What a sweet afternoon yesterday. My friend Hollie Holden invited me to present a Joyful Parents workshop near her home in Chiswick, London. A very small gathering of folk made my first London event delightfully easy and intimate. I love sharing my work with others, to share my experiences of parenting, with laughter and tears and always coming to the same conclusion, it is simply about mind; our thoughts, our beliefs and what we thinking about ourselves that will affect and determine how we parent our children.
It’s so simple really. Yet, time and time again parents are so focused on the child, so focused on trying to change this, that or the other about how the family works, they forget to pause, to stop, to look within and find a kindness, a love and a gentleness for themselves. How to parent becomes a list of things to do rather than a list of beliefs to undo. In their own self compassion, parents then automatically have compassion for their children. Parenting becomes so much freer, easier and effortless when the stressful thoughts surrounding any situation are cleared.
It is always funny to hear how common parenting thoughts “my child doesn’t appreciate me” are. And how easy it is to find a common parenting situation. Yesterday I chose mealtimes as the situation. Every parent can relate. There you are having spent so much time, effort, and energy to prepare a meal. A healthy meal at that. And you present your darling child with said meal and they say “I don’t like that”. Or they don’t say anything but just push food around the plate and are clearly not interested in eating any of it.
Up pops the belief “my child doesn’t appreciate me”. Often is it hidden underneath, “they need to eat healthy food,” ”why do I bother making food like that for them,” “they will never eat properly,” ” I should have just cooked Pizza for dinner,” etc. In the workshop we spent some time exploring , examining, questioning using The Work of Byron Katie and ultimately turning the thought around to ”I don’t appreciate myself” and looking at how true that is for many parents.
Spending some honest time with yourself exploring that lack of self – appreciation (and this is not ego inflating work) but rather simple acknowledgements of things you do that you never really appreciate yourself for. Start today with this turn around and see how you might parent your children differently.