation that causes discomfort can be comfortable to oneself even though it does not produce a desirable result. Habits can be hard to break and “unpattern” as we get use to our own repetitive behaviors. When a parent’s expectations of the child are not being met, there is a moment when one can see signs that show feelings of frustration or emotional distress. Remember if your goal is to have as many happy moments with your child as possible, it is essential to be self-aware of one’s own state of happiness at any given time.
Gateways to being a more… “Compassionate Parent”:
- Respect yourself, respect your child.
- Kindness is contagious.
- Little is more.
- Pause…a powerful tool.
- What is the goal you both share?
- Where is your laughter moment?
- Be in the moment…notice your surroundings.
- Say “this too shall pass” to gain perspective.
Beginning with one’s self is an essential key to understanding and addressing issues with a child. As adults, we must value and honor this responsibility and “respond” to the children in our care with authentic, relevant, and respectful ways. As we begin to use this approach and think critically about our reactions with our children, then we create opportunities to make meaningful change and impact our relationships with them.
Digging Deep accepts guest posts on many topics from a wide range of experts, patients, health care practitioners, and others who work with sick children and teens. We welcome your perspectives and stories to share regarding ways to support the emotional needs of children with health challenges and the families and professionals who support them. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be a guest blogger.