What is successful parenting? Have you been a successful parent if your kids get good grades? What if your kids don’t get good grades? What about if they are well-mannered? And, if they are not? What if you have great listeners? What if you don’t? What defines a successful parent?
More and more as I work with families, I am finding that it is important to really understand what parenting is. What are we trying to accomplish? From there, we will know how successful we are.
So, what is parenting ~ really? Parenting is the guiding of children. It is very simple; however, it is not always easy.
In order to be an effective guide in any field, you must know the terrain and you must have trust and connection with those whom you are guiding. The terrain that parents are traversing is the heart. It’s not grades, manners, jobs, and such. Sure, those are important pieces. However, successful parenting is being able to guide from the heart to the heart, from that place of knowing, with wisdom and love. In this place, it becomes apparent, both to the parents and the children, that they are not alone. Being in the heart when we guide our children is being in the presence of God, the Universe, Life. That is where love dwells. We want our children to be happy and loving human beings. That is our real goal, is it not?
Have you ever felt like you don’t know where to begin with your child? You don’t know where to go? You don’t feel like you connect, can relate, or have the answers? We all have those moments. That is when the connection ~ heart, wisdom and guidance ~ comes in. The answers are in your heart. The answers are in your child’s heart. This is what parenting is. We meet our children where they are as they grow and change. We look inside ourselves and we teach them to look inside themselves. We connect there. The earlier you connect at the heart level, and the earlier you make that your priority, the easier parenting is.
In order to connect at this level, we need to stop long enough to breathe, feel, and listen ~ both to our children and to our own inner wisdom. Again, this is simple, and yet not always easy. When there is a conflict, a behavior challenge, or something just doesn’t seem right, are we so busy that we forget to check in?
Tonight before bed, you might ask your child, “What do you like about your life?” It’s a simple question that allows you to dive right into the heart. Remember to listen to their answer, do not judge it, and be grateful for their sharing. If it takes a few times to get a conversation like this going, that’s okay. Be willing to show up again and again and again, until it happens. The door might need a little oiling.
Happy Mothers Day to all of you wonderful moms!