I am so proud to present you my first podcast. I hope you will enjoy listening to it!
For those of you who prefer to read, below is also a transcription!
Being a mother of two teenagers I have experienced different phases with them. There is so much to learn with them, about them and from them. Each period of our children's growing up holds its own beauty but also brings various challenges. Some people say: small children small problems, big children big problems. I will leave it up to you to contemplate about that and ask yourself if this is true? Why yes or why not? Maybe you would also like to ask yourself: do I actually know my child's problems?
Children grow up very fast. When they are babies or even six or seven or ten we don't quite notice it. When they hit 14, 15 or 16 it suddenly seems like you don't even realise how fast time went. A few more years and they are most likely leaving the nest...
There is one important thing to remember: ultimately we all try to do our best as parents.
We could also ask ourselves who defines the meaning of "the best". We as parents? Our society? TV and Hollywood? Social media? A guru? Church? Our children might feel in the moment or even looking back that we didn't do so well or they would have wanted different approaches but we can only ever give what we are able to give in that moment.
What we can do is reflect, contemplate and be open to change. What do children need most of all? Feeling loved and feeling safe physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, just like everybody else. Imagine going out into life feeling truly loved for who you are and feeling safe no matter what. We might give our children the biggest and most expensive toys, the fanciest clothes and the most extravagant holidays. This is how we might even be expressing our love towards them and yet they might not feel loved. You can google the "5 love languages" to learn more about how we all have different love languages - receiving gifts, touch, acts of service, words of affirmation and quality time.
We might not give them our time. We might not give them our full presence. We might not give them our ears to listen to their worries. They might feel pressured into excelling at school, "being the best they can be", which in every moment they are anyway... They might fear disappointing their parents. We hold so many expectations because so much is and has been expected of us. Yet if we can simply say to them: love yourself and be compassionate with yourself. Trust your inner knowing, stay connected to yourself and know that in any moment in time you can make different choices.
What would happen if we as parents "let go"... What would happen if we let go of control and realised that ultimately they have their own journey. Of course we have influenced that journey, we have and maybe will always walk it with them but all of their combined experiences in their lives will guide them throughout life.
It is said that we as parents often want for our children what we didn't have or what we couldn't do. Maybe we are also a visionary and see how society is changing and try and offer a different journey altogether.
Even when our children grow up we will always be their parents. Maybe one of my biggest learnings as a parent in life was: I can't protect my children from life itself - which is so unpredictable - and most of all I can't control it.
Over the years I attended training courses and workshops for mindful parenting and mindful communication with children and youth. In all those courses the focus was never really on the children. It was always about our journey, our presence and our level of awareness. The majority of us want to parent our children differently compared to how we had been parented. Sometimes we feel we know what we are doing and other times we might seek advice everywhere else, copy what other's are doing or what experts are telling us to. Many times we might not even really question their advice.
Teenagers start to detach from their parents, sometimes suddenly, sometimes slowly. How we respond to that detachment process depends again on where we are on our journey. My two teenagers have been very different from the moment they were in utero. I could say each of them needed a different type of parenting. We can discuss how that is possible and how we can put that into practice but I feel simply having the awareness is already a step towards being able to give our children what they need to grow.
I learnt in my mindfulness training: we might "mess up" but we can try again - just like teaching a puppy to sit. That helped me tremendously on my journey with my kids. At times "stars collide and new world's are created" (Charlie Chaplin). That collision might remind us what is not or was not working anymore, what didn't serve us anymore or where we still needed to change, adapt, let go or reflect. We start again...
Our children have their own journey. Sometimes all we need to do is hold space for them and let them share their stories. When we start observing more we might be able to see more, witness more and ultimately support them better on their journey. They learn from our behaviour and how we show up.
Our children are the most precious gift we will ever have received in our life. They are alive, breathing and one of the most amazing and unique creations that we have given life to. So let's love them for who they are and keep wishing them: may they feel and be blessed in their lives on all levels: with love, presence, gratitude, friends, warm homes, enough to eat, curiosity, the ability to grow and learn and share, may they follow their passion and be compassionate beings and feel abundant. May they simply be happy.
In a next step maybe you wish all of those things to yourself as well.
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