Being a parent is a huge responsibility which can sometimes feel like a burden, as well as an irritant, with children quarantining with you as their only playmate. Deep reserves of creativity and patience are needed, and You will need to refill those reserves, as best you can. Yelling and punishment leave you feeling more drained and your child feeling resentment, which can be a self-defeating cycle.
Let’s take a breath of fresh air and do something else! Things that work are: Getting into nature with your children, just sitting by a stream, or watching the ocean, these can replenish all of you. Breathing exercises, dancing, listening to music, playing music, singing, making art projects or writing projects: creative activities feed your inner child, as well as the child in front of you!
Doing Empatharian Peace Arts can also be a delightful structured expression break for school aged children and teens, available in May of 2021, with a workshop for parents (Light Touch Parenting with Empatharian). In the mean time, you can take 20 minutes breaks in the day and do movement meditations together as a family, watching the movement meditation videos, available free at the You-Tube Channel Empatharian Movement for Peace.
Empatharian’s Light Touch Parenting will help you and your family to weather the storms of your lives, with empathy and grace, developing your inner resources and connection to the source energy of your dreams and longings. Taking the Light Touch Parenting Workshop available next Spring will be a new start for your family, but in the meantime, we are listing a shorthand of techniques to transform your family life.
The Goals of Parenting:
Keeping your eye on the goals of your parenting, attunes a gentle rhythm and drumbeat, something the beat of your heart can always follow. You want the best for your children, success perhaps, but simply happiness doesn’t quite say it. When you are a parent it goes beyond fun and good times; you take on the responsibility of shepherding your children’s development of true self-esteem, self-discipline, and empathy for others. With these tools at their disposal, they can create the happiness and success that they envision.
Parents set limits and expectations so that true self-esteem, self-discipline, and empathy for others. will develop:
• good habits and courtesy,
• impulse control and restraint,
• the ability to delay gratification,
• the ability to work hard and meet resistance, and
• resiliency to handle disappointments.
With strategies of Joy/Attachment, Re-Framing, and Specific Praising creating the clear pathway to these goals and objectives, yelling or punishments are not required. Even the age-old strategy of “time-out” disappears, as we replace it with “calming down space” that the child designs for himself, in advance of need. Mindfulness and kindness don’t need to be relegated to the adults, as children learn to be gentle and kind with themselves, helping themselves to calm down and get self-comforted.
Building Happiness with Empathy-
Three primary strategies for Light Parenting:
• Joy in small things, building attachment between child and parent (beautiful rituals of bedtime and joyful goodbye’s/hello’s, gratitude and sanctity with mealtimes, fanciful faerie and elf stories of successes)
• Reframe all and everything As steps in the right direction, a learning experience.
• Praise which is specific to a particular action/attitude- And Meaningful. (effort!)
Compliance Without Confrontation Builds the Will of the Child-
With a Child’s emotions, which can be very powerful, your Calm, Firmness, and Implacable compassion can provide a nurturing environment for safe expression. A few examples of Empatharian Light Parenting can help you embody this work-ability of empathy:
Anger at something- Creatively listening, give Two choices only, presence, connection, going “with” the child, example: “I’m so sad we can’t go to the moon right now… maybe when you’re five we’ll be able to !”
Needs rest, food– Routine anticipates needs, with Consistency of nap, meals -simple pauses around Changes well explained in advance. Familiarity breeds comfort and relaxation
Clamor for attention: A touch can reassure. State pause length, Then praise before attention example: “I’m talking right now, I will talk to you in a minute.”
Jealousy of sibling: Expectation of love, kindness “ you are too nice to talk to your little brother that way.” Attention to sibling if hurt… Modeling empathy
New transition: Guide with previews. Small steps modeled, done, with Specific step praise, as in “ Your coat is closer to the hook today. Maybe tomorrow it’ll be even closer.”
Empatharian Developmental View
So you thought that life as a parent would get easier with age, and once they’re 18, it’s over. Ah no. Once a parent, always a parent, apparently!
You will continue to use all these strategies to parent your child with love and light, boundaries and resistance. As the child leaves the home, the world provides the resistance, not you so much. And your support through reframing everything that happens as a learning experience, always to be gaining from, even when it looks like a failure or a mistake, will then increase.
Be aware that when a child enters school, whatever age, and when a child uses media, whatever age, they are being shepherded into new norms, some that may not sit well with you and your values. It’s valuable to sit beside your child and mediate their experience through your running commentary, reframing the visuals as you see it, and helping them to resist manipulation by the media or anyone.
The attachment and joy they feel with you continues to be a connection to themselves and their inheritance of values and value. Your use of specific praise of things done well, praising effort always, not so much appearances or actual wins will really help your child’s development and growth, as they develop positive self-talk for themselves.
When a child grows up into an adult, some of their choices may not sit well with you, but the greatest gift you can give is your light touch. When you are expressing but not demanding, and delighting still in the loving attachment you have together, you will re-frame their explorations as courage, and support their discovery of new worlds beyond your own safe havens. Acknowledging and forgiving your own past mistakes and hurts will be a process that always becomes the most resiliency you can model, along with practicing and voicing gratitude for each and every moment together.
Someday they will bring you grandchildren perhaps, and there you will see how your light touch has blossomed into true beauty. Or sooner! Pre-enroll now in our Light Parenting Workshop by Empatharian, planned for Spring 2021.
Also, Empatharian is now newly an affiliate of Generation Mindful – a website for parents to find many many wonderful helpful tools. Including Parent Coaching of a similar high quality to the Empatharian Coaching we offer. Take a look at the cool stuff here.
Let us know how you’re getting on, and how your children and grandchildren are doing!