Part IX of the series on Nature’s Parenting Process, by Joseph Gauld

Concept # 5:  Parent By Example: part 1

Hands make heart shape

The last concept in our series on Nature’s Parenting Process is Parent by Example: recognize the power of our feelings.

This concept seems obvious, but we parents need to understand that children learn from us at a far deeper level than our words. Children read our hearts, not our minds.

Since our emotions can overpower our intellect, we need to realize our children are learning from a deeper level within ourselves than just what we tell them. We don’t always recognize this.

It may become obvious when we and our child share a quick temper or share a very reserved demeanor. But it is less obvious, and more common, when we share emotions and dispositions that exist on a deeper, even unacknowledged level.

What happens to our children when some of the emotions we parents feel at this core level are unconsciously in conflict with the life we are leading? In that case, our children respond to the reality of what we feel. If we are feeling somewhat trapped in a routine, then no matter how free or responsible we may act, our children will respond to our trapped feelings. This is why we parents are sometimes stunned by the irresponsible behavior of teenagers. Whatever the influence of their peers, our children primarily respond to our deepest spirit.

The solution is to maintain a deep honesty with our kids, connecting our feelings to our actions as much as possible. This will not only help them understand what we are feeling about what we are doing, but it will motivate us to deal with our feelings. In other cases, it may lead us to make changes in our actions, even to the point of changing our lives.

All of this underscores that helping children realize their best selves means we parents also realize our best selves.

Next week: Parent by Example – part 2