the parenting partnership: you & your child

A holistic perspective on parenting.

Author’s note…

Let me just say at the outset of this article that most of what I have learned about parenting...I learned from my mistakes. I have written a book entitled “And so we dance.” The dedication of the book reads…

To my son and daughter, who would have taught me everything I needed to know, if only I had allowed them.

It is profoundly humbling to be a parent. You love them deeply, they drive you crazy, you drive them crazy, and you make mistakes. Many mistakes. Mistakes you carry with you always. I don’t mean you carry these mistakes with you as a form of self-inflicted suffering or punishment. I mean you willingly carry them forward with you as reminders of your humility, your humanity, and your fallibility.

I too, like all of you, carry my mistakes as a parent with me. But I have learned – powerfully – how to make those mistakes work for me in better serving my children now. I have learned to love them – and accept them – unconditionally. I have learned how to let go and allow them their own journey, with minimal and respectful interference on my part.

I have learned that the best way, the most “complete” way to love, honor, and respect them…is to allow them their own experience.

Though I may not always agree with their choices, I fully respect their right to choose. Their free will is inviolate – sacrosanct – to me.

It took some doing, but what changed me most profoundly as a parent was that I learned how to love me well. I learned how to create a life I love from within me, rather than from outside of me. I became an example of certainty, intimacy, and fulfillment. I started “being” a whole, healthy, evolving person. I realized that it's not about being a "good parent," it's about being a good person; modeling for your child how to become a good person.

In any event, this article is dedicated to my son and daughter, whom I am now able to love with my whole heart; a whole, healthy, open, and mature heart. So, to my son and daughter...thank you. I see you and I love you very much.

As you begin this article it may not seem as though it relates to parenting. Please persist and read on…

It is not up to any other person to provide you with happiness and fulfillment; not lovers, friends, parents, spouses, children, gurus, etc. They cannot “make you” happy. Just look at the phrase, “make you happy.” Indeed, if someone other than you is “making you” happy, they are, in a sense, doing so by force. They are pushing or pulling you to be happy. No one can "make you" happy. Moreover, if you really wanted to be happy, you would be making yourself happy. Period.

Someone else “making you” happy may work for a while, but eventually it becomes dysfunctional. You will deplete them, sabotage the relationship, or they will simply be baffled about the whole situation and give up in frustration and/or exhaustion.

So, in the end you will not be happy for long. Why? Because you must learn how to make you happy...from within.

You can believe that what society, your lover, or your mother says is happiness…is happiness. You can believe that happiness is created by all kinds of things from family and sacrifice, to lingerie and lipstick. But until you create and experience happiness and fulfillment from within yourself…you will not “know” happiness. Thus, no one can provide you with happiness, except you.

Energetically – from a physics perspective – our relationships are based on our shared magnetism (mind) and resonance (emotion) with one another. In other words, we physically cannot share - nor receive - what we do not possess.

Many people spend their whole lives pursuing happiness outside of themselves, only to discover at several different crossroads in their life – in particular the “middle age crisis” – that none of what they have pursued has provided lasting or sustainable happiness, enjoyment, or fulfillment.

Is that the experience you want to pass on to your children?

What if we raised our children to know how to create happiness and fulfillment from within themselves, rather than seeking it from - anyone or anything - outside of their self?

What if we were raised this way?

Would we be better parents?

Would we all be genuinely engaged in a process of creating happiness and fulfillment in our lives – and modeling for our children how to do so – rather than spending our lives pursuing happiness and fulfillment to no avail?

From a spiritual perspective the greatest gift we can give to our children is the ability to create, generate, and sustain happiness from within.

And, the most powerful way to impart this gift is in who we are being. People, including little people, always learn more from who you are being, rather than what you say or do.

Once again, it is simple physics. You are energy. You are composed of energy. And your energy (your electro-magnetic field) reacts and responds to all of the energies around you. So, a child who grows up with a parent(s) who loves their own self well, will undoubtedly benefit not only from what he/she sees the parent “doing," but also from how it feels to be around that parent. Who a parent is “being” profoundly impacts a child.

A parent with self-acceptance, self-worth, and self-love imparts that to a child by example. Sincerely, when you think about it, is there a better way to teach a child their own value than to have them hang out with a parent who genuinely values their own self? A parent who physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually cares well for their self and is creating a life they love...is an inspiration to any child.

Day in, day out, month after month, year after year, your child sees - and experiences - who you are and how you navigate your own life; how you navigate life itself. What could possibly have a greater impact on a child than this?

When a child lives with a parent/caregiver who is more often than not responsive, open, learning, and growing...that becomes the child's experience. From that experience the child comes to “know” what is possible for their own life. They are then prepared to readily draw from their own experiences – rather than from society, media, marketing, or even friends – to create a life of happiness and fulfillment for themselves.

Life is what we experience. Love is what we experience. What kind of experience do you want to provide for your child? Whatever that is, the best way to provide it...is to be it.

On the other hand, if a child is raised by a parent(s) who is reactive, controlling, manipulative, domineering – or passive – then that will be the child's experience. They will then model their own behavior - and their beliefs - on that experience. They will then build their own life believing that these behaviors will provide them with happiness, enjoyment, and fulfillment. Only to discover later, just like their parents, that authentic and sustainable enjoyment and fulfillment eludes them.

Quite simply, being a great parent is about being a great person. Seriously, what could be more impactful than showing your child - by your example - how to become a healthy, happy, well-balanced, mature, evolving adult?

How do you best teach that?

By how you actually live your life.

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by Kelly Grace Smith
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