Hello and Happy New Year!
You may have noticed that I haven’t written anything here for quite some time. Well, there is a very good reason for that; I’ve been very sneaky and went off and had a baby, Emma, who was born on the 20th October last year. With the constraints of having two children, aged 9 and 7 plus a newborn baby… you get the picture!
So, I thought it would be nice, given my renewed status of mother to a young baby, to talk a little about the Three Principles and Parenting with Wisdom and I would like you to go along with a little experiment with me, which is to throw away the parenting rulebook.
The parenting rulebook is full of “should” and “must”. Because we love our children, we have expectations for them, we want to see them grow well, be healthy and to achieve a successful career in order for them to be sheltered from future need… We want to keep our children safe, which, to my way of thinking, is very natural.
The problem is that we invent the Parenting Rulebook around our children and everything goes in it from how to behave in company to how they should hold their knives and forks. We have everything defined down to the minutest detail about how our children “should” behave and how we “must” react to that behaviour.
Unfortunately, we are forgetting one important factor with regards to these made-up rules – and that is our own, and our children’s own, states of mind. Now, if we’re in a very high state of mind, we are in the flow, everything seems to be hunky-dory and just is, then our children’s “bad” behaviour is, in fact, going to “bother” us less than if we are in a low state of mind.
The other element that we tend to forget is that, thought being fluid, we can change our mind about the rules at any given moment.
To give you an example of this: a recent client of mine came to me initially for coaching on relationship issues and in the course of our conversation together she got on to speaking about her children, telling me about how her 11 year old son who refuses, point blank, to eat with his knife and fork in the “proper hands” (fork in the left hand and knife in the right hand) Her “complaint” about that was that when should would tell her son off, he would reply that he was “more comfortable” eating that way. But my client was getting herself into a low state of mind over this, thinking things like, “how will he ever be able to eat in company if he doesn’t eat properly?” “What’s going to happen if he eats so badly with his boss when he’s grown up? He’ll get the sack!”
Now, where I could see that her worries were coming from a place of love, it also seemed to me that she was taking things to a bit of an extreme, with my client shouting at her son to “make an effort to learn how to do it properly”, with the little boy being sent from the table, being given lines, etc. The problem for my client was that she was feeling really bad about punishing her son and they were both pretty unhappy with the whole deal.
We talked about thought and how our thoughts are different according to the state of mind that we find ourselves in and how, when we pay less attention to our thinking and listen more for that little voice of Wisdom within, then very often we can come up with other solutions, solutions that are more gentle and more in line with who we really are at heart, more in line with love that we have for our children. We also spoke about the fact that, simultaneously with our changing level of consciousness, so do our thoughts change and thus we can change our minds.
We left it there, but several weeks later during one of our sessions, she came back to this telling me that she had had a new thought around this “problem”. She told me that, as she was parking her car one day, she realized that she would always reverse park into a space on her right-hand side and would actually search out such a place for parking, for the simple reason that she was “more comfortable”. It then dawned on her that it was exactly the same thing for her son feeling “more comfortable” with his way of holding his knife and fork while eating.
And in the same manner as it was of no importance whether she parked on the left or the right, it suddenly dawned on her that it might not have any importance which hands her son held his cutlery in. She went as far as to say “even if he does have a big business meeting someday, his boss is going to be listening to what he says, looking out for the quality of his work, not watching to see how he holds his knife and fork”.
The deeper insight that she had around this, was that at any given moment she can change her mind, and this has brought her a great sense of relief and peacefulness; the beautiful news is that she is “getting on” much better with her son because they have dropped the meal-time battle.
As a more personal example: I used to be a great fan of Supernanny, you know the English type nanny who visits families and fixes all of the children’s behavioural problems. She arrives in the household with her list of written rules and implements them with the family and, lo and behold!, the children start behaving themselves “better”.
In a recent episode, she was dealing with a family with two little girls who were particularly “turbulent”. Now, I’m not saying that it’s a good thing to allow our children to do whatever they like, there are safety issues involved if your child runs off down the street or disappears in a supermarket. But in this particular episode, even Supernanny was at a loss for how to deal with one of the little girls who was extremely agitated and didn’t want to go to sleep. The solution Supernanny came up with was to remove one by one all of the soft toys from this little girl’s bed. The child bawled her eyes out throughout the whole process and eventually calmed down and went to sleep.
As it so happened, that same evening I’d been listening to Deepak Chopra’s “Magical Mind, Magical Body” and he had been speaking about the biggest organ of the human body, the skin. Specifically, he spoke about massaging feet and said that if we have a particularly agitated child, massaging their feet is a good way of helping them calm down and that they may even fall asleep during the massage. The following morning my husband was leaving for work in Paris and my two elder children were really quite agitated and so I massaged their feet… they went from an agitated to state to almost a trancelike state, thus they eventually calmed down and went to sleep.
Now, I’m not saying that Supernanny is wrong and that I’m right. I’m not saying that having some “rules” is not necessary. But, what’s important, for me, for my client, for Supernanny, and for you too, is to follow your own Wisdom, which will always come up with a good solution.
As we say in France, all roads lead to Rome but some of the roads are rough and bumpy and others are smooth, it just depends on which road you wish to find yourself on. And, if you’re not sure which road you’re on at any given moment, it’s enough to look to the quality of your thinking, which will indicate your level of consciousness in that moment.
And all I know is that when I’m in a very low level of consciousness, a low state of mind, then I have less access to Wisdom and vice versa, when in a high level of consciousness I have more access to Wisdom…
Wisdom, coming from a place of love, is, in the end, more likely to have a positive effect on our children and, ultimately, we have more chance of seeing those expectations we have for our children unfold very naturally, and our desire to keep our children safe is assured because we are offering them a sense of security through Wisdom and through Love.
Something to mull over this weekend and why not give a try at throwing out the Parenting Rulebook over the next couple of days to see how your Wisdom plays in and how that shapes up.
The next few articles may be a little sporadic; I hope you will be patient with me and in the meantime,
Much Love… and Wisdom,