Parenting is a very individual experience and one that many can struggle with as there are just so many ideals and beliefs on what a parent should look like and behave like.
There are also many parents who may make it look like everything is ‘all good’ on the outside but really you can feel that this may not always be the truth. Even writing on the subject of parenting felt like a topic that only certain people could possibly write about.
I have often thought that I was not a very good parent, but can today question this: by whose standards am I not enough? I can now clearly see how much I have compared myself to others, rather than really appreciating myself and my own experience of parenting.
I now know that I am a great parent and the evidence is in my child, but I’ve realised that I don’t need any set result to be a parent, I just need to be my true self.
Parenting is a very individual experience and one that many can struggle with, particularly if we let ourselves be run by the many ideals and beliefs on how the perfect parent should be. I know that I have had many pictures in my head about what the perfect parent should look like.
One thing is for sure, I am not perfect and parenting really has taught me so much and continues to do so every day, in so many ways. It has not been easy and there have been many times that I have wanted to give up and run away, but I am still here 12 years later and I can look back on those years and really appreciate how far I have come and all that I have to offer as a parent, not just to my child but to all children in my life.
I have learnt from my mistakes and have come to appreciate that as well as all the awesome choices I have made, and that is all that matters. We make mistakes, so what? What matters is how we deal with them and what we do next.
I am a single parent and have always used this fact to confirm to myself that I was somehow a victim, and that being a parent is so much harder for me, but the truth is, it really doesn’t matter whether you are single or not, it is how you choose to parent that matters most and that of course will depend on the individual child, as no two children are the same or need the same life teachings.
I used to think that it was hard as I was alone in this role of raising a child and everything depended on me, and if anything went wrong, or if my child made the wrong choices, it would be all my fault. How wrong was I!
First of all, to even think that I am the only person in my child’s life and her only influence is just crazy. I used to keep us separate from others without realising, and these days I have turned that around.
I now choose to let us be part of other people’s lives and ask for support when I need it. I used to think that asking for support meant that I was a failure, but realised that was just a belief I wasn’t aware of.
What this has allowed me to see is that we are never alone and that we are part of a much bigger family, and that there is so much support there for us. It is amazing to recognise the impact this has on our lives.
Recently we celebrated my daughter’s 12th birthday and I decided to have a family dinner, as she didn’t want a party. It was very special as when thinking of who her family was, I had to invite quite a lot of people.
The concept of family just being blood related is so restrictive and we all miss out with that kind of thinking. We used to think our family was just my daughter, myself and my dad, but this family gathering had 4 mothers, 2 fathers, 3 grand parents, an uncle and aunt and 6 siblings.
How much we share and let others support us really is up to us. I no longer choose to be a single parent and go it alone.
I have also seen my responsibility as a parent does not only include my own child, but all children in my life equally, as they are all equally important. This does not mean I have to control other children but, rather than leave things to their mum or dad to sort out, I can talk to anyone’s children and bring their awareness to what’s going on. I can also encourage them and confirm them in ways that perhaps another cannot. If we all express our special qualities and what comes naturally to us and share this with others, we all benefit.
Another big belief that I have had is that everything that my child chooses is my fault. I have come to realise and accept that I am here as a role model and as a reflection, but it is up to my child and other children in my life to make their own choices.
It is not my right to try to control or need things to be a certain way. I’ve realised that I have no right to try to coerce my child to excel in a certain area of school because I might need that for my own recognition. It is also not my place to get in the way of her life and to fix things for her, otherwise she will not learn from her own choices and consequences. This has been a big lesson for me to learn and to surrender to – and one that I am still working on as I become more and more aware of my tendency to want things to be a certain way.
One thing that I am really learning about these days is my responsibility as a parent. I can honestly say that I have been through and trialled a few different parenting approaches and one that didn’t work at all was the ‘laissez-fair’ approach, which translates into just letting children do their own thing. I also tried the ‘no boundaries’ approach and let my daughter be a ‘free spirit’, but I am still dealing with the consequences of that today.
I’ve learnt that what does work for me is consistency, and boundaries are a loving thing to have in place as children then have a solid concept of what is okay and what is not.
I used to need my child to like me and to be my friend, but because of this I was so easily manipulated into doing things that I didn’t want to do, or I allowed myself to be walked over. Through realising how damaging that was I have now stopped imposing myself on my child. She is not here to make me feel enough, or so I can be identified by her.
We are both here together to learn from each other, and we are equal, but as her parent I am here to show her by example rather than say one thing and live another. I am here to support and guide her but not control her. I am here to be me so that she can see that just being herself is enough and that she doesn’t have to do anything to be someone, as she is already amazing as she is.
By Rosie Bason
Re-claiming the Responsibility of Being a Parent
Parenting from the Heart
Building true relationships and positive parenting
I am very imperfect in parenting but I appreciate myself as often as possible in being a parent. Every day I am learning more and more what being a parent means. It has highlighted for me how parenting is a responsibility that comes even before the conception of the baby happens. This is an
awareness which I did not have back then and with that I have delayed even more the returning of being true to my child, by the debilitating emotions of guilt. Which when seen in the big picture of learning in life, every step of the process means something and contributes to the next step. Being a parent is the area which reflects back truth to me always.
And there is such a simplicity in this. Inspired by our hearts as headquarters, we can relinquish the agony of trying to get things right by some set of ideals (which often change) about how we should do things.
Thank you for this article, Rosie, a clear confirmation that it is in the way we live that we support, guide, nurture and teach our children and that well spoken words without the examples in what we do, are actually empty rules with which our children can rebel.
Gorgeous Rosie, I love how you parent not from a point of ‘raising a child’ to be something that they weren’t already before, but expanding who they are and supporting them to stay themselves out in the world… And yes you’re absolutely correct – we can offer this support to ALL children not just our own.
Consistency is something I have had to learn first for myself and then to share in my parenting. Still something I am working on… oh another imperfection! But when I do have it, I can feel the support and solidness that it brings.
You said it so well Rosie at the start of this piece when you said: I just need to be my true self. The importance of this goes way deep because with every step that you are you, your child learns that it is safe and normal to be themselves too. Even in the supermarket with children who we do not know, they are always observing and even if it is just a glance, the message remains – you can be yourself in this world.
Rosie, thank you for sharing your experience of parenting, I find this article really helpful, I can feel at the moment that as my son is growing he is wanting to take more responsibility and to make his own choices, I can feel there is a temptation to let him make all his own choices and to completely step back, but actually as a parent this also does not feel right and that having boundaries feels loving and supportive as you say here, ‘I’ve learnt that what does work for me is consistency, and boundaries are a loving thing to have in place as children then have a solid concept of what is okay and what is not.’
One thing I have learnt and live is the parenting and mothering is an energy first, well before we have children and we don’t need to have children of our own to live this.
“How much we share and let others support us really is up to us.” So true and when we do open up to that support life shows us how we are not alone but in fact part of a greater family that supersedes bloodlines.
Hi Rosie, I like the point you have made about when you have an agenda or a need this leaves an opening for manipulation. This resonates very strongly for me and is applicable in all our interactions
It is a great point that Rosie makes how as parents we can be so easily manipulated into doing something we don’t want to. Children will at times try it on and they know just how to do it but I am learning to be true to me when this happens. When I slip up and put their needs before mine I know I have an investment, a need, an attachment that needs to be looked at and let go of so that my relationship with my three children is true and a healthy one. I know the fear of losing them is a big one for me… there is much for me to ponder on here.
I have been looking at my investments just this week and realise that I have a lot of them with different people and it is a complete setup and isn’t good for anyone. On one level it is imposing on them and on another level it can leave me frustrated as they are not living up to what I believe is their potential or to the image I think they should be. Once I started to be aware of my investments with one person, I started to be really honest I realised that I have them with lots of people.
Beautiful words Rosie about saying ‘so what’ to our mistakes. Because essentially they do not ultimately define us as the people we are or the parents we have become, they are simply lessons along the way, and like you say, it is not the mistake, or the lesson, itself that matters but what choices we make thereafter. This is a very loving approach not only to ourselves but also to our children, because then they get to learn about learning from mistakes and how this is an integral part of human life, and how this is in fact love.
In thinking about ‘so what to our mistake’ I have noticed lately, and it’s not pretty…. that at times I can focus on the what is not, and focus on the mistake and give it so much attention and make it so much bigger than what it is. It’s almost addictive yet I don’t focus on the what is amazing, the moment of connection, the beautiful moments. They don’t seem to take the front stage, they don’t get the same amount of attention and that is something I have been working on changing. Where do I put my thoughts and my energy. I don’t want to waste it on the mistakes, I want to invest it on the beautiful moments, confirm them and appreciate them and allow more space for them on the centre stage of my life.
We often parent in response or reaction to how we ourselves were parented. As children the foundation of family life is love and this is includes love for oneself and for each other. Children appreciate loving boundaries – even when they try to push the boundaries to make sure they are still there!
The Way of the Livingness as presented by Serge Benhayon is the foundation for humanity to reconnect to the inner hearts and to truly evolve… Along the way such fundamental processes such as parenting are naturally addressed, as when one has a relationship of such depth with oneself, then the dreadful fog of confusion that is around how to be a good parent clears, and we are able to have a totally different experience of parenting.
Ah yes, that dreadful fog of confusion along with all the doubts and what ifs. It is great to be free of it and I know it well and sometimes I even revisit it and and then… remember… to come back to me.
To ascertain the veracity of a teaching, look at what is taught in relation to parenting… for this is where true wisdom is needed
“I’ve learnt that what does work for me is consistency, and boundaries are a loving thing to have in place as children then have a solid concept of what is okay and what is not”.
This is so true Rosie, consistency and lovingly following through is the key to children learning what is healing and harming for themselves and others.
This should be part of a must-read 101 on parenting Rosie, to raise our children to be responsible and responsive to the bigger world out there without losing who they are in the process, is quite something. WE need more of this understanding and appreciation for what a parent can truly offer.
So much is lost or tainted when we impose ideals about parenting and in doing so don’t appreciate that we can learn from our children. It is so important to appreciate they are already enough and remind them of this so they grow up not needing to be anything they are not.
What an important subject to bring to the table for discussion Rosie, there are so many limiting ideals, beliefs and images of how we ‘should’ be as a parent, this can be quite a problem in itself.
As parent I found myself caught in ideals and beliefs of how our children would be or become as an adult, but I have learned that that was a false way of parenting and that it is actually about building intimate and evolving relationships in which there is no push to any outcome or idealistic picture but a freedom to be who you are and to bring that to the world in your own and unique way.
“I’ve realised that I don’t need any set result to be a parent, I just need to be my true self.” Our true selves is what our children love the most – they can read the dishonesty when we aren’t ourselves, when we act from ideals and beliefs…and they feel the loving truth we offer when we are our true selves.
Reading this blog again I’ve realised that we are really guides for our children in that we offer them a reflection of how we can be in life, and how life can be, and it is totally up to them as to how they then choose their life to be.
And at times our children don’t like the reflection that they see and they react, and in those moments its up to me to morph and change so they like me or just stay steady with what feels right for me.
As I continue to let go of the images of what a parent should do or be… it becomes a much more simple role of reflecting back to them what I feel, and connecting and expressing the essence of who I am. After all that is all I want for them – to express themselves in full in a world that is sorely in need of it.
As I read your comment Simon I thought of being the child and how I have always just wanted to been seen for the essence I am and accepted as that. If we as parent have images and impose them on our children, we are essentially saying that they are not enough just as they are.
“I can now clearly see how much I have compared myself to others, rather than really appreciating myself and my own experience of parenting.” Absolutely Rosie, I have found that the more i appreciate myself the ideals and pictures of what a parent should look like dissolve and I have begun to trust, action and express my instincts, which allows for greater equality and understanding in my relationship with my children.
Love this blog Rosie, – ‘I’ve realised that I don’t need any set result to be a parent, I just need to be my true self.’ There are so many concepts around parenting that ultimately destroy the true relationship we can have wiht our kids .
“I have learnt from my mistakes and have come to appreciate that as well as all the awesome choices I have made, and that is all that matters.” That is indeed, all that matters.
The pictures of how parenting should be are very harming, in my experience, when I bought into them, the relationship between myself and my child suffered greatly. For children are great in exposing what feels true. One example is the term “single parent” conjures feelings that we are doing it alone, and that it is hard, and this belief confines parents who raise children on their own within an inferior insufficiency, which is not true to begin with.–as we know when we feel that there is a connection between people, all people. Even if we have never felt that, if we become honest, we simply know it is impossible to do parenting alone, and therefore simply by honestly asking for help, we have opened back into the truth that parenting is never a closed blood family thing, and also the truth that in fact there is support everywhere around us. Every “single” parent have the power to live the truth of what is true brotherhood.
As parents we are not looking to be good, but responsible and true. This requires patience and acceptance towards ourselves as well as to our children. One of the downfalls I have experienced in parenting is to judge myself when the expectation I have of the growth of my child is not the same as his expectation, and thus I judge that I have failed and that he is not responsive. Having a picture and expectation of what parenting looks like takes me away from being true. When I let go of how parenting should look like, it changes everything about parenting for me—as it drops expectations and I can then look at each moment to see if it feels complete, if it does not, then I would go back and work it out. The working out also does not have a picture to follow, therefore, the expression only needs to feel complete on my part, to allow my child to have space to make his own choices.
One of the reasons I have always given for not having children is that I never wanted to be a single parent because I knew how hard it was. I now can see this is a concept I created and could see that had I indeed had children I would have kept people away, been so ‘protective’ and wanted all the recognition for hardship and taking the credit for any successes – a whole concoction of unloving beliefs and ideals – I’m the parent so all the child’s choices would have been my fault/ my doing: irresponsible responsibility. Parenting is with us all everyday and it’s so beautiful to be knowingly part of this big family.
I have learnt to embrace the calm waters and the rough seas and not make one better than the other, and to accept that there is both. Not trying to change or need it to be anyway helps.
When it comes to parenting I am often like a ship out to sea, riding along on the waves being tugged and tossed about as the needs take me from one dilemma to the next. And then there are these golden moments, when all the waters are clear and there is but a mere ripple on the surface, it is in these times that I cherish the most what I have, that I pour as much appreciation as I possibly can on to myself, my children and the life we have together, because when things get rough again I know that we will have this beautiful time to fall back on.
‘I am here to be me so that she can see that just being herself is enough and that she doesn’t have to do anything to be someone, as she is already amazing as she is.’ This is all parenting and every other ing I can think of needs to be, when ‘we are ourselves we give others permission to be themselves’ (Teachers Are Gold) and that is everything.
My only daughter speaks about all her sisters and brothers and her mums and dads, this has come from her it’s not a concept or idea of what life should be like but rather really what she feels in her heart, her close friends are her siblings and she knows brotherhood with all of humanity like the back of her hand it is in her and it is beautiful to witness this and learn from her.
Well said Rosie, ‘I am here to be me so that she can see that just being herself is enough and that she doesn’t have to do anything to be someone, as she is already amazing as she is.’
I was considered far too outspoken as a child too. Some people didn’t like when I spoke and exposed everything and for a long time I shut down so that I didn’t upset anyone but that has all changed since I realised that I have a lot to share and it is okay to speak up. In fact, it is so important that we speak up. When we speak up, we inspire others to speak up and it is through open communication that things can change.
And yes, we all learn from one another no matter peoples’ age, ‘We are both here together to learn from each other’.
Being a part of family gives us the opportunity to express our love towards people and to have that love appreciated as the person that you are. This is non exclusive and family can be whatever you want or need it to be. It is the expression that counts.
The best part about parenting for me, is how it is as much about the very practical functionalities of life as it is about the sacred and the divine. Because ultimately, parenting is about people. And as much as we have to learn how to live, how to take care of ourselves and eachother, we can also learn about the essence of who we are and the divinity that lives therein.
With parenting I have learnt and am still learning to let go of all the images and pictures of how I think and thought things should be.
If we make life about victimhood, through parenting we will find a way to become victims as well.