Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Conscious Parenting- is this where it all begins?

Source: here
 There is so much that I could write about.  

We moved home at the end of September - that's big news.  I should definitely blog about that.

We have three apple trees.  We have been having an apple extravaganza.  I'd love to post the photos. 

We went on holiday to Ibiza.  That was brilliant.  We were surrounded by orange, olive and fig trees.  There were free spirits drumming on the beach.  My sister was there. I want to write about it.

But instead I'm going to blog about this. Because it is burning me.

                It's about how I want my child to be 

                but have to daily fight the urge 
                to control her.

I watch her emerge from her shell.

Chat happily to complete strangers.
Tell them about things which are important to her.

She is sure of their interest.

She does not doubt her value and place in the world.

In a shoe shop last week, I watched her show the assistant how she could 

She whirled around, laughing giddily,
Flapping her wings.

She makes sure to tell the neighbours where the ants live.

She implores them to watch out, not to step on them

And me.

Do I rejoice in her confidence, her sense of joy and fun, her concern for other beings, her willingness to campaign for what is important to her?

Do I congratulate myself on a job well-done?

Well....only to an extent.

Mostly I felt uncomfortable.

I have an urge to shush her.  Just a bit.  A lot.

         A sense she shouldn't bother people.
                       I felt expected to control her.
                         Encourage her to be a little more invisible.

I manage to stop myself. 

But it is a struggle.

Now, to clarify, I'm not saying that no parental input is ever needed out in public - if my child was e.g.. clobbering another, I would be in there like Flynn provide some loving guidance.

But why do I feel the need to control her genuine connections with others?

I have been having psychotherapy recently, and gaining insight that lots of negative patterns of behaviour go back to one thing.

Low self esteem.

And this is where it all begins.

In early childhood, do you remember being controlled so that you didn't bother people?  
So that your parents could save face? Were you shushed and urged to fit in?

I know I am not alone.

In music class recently, an amazing 4 year old piped up when the music teacher didn't notice what she had done - "Me, I did it".

Her mother squirmed.  
She turned to me to say her daughter always did that now.  Showed off.
I sensed and recognised a shame and embarrassment in her.
An urge to stop this behaviour
She said she struggled too -  she didn't want to crush her.

There was a lot of love in my childhood, but a lot of dysfunction too.  My parents were the products of a childhood where children were seen but not heard. 

I think many of us were taught to stay quiet.  
Don't show off.  
Don't bother people.
Your contribution is not valid. 
Your concerns are not important

Squeeze into the box of expectations.

Yet here I am faced with my child.

Who hasn't been told that.

By her actions she tells the world - 

I am here.

I take my place.
I am valued.
I am accepted.
I have a contribution.

And most of all this.

                          Life is joyful.

And it makes me afraid.

It is uncharted territory.

She deserves the freedom to be herself.  

But I must believe that I too deserve the freedom to be myself,  before I can truly accept her.

I can't give what I don't have.

This is going to be hard.  So hard.
The trip of my lifetime.

But yes.

This is where it all begins.

So I'm going in.
Changing course.
Setting sail to that unmapped land.
Going on a journey to acceptance.
I don't have a compass.
No touchstones even, to guide my way.
There is no frame of reference for me.
Except my heart, my child, and what I am learning to be true.

I can accept myself
There is space for me.
I am valuable.

I have a contribution to make.

A pic from Ibiza - see I snuck it in.


Melissa said...

I can't begin to tell you how much I relate to this. It is a daily struggle, but one that is so worth working through, and I'm glad to
see it articulated so clearly. Parenting teaches me so much more than I ever imagined.

Looking forward to hearing about the house and your travels, too. Congratulations.

sparklingbay said...

From everything I know of you, you are so mindful about all of this. An inspiration to me. X

Emma Craig said...

I love this post! I'm so super shy, but my daughter is...not. She walks up and talks to everybody, boasts (brags) about her accomplishments, adds her opinions, while I just want to go in and out without attracting any attention. I try to let her be, because my issues shouldn't become hers, but it is hard. Glad to read this! :)

sparklingbay said...

I'm shy too. It starts with being aware, and we are. Good luck, it is hard.

Meeshie said...

I think I'm lucky here. I was never told to hush and I was always allowed to be me. I have other issues. We all have issues, ya know. We all have things that scarred us that we're trying not to pass on to our children and I suppose it's always hard. Parenting.. it's totally not for the weak. ;)

sparklingbay said...

And now you can stand up for your choices against lots of pressure not to. Just what I want for my daughter, and myself.

Meeshie said...

If you are aware of the problem and make an effort to change it there is nothing you can't do. I have faith that you and your daughter will be just fine. :)

sparklingbay said...

Sob! Thank you!.

the Monko said...

wow what a thought provoking post, I'm going to have to reflect on how I deal with Goblin's public desire to chat to the world. I love the way this post is laid out too, it takes you on a journey. I'm featuring you this week on the Sunday Parenting Party, thanks for linking up.

sparklingbay said...

Thanks! I remember reading your husband's post about the Goblin talking to a lady on the train, and how he himself is more reserved. It is one of the posts/things I'd been mulling over and reading that led to this post. I recognised that, and while there are plenty of natural introverts and lots to value in introversion, I know that at least part of my introversion comes from an unhealthy place. Thanks for the kind comments - I truly value them.

Amanda said...

Oh my gosh, I love this post! My son is starting to really engage strangers in conversation and I feel a bit uncomfortable too. I never really know how to respond, and your post has really given me something to think about. It's beautifully written, and even though The Monko is featuring it, I'm going to feature it too on The Sunday Parenting Party. Thank you so much for linking up. So very glad I found this post, and I am looking forward to reading more from you.

sparklingbay said...

Thank you! It is hard to know how to respond. I'm now thinking its not about me and my response. I'm not her keeper, but I do feel the weight of others expectations. And old habits die hard. But Thu first step, the awareness is solid gold.