Am I supporting my children’s connection to their intuition, inner knowing, physical instincts, mental capacities, emotional truth, and personal authority?
To me this is the basis of my parenting and what the movements of unschooling, attachment parenting, and conscious parenting are all about. It’s my definition of what Robin Grille calls the “helping mode” of parenting.
And of course, while this sounds nice in theory, the challenges to it have been immense – both personal traits and social mores that support the attitude of “I know more than you do” and “Let me fix this for you.”
Years ago I had the chance to study with Josette and Ba Luvmour. Their child development model resonated deeply with me and is still supporting me as my children move through the different stages of their development. I have one child leaving the physical stage, one child smack dab in the middle of the emotional stage, and one child moving into the mental stage. So their needs and my questions and guidance to them is vastly different. And as they move into each new stage, so have I had to expand.
When my children were younger, supporting them was easier – they knew when they are hungry or thirsty or tired or cold or needing contact. My job was to meet those needs for them. That was the basis of attachment parenting for me – trusting and responding to their needs. It was tiring physically at times but pretty easy mentally. I trusted their needs.
As they got older and more verbal and their world expanded, this respect for their needs and instincts became more challenging. I tried to give them as much input as I could on their decisions but I’d still forget how much control I had over them.
I remember the first time my boy told me he didn’t want to do what I had scheduled for him that day. (It was a Kindermusik class or something similar.) Until then I had planned our time with outings or activities and never really thought about whether they’d want to do it. I assumed they would. His telling me no was a doorway into a world where my children had opinions about how they spent their time way beyond the next immediate 30 minutes.
And now I have entered the next world. One where my children’s intuition and inner knowing is becoming deeper, wiser, and broader and I need to step up my game in listening to them.
I’ve had several incidents in the last few months where my son told me something and I discounted him, saying “No, I’m sure that’s not how it is”. And I was wrong. His instincts were spot-on and I caused us both some heart-ache by not realizing this at first.
These experiences were a mixture of humility (I was wrong) and pride (he was right) and a sign of his moving into the teen years. It is indeed the next chapter of listening to my child.
Growing up, I never got the chance to be deeply listened to, to be asked my opinion and input, and to develop this connection with my intuition and mental capacities. As a result, I ended up defiant and head-strong and at the same time insecure and not trusting of myself. It’s taken many years and lots of work to soften those edges.
I still crave that space where I’m asked what do I think and what do I want and where I am given the time and space and respect to go inward for my answers. And as I give that space to my children, it brings me a deep satisfaction and insight into what’s possible when we do.
Photo by Kalen Emsley