I have lived with and raised my son on my own for the majority of the last 8 of the 11 years of his life and have been learning that the responsibility of being a parent is not what I first thought it was.
My Son and I and Being a Parent
In the beginning, the relationship between my son and I was based on need. One of the reasons I became a mother was because I thought having a child would ease the constant loneliness I felt as a human being. Therefore, with the birth of my son, I proceeded to construct a life between us that protected what was my ‘ideal of love’.
For me being loved meant being understood; therefore whenever I felt I was not understood, I would use this as an excuse to isolate from the world and focus entirely on making the relationship with my son to be everything that I needed.
Instead of taking up the responsibilities of being a parent, I would make sure no conflicts existed between us; I would pander to all my son’s demands and more often than not, fulfill them. Indeed the relationship between my son and I seemed harmonious on the surface because he would always get what he wanted.
For example, I would let him have his dinner while watching TV, so there was no true communication every time we ate, or I allowed him to indulge in excessive video game playing because I had to work, even though this made him aggressive and bad tempered. I would go all out in all ways to appease any potential conflict.
Even though I knew that a lot of the choices he made did not support his true well-being, I still allowed them because then I did not have to deal with his explosive emotions of not getting what he wanted. This created a very destructive cycle of behaviour between us.
There was no true harmony within our relationship or in being a parent, as I needed my son to fit into my way of life and offer me company. Very soon he knew he could ask me for anything because of what my needs were. I started to realise that the relationship between my son and I was no different from any close relationship I have had with others, especially with men.
However, eventually the grief of filling another’s demands at the expense of myself could no longer be ignored. The pain of ignoring how I truly felt in many everyday situations and not expressing my truth got too immense. Every single day I was living with a deep sadness that would explode into crying episodes once in a while. I was never completely free from this grief, no matter what I tried.
Taking Self Responsibility: Building a True Relationship with my Son
The blinding force of my ‘ideal of love’ slowly dropped away through a very deep level of honesty and self-responsibility that was re-introduced into my life. With the support of Universal Medicine, taking self-responsibility became the turning point in my life, in my patterns of behaviour and in the way I parented. Subsequently I have started to live (rather than escaping from) what I always felt deep inside of me and what my heart has always known. That is:
The heart simply knows that true love is not from need, and without true love, there can be no true relationship.
It was very exposing and painful to admit initially that I had never lived a truly loving relationship with myself. This in turn affected my relationship with not only my son and the way I parented him, but with everyone.
The foundation of any true relationship begins with the responsibility of living who we are, rather than living in a way we think we ‘should be’.
The committing to self-responsibility and true love has changed many of the momentums and patterns of behaviour that were controlling my life. After eleven years of being a mother I have finally become a truly responsible parent, without perfection. There is a freedom with this that I had never experienced before; less rules, less control, rarely raising of my voice or hardening of my body when speaking, but also no holding back in expressing lovingly what is truly felt.
For example, even when I feel I sometimes react to my son blaming me for something that he feels I’m responsible for, I can now stop myself and not take it personally or judge him or myself for this. Remembering how much I love him allows me to go to a deeper understanding of him and his situation. With that I hold him in true love. He in turn feels that acceptance and understanding and often surprises me by letting go and returning to being his true loving self.
I have found that the true responsibility of being a parent eventually comes back to our relationship with ourselves first and then with others. How truly honest, open and loving a relationship is between parents and children will influence how our children are in their relationships as adults throughout their lives.
My son used to always say when he was younger: “Mommy I love you more than you can ever imagine.” Now I realise the truth of this sentence and what a true relationship is. What I also realise is, when true love is our commitment – and remembering that our patterns of behaviour are not who we are – then not only how I love my son, but how I am in relationship with all others is more than I could have ever imagined.
Inspired by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine for forever opening and deepening my knowing and living of the true love that I am.
By Adele Leung, Fashion stylist/Art director, Hong Kong
Related Reading, Building True Relationships and Responsible Parenting
‘I would make sure no conflicts existed between us; I would pander to all my son’s demands and more often than not, fulfill them. Indeed the relationship between my son and I seemed harmonious on the surface because he would always get what he wanted.’ When we come at relationships from a need, we fail to recognise the abuse we allow. Without words we pick up on what is in truth communicated. Here, your son would have felt he could do anything and would have had power over you… all he would have had to have done was react to any demand you may have made for him to have had everything his way – the power to be manipulated handed over on a so called platter! What we are teaching our kids here is so insidious, quite apart from what we are teaching them about relationships, roles and what it means to be male and female.
We are constantly learning how to embrace our inner authority in our life and relationships, and this can’t but be achieved by loving ourselves first
Self Responsibility is the foundation for any true relationship.
Learning to parent ourselves is a lesson for parenting our children.
And the reflection of how we parent ourselves can then inspire them as they grow up and become parents themselves.
“The foundation of any true relationship begins with the responsibility of living who we are, rather than living in a way we think we ‘should be’.” Love this Adele so so important and something that for many of us serves as a great reminder.
This is the cornerstone of any relationship, for what kind of relationship with others are we having if we are first not at ease and at home with who we are? When we can appreciate in full the essence of what we bring, express how we are feeling, set standards for ourselves for what is loving and true, honour and nurture ourselves and ensure that this quality is not compromised, the rest takes care of itself.
Adele, I love this; ‘I have finally become a truly responsible parent, without perfection. There is a freedom with this that I had never experienced before; less rules, less control, rarely raising of my voice or hardening of my body when speaking, but also no holding back in expressing lovingly what is truly felt.’ This is very inspiring and makes me realise that I can harden my body and raise my voice and how harmful and upsetting this is for myself and my son. It is beautiful that we do not need to do this.
A beautiful lesson in parenting.
Adele, I love this; ‘ less rules, less control, rarely raising of my voice or hardening of my body when speaking, but also no holding back in expressing lovingly what is truly felt.’ I have felt how destructive and harmful it is when I harden my body and speak, I am learning to be firm but not allow anger or frustration to take over because this is deeply upsetting for everyone involved.
There’s nothing like our closest relationships to reflect back to us our deepest insecurities and our ideas of what love is, vs what it truly is about. There is so much that we can learn from one another, and what maximises this potential is our own foundation of self love, which supports us to see and feel more of what’s actually going on, without reacting to it.
All relationships start with the relationship we have with self, are we truly loving and honouring of ourself in all situations, ‘It was very exposing and painful to admit initially that I had never lived a truly loving relationship with myself. This in turn affected my relationship with not only my son and the way I parented him, but with everyone.’
It also occurs to me that we need to perhaps reclaim the responsibility of being a human being – and what that really means and looks like – then with that reclaimed responsibility perhaps everything in our lives would look different – work, parenting, relationships.
I love this line: “How truly honest, open and loving a relationship is between parents and children will influence how our children are in their relationships as adults throughout their lives.” It’s true that parenting is such a massive responsibility, how we parent will effect another human being for the rest of their lives. And you are definitely correct that the responsibility begins with us, kids learn much more from what they see us do or how we are than from what we say or the instructions we give. If we don’t deal with our stuff and we are not attempting to live a joyful, open, loving, deeply caring life – that is what is shaping the future of our kids.
Realising how irresponsible and loveless our actions have been and how much of a lie we have been living whilst thinking it is the truth can be confronting but in this day and age we do not need to do penance and try and ‘pay back’ for all our ill doings. We can simply nominate, renounce and let it go by realising it was not truly us doing that in the first place.
It is beautiful to read a blog from a parent who is honest enough to say that they needed to build a true relationship with their child.
So beautiful to read Adele thank you for sharing, I can relate to the harmonious but pandering relationship you had with your son, this way I have lived with my children so as to avoid conflict, but there was no true love as I did not know how to love myself at the time, and so my love was needy. Knowing what I know and have experienced now of what true love really is I would parent so differently.
For me working on the relationship I have with myself and taking loving care of me to the best of my ability has supported me to become more responsible in the rest of my life including the way I am as a parent.
What I feel is important in this is not getting caught up in the reactions or demands of another but always holding true and steady in honouring our truth. This may not look smooth or ‘pretty’ initially but it allows things to surface, become more real and in time more true.
Life is all about responsibility – our soul impulses us like a loving parent showing a child what is next. But do we obey and enjoy or fight and ignore? And if so is it any wonder that our kids do the same? It seems to me Adele that accepting our responsibility to honour what’s true is the key to life and all we do.
Parenting our-self back to the child like love that your son was sharing with you Adele, is key on our journey back to the divine love we all are.
I have to be responsible for being the love that I am before sharing it with another/others. Thanks for the reminder Adele.
When a commitment to true love is made we are given all to sustain that. What I love and have experienced is responsibility is shown i.e. I am responsible for any tension. I am responsible for loving me. I am responsible for appreciating myself. I am responsible for bringing all of me knowing there is always more to bring. Therefore I cannot ever blame any other for how they are with me – I am responsible.
This is a great sharing on true responsibility and how in expressing what we feel is not love we are in truth being love. It is from here we see how our self loving ways then come into play and holds us all as one. Simply awesome.
No matter what you do, say or even think you cannot “do” love. Yes you can make it look like everything you do is in fact loving but it will not be unless it is coming from the heart and not from our needs, desires or wishes.
So true Joshua, our inner-heart holds the key to our divine connection.
Sometimes we have all these pictures of what we think love is but often these can be pandering or not true love. True love is not giving in to a child because it is easier, it is about connecting to what is needed in each moment and being prepared to express that regardless of the consequences. The more love you have in your body, the more love and understanding that comes with this.
“The foundation of any true relationship begins with the responsibility of living who we are, rather than living in a way we think we ‘should be’.
The committing to self-responsibility and true love has changed many of the momentums and patterns of behavior that were controlling my life.” These words have struck a deep resounding cord in me. If we stop periodically and survey our lives it will support us to clearly see the unhealthy patterns and behaviors. These are designed to keep us from the love that we truly are. I appreciate how the innocence of a child can support us to re-connect to our own innocence and therefore re-connect to our own true essence. Children bring many blessings to the world.
This blog is packed to overflowing with so much grace and wisdom about parenting.
When we put conditions on love it will never live up to our expectations and thus will always leave us feeling empty and unfulfilled.
The way I parent has change immensely over the years since coming into contact with Universal Medicine. Much of what you have shared Adele is what I am continuously working on. For me it’s been a learning of what true love is for another. Learning that being responsible in calling out and putting a stop to situations that are energetically harmful regardless of the kid’s reaction. One thing that came to me the other day was how my kids are actually asking me to do this for them. When they are out of control or more so when they are being controlled by an energy that is not of their essence we are there to help them come back and call a stop to the momentum. In this there is a safety they feel, it’s like we have their back, always watching and observing when they need support to come back to their divinity.
There are so many great points here Adele, but I particularly love that it’s impossible for us to be responsible parents if we are not first and foremost being responsible ourselves in all areas of our lives. It’s so common that we believe we can be responsible in one area of our lives (such as parenting) but irresponsible in another area (such as the way we look after ourselves) – when every single moment of our lives affects the next moment and the next.
You highlight so clearly Adele, how it is only through a relationship that is based on love, being with ourselves first, that we can truly begin to realise and live the magic of our full potential, of who we really are. And that when we work, commit to or come together in love, this magic will only be magnified.
To truly parent our children we have to teach them to be responsible for themselves and when we free them of the noose of neediness they feel liberated to develop a true and deeper relationship as people rather than parent and child.
Living who we truly are is the antidote for all our discontentments and illness and disease in our bodies as there is nothing more powerful and healing than expressing our essence for the good of all.
Wonderful to read this Adele, it is so timely as I examine more deeply my responsibility as a parent. I have not mastered not reacting as you describe, but had some success yesterday when I asked her to do the lunch dishes and she had a mini break down collapsing on the floor and I just let that happen and then simply stated that the dishes needed to be done and she went down and did a lovely job of washing, drying and putting away. This could easily have become a battle of wills but I was so solid within myself of what was needed she could feel there was no real point in going into too much resistance! Deepening my loving relationship with myself is most definitely the way forward.
There is so much in this blog to delve into. One sentence that struck me was “The foundation of any true relationship begins with the responsibility of living who we are, rather than living in a way we think we ‘should be’.” This applies to all relationships but rarely do we credit the relationship with our children in the same way as the relationship with partners, yet that highlights the masks we wear in our many different relationships. Being ourselves, transparent, open and honest makes for a more solid foundation in any relationship.
It is amazing to realise we create our own reality by the way we live with ourselves. If we are not having a foundational loving relationship with ourselves this will also not be there with others and create a reality of hardship in relationships out of need in life. But when we do have a loving relationship with ourselves life does really change and becomes much simpler especially in our relationships.
I can relate to the grief especially the next morning after being in the company of another. I have often pondered on the reason as to why I had allowed it to enter my body. I knew the emotion did not belong to me. I also felt the sadness from not choosing love for myself but I always felt there was more. ‘The grief of filling another’s demands at the expense of myself’ is certainly worth exploring and as I allow myself to feel, a deep heaviness is felt in my chest area. Thank you Adele for sharing.
Thank you Adele for a beautiful sharing, when we take responsibility for all our choices and heal our true loving self can come out in love for ourselves and then out to all others. “when true love is our commitment – and remembering that our patterns of behaviour are not who we are – then not only how I love my son, but how I am in relationship with all others is more than I could have ever imagined.” What a gorgeous picture of you and your son, so much love and joy in expression.
What a beautiful gift to your son Adele, that being to take the time to build a true connection to him; a beautiful gift to yourself also. Thank you for sharing your experiences and your wisdom.
We can learn so much from our children when we see them as equal and take the responsibility to parent them from the love we know we and they are and not hold back on expressing the truth. And the more we let go of ideals and believes we have around parenting the more the relationship can grow into a loving relationship without any attachments.
Adele you have turned parenting around and it is these gems that need to be shared with other parents.
I see more and more parents letting their children run riot or pandering to them with sweets and chocolates because they don’t have the time to be with them. I have seen mothers exhausted addicted on coffee to counteract the exhaustion and dealing with a hyper stimulated child – its a forever vicious cycle and you took the responsibility to do something about it – an inspiration.
Recently, as I watch my son become the man he is I can find it difficult to accept myself and all the mistakes I have made in parenting him, mistakes which he now carries with him in his understandings of life, and this makes me feel very sad. But what I say to myself in these moments, is that what matters most is now, this very second and whether I am choosing love or not, all else can and will be taken care of based on this split second. And when, in those moments I do choose love and not to indulge in regret, what follows next is always a great sense of understanding both for myself and my son and the people we are and the life journey’s we are on and the lessons we each have yet to learn, which takes off all the pressure to be perfect and allows for the lessons to be learnt as they are meant to be – in full.
I could very much relate to the relationship with your son appearing to be harmonious but there being pandering to maintain the illusion of harmony. I suspect a lot of women do this with their sons, in lieu of having meaningful, fulfilling relationships with their partners. This places a huge imposition on the son, who will feel he isn’t just loved for who he is. It also means that you do not get to be the whole and amazing women, reflecting true love to the child, as you are hanging onto what you think you need and what you are getting out of it.
“Mommy I love you more than you can ever imagine.” is at the core of everything. We sometimes cannot imagine how much we are loved or do love one another just because we are to busy with doing it right and to adhere to our self imposed rules and guidelines in life. Have you ever considered the fact that sticking to these rules and guidelines is in fact avoiding the reality that we are love, and that we dearly love all those we are with, and even beyond? From this awareness to me comes a responsibility as from there we can feel we are part of a grander whole, that there is a plan to adhere to which is to live that love to the best of our ability and with that to restore love as our foremost value in our lives and into our societies.
Adele, thank you for sharing your experiences of parenting, this is really helpful, ‘Remembering how much I love him allows me to go to a deeper understanding of him and his situation.’ I can feel that holding love and understanding in conflict situations with my own child is important, rather than going into criticism and judgement of him, I can feel that if children act in a way that is not loving it is easy for us to tell them off and that they can think there is something wrong with them or that we do not like them, when actually it is the behaviour that we do not like, not the child.
Expressions are a constant learning and refining, but no matter what is expressed and how it is expressed, I remind myself to always hold another as an equal to myself.
“For example, even when I feel I sometimes react to my son blaming me for something that he feels I’m responsible for, I can now stop myself and not take it personally or judge him or myself for this. Remembering how much I love him allows me to go to a deeper understanding of him and his situation. With that I hold him in true love. He in turn feels that acceptance and understanding and often surprises me by letting go and returning to being his true loving self.” An amazing lesson for us all. I know that I can hold back expressing what needs to be expressed in trying to avoid the reaction that is going to come back at me, but in this holding back it so often compounds the issue, for even if conflict is avoided in that moment, the same situation, dressed differently will keep cropping up until I no longer hold back. Basically it’s ‘Groundhog Day’!
I think we also have to watch for going the other way to the extreme – where we go into things like ‘Im letting me child feel into it and choose’ this is just another form of need, ideals and beliefs. What children need at times is firm rules, boundaries, consequences, tough love so to speak. Otherwise they can play on this and totally manipulate and bully patents, teachers or others – they have been here before and know all the games to play, that look good so to speak, by are not walking the talk, just like we do. I think we have so many pictures, ideals and beliefs about parenting be it from love of not – that we need to break free of. Love can be rules especially if it’s teaching children what is loving and what is not. For example, say if I was a biological mum and if my child was to refuse to come to the dinner table for dinner, they wouldn’t be allowed food – simple as that, they’d only get dinner if they came to the table to eat. I wouldn’t need them to be a certain way or force them to be chatty. But there would definitely be rules, consequences and boundaries. That is love. Another thing I feel we need to watch out for is in the guise of love are we still looking for children to fill our needs, ideals and beliefs of what a perfect family picture / mother child / father child relationship is or should look like? As in needing our child / children to fill the picture of a loving, communicative family meal. In this we are not connecting with anyone not seeing it feeling the truth of what’s really going on. As we are living from pictures and ideals.
We all have the responsibility of being a parent whether we are a biological parent or not. For parenting, mothering and fathering are an energy first, well before they are about what we do. They do not involve any roles we play. Nor is it about being a child’s best friend, I feel this can be where many people go wrong, it’s a need, wanting a child / your child to like you, instead of at times presenting solid truth and the absolute firm love they may need. It’s about having boundaries and rules, at home or in the classroom – children love this – this is not harsh – but love it its truest and firm sense. For love would never allow another off with being wayward or off its presence it would call it back – with out need or expectation. And also allow free will if a child or person may I hasten so chooses a life that is not loving. But whilst a child lives under our roof there for me would definately be rules and boundaries to adhere too, and unloving behaviours I would not accept or allow one little bit. Some may think this is harsh or hard, but it’s not at all. There are far too many parents who are not taking responsibility for parenting anymore – this can be seen in children’s behaviours at school. And also parents lack of responsibility in wanting to address children’s behaviours and passing it on to teachers or others to do or blaming them.
Everything I can bring with myself I can be with another. Letting go of a constant critique of myself that I have recently become aware of has now allowed me to let go of a level of judgement I was inflicting on others that created a tension within my relationship with everyone. It was such a default I hadn’t wanted to become aware of it because it was a great excuse to hide from people. I’d been telling myself I was afraid of being criticised by others and so needed to reduce the opportunities for this by doing things perfectly and limiting my time with people. As I accept myself I can allow myself to relax and enjoy being with me and being with others not worrying about making mistakes or judging or being judged.
Adele what you share applies equally to relationships with parents.. We can also be indulgent in our relationships with parents, we can lose ourselves, fed by ideals and beliefs of what it is to be a ‘good’ son or daughter. True responsibility, cuts old attachments and frees us to be who we are: equal partners relating honestly openly and honestly with each other.
There is a lot of good things said in this article that make sense. Every relationship holds a reflection for us and what it brings to us is something that is there in every relationship. We often think we are great at work and when we get home it all falls apart or the other way around. What we don’t often see is, the relationship we have with one is there the same for everyone. We don’t often link it all up or see the depth we are all connected. Whenever we talk of ‘parenting’ we seem to take on a different persona, almost like I am something and this is what I do. Parenting isn’t something that we do but more the way we hold ourselves, our quality because and as I’m sure you would agree, at times I have been parented and at times I have parented adults. It’s not something that is limited to one relationship as we have just been saying. So we don’t just ‘parent’ our children, it’s a quality we hold that needs to be honoured or expressed everywhere. I’m not saying you sit people down or send them to their bedrooms but the way you are with them needs to meet them for who they truly are at any time. Parenting is pretty simple, you just don’t take it on as a role. It would seem the moment we see a child and I am the mother or father, we already bring in an imbalance. See parenting as a quality you are with everything, the responsibility, holding, the love and direction you have everywhere.
You share much wisdom here Adele. I am sure there are many of us who have recognised ourselves in your sharing. I also appreciate the wonderful teachings of Universal Medicine presented by Serge Benhayon.
Our children reflect so much for us to learn as parents, the lessons I have received from my two children are the most amazing, learning so much about myself, about relationships and about responsibility. Parenting is a gift from heaven.
“The foundation of any true relationship begins with the responsibility of living who we are, rather than living in a way we think we ‘should be’.” So true Adele, We havent dome so well as a society following in our parents’ etc footsteps – the ‘should be’, in order to fit in etc. Finding a new way to be and live as we truly are sets a whole new standard for relating to everyone.
Adele – this is a great blog for me to read as a new parent. What I understand is the importance of consequences and that children know this – for every action there is a reaction. It is about allowing children to make choices but at the same time ensuring they understand what the choice means.
Our relationship with others is a reflection of our relationship with ourselves.
From this blog the responsibility of being a parent jumps out. It’s massive, and extremely joyful as well.
As in it’s not a decision to be made on a whim. It’s something you as potential parents / custodians of this child for a certain amount of time, need to talk about and be certain it’s for true reasons and not to fill a need. And not to make other people happy, such as grandparents.
Your commitment to yourself and true parenting is beautiful to read. There is enormous responsibility to be had when it comes to developing a true relationship and you are right in the fact that it starts with how we are with ourselves first.