Parenting Our Inner-Child

Here’s some food for thought: How we parent our children is a reflection of how we parent our own inner-child.

Whose child are you parenting? Consider this…

When we raise our voice at our children, we are engaging in a self-reflective loop…because our inner child is present in this interaction too.

Whoa, we are going in deep.  This week, I invite you to explore the self-reflective loop of parenting. This may be applicable to interactions with children in other roles as well – teaching, leading children in groups, and other roles of authority with children.

The following excerpt comes from Shefali Tsabury in “The Conscious Parent”:

Conscious parenting means that in our interactions with our children we ask, “Am I dealing with my child in an aware manner or am I being triggered by my past?” The focus is always on us as parents, requiring us to look within and ask, “What am I bringing to this relationship in this moment that is mine to own and not my child’s to receive?”

Here are some examples of the self-reflective loop:

  • When we are overly permissive with our children, perhaps we are not tending to the need for structure of our own inner child.

  • When we react angrily at our children for acting out, perhaps we are angry at our inner child for screwing up or behaving badly.

  • When we can’t tolerate our children’s behavior (you know, the child-like kind), perhaps we are not able to tolerate our own “inadequate” behavior or shortcomings.

  • When our child acts irresponsibly and we scold them harshly, perhaps we are criticizing ourselves / our inner child for not being “on top of it”.

Similarly….

  • Our willingness to extend compassion and patience to our children in times of stress reflects our willingness to extend that same compassion and patience to ourselves.

  • Our ability to respond with love to a child’s defiant behavior reflects our ability to love ourselves through our own protests/tantrums to life’s injustices.

  • Our capacity to forgive our children for mistakes and misbehavior reflects our ability to forgive ourselves when we screw up.

As parents, are we ever perfect? Nope.

Can we become a more conscious parent by observing our own reactions to our children? YES!

Parenting is a self-growth, deeply challenging, self-reflective process IF we are willing to engage in it. I don’t know about you, but I am dizzy from running into my own stuff as a parent. It is all right THERE. In my face. Smacking me sometimes, over and over again. We can attend to it, or we can ignore it and live unconsciously as parents. It can be painful to realize that the issues we are having with our children have any sort of reflection of ourselves.

Are we willing to look deeper?

Are we willing to stare into the self-reflection that is mirrored through interactions with our children?

How do you deal with what you find there?

Tsabary, S. 2010. The conscious parent. Vancouver: Namaste Publishing.