Many parents feel powerless when it comes to their kids because they cannot get their kids to listen and do the things they want. What they do not realize is that there is so much unspoken power that they hold that they are forgetting to access. It is the power of nurturing a human being, and the kind of relationship we have with them, that will help define who they are and what they do for a lifetime.
As parents, we can get so hyper-focused on the behaviors that drive us crazy that we often miss the opportunity for teaching, character development, and intimate relationships. We often focus on what we see on the surface and miss the big picture; the qualities, characteristics, and life skills we want to nurture or influence in our child and the relationship we want to have with them. This is a huge missed opportunity.
As adults, if we are really conscious of who we are and what contributed to our own sense of self, we can always find a path back to our own relationship with our parents. In my work with parents, there is always a common theme that arises from our process of exploration that leads to questions like: “Who am I?” ” Do I matter?”, ” What am I worth?”, or “What is wrong with me?”. What I find, is that these questions are often related to a parent/child relationship that lacked intimacy, trust, safety, or unconditional love. It was that internalized voice that developed in early childhood that defined our sense of self. It is important to note, that voice inside us was not from a malicious parent that did not love their child. Many times, it was the voice of a loving parent who was parenting from his or her own place of fear, hurt or anger.
We need to own the role we play as parents who have a transformative power to change the world one relationship and one child at a time. I think the questions we really need to ask are, “What do we want our child’s internal voice to sound like?” and “What can I do as their parent to help them develop a voice with a sense of trust, confidence, and purpose?” The opportunities to influence this voice are boundless. They exist in the smallest moments, like when our child is brushing teeth, doing homework or chores, and getting ready in the morning, etc. We have the power in those thousands of moments to shape that internal voice that will stay with them for their lifetime.
It is time to wake up to the power we have as parents and focus our energy on who we are, what we bring to parenting. We must be aware of how we are influencing our child’s future through those small daily interactions. Our children will not only learn from us but can be transforming agents for us as human beings as well. Embrace the opportunities now and truly enjoy this person you have nurtured. There is so much possibility for each of us to grow!