Welcome to the Fabulous Hybrid Blog Carnival. Our topic this spring is Change! This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Blog Carnival hosted by The Fabulous Mama Chronicles and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on change in all of its many forms. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Changing My Mindset
The hardest thing for me about becoming a mother has been sifting through my own dusty childhood memories and deciding what I want to re-create in my relationship with my son and what to leave behind. It is a difficult process especially because my parents and I have different beliefs about what a healthy relationship entails, especially within the parent-child domain and I find myself venturing more and more into unknown territory. The way I was raised (and many others of my generation) is not the experience I want for my child and that means I must teach myself to parent, and think very differently about my daily interactions with him and that task is daunting. Especially because of the subtle programming I must not only explore but alter completely in order to parent according to my values.
My biggest challenge is falling into automatic behaviour when I am emotionally strained myself, repeating hurtful phrases and behaviours from my childhood. As was typical of the time, isolation techniques like time-outs and banishments to my room, the removal of treasured objects and privileges as punishments, as well as lectures and exasperated exclamations were the norm in trying to manipulate behaviour. It was simply the way most parents chose to interact with their children in order to raise them to be good people, however misplaced. But now that I am aware of how damaging that kind of relationship is to a person’s sense of self, I do not want to re-create that with my own family but old habits die hard. I find myself treating my son exactly how my parents treated me growing up and although I know that they loved me, as I know my son knows I love him, it is not appropriate or healthy behaviour on my part because it does not respect him as a thinking/feeling person. The root of the problem, I now realise, is that I have to really change my mindset about parenting in order to reach my goals.
Although I believe on a rational level in a child’s inherent worth and wish to support their emotional development as optimally as I can by responding with compassion and guiding them to appropriate behaviour, I don’t always act in this way. I still have residual beliefs about needing to ‘control’ behaviour to an extent but is mostly due to my own lack of emotional intelligence because I was not taught how to respond appropriately to negative feelings when I was growing up. As I have mentioned before in other posts, in my family negative feelings are most often repressed, a direct example of the side-effect of the parenting approach we were all raised in, and I must now deal with the aftermath of that. Although it has gotten increasingly better after each generation, we still have much personal growth to do to be a psychologically healthy family.
So how can I teach my son about dealing with those often scary feelings in a healthy manner when I am still struggling with this myself? When those feelings come up during my daily interactions with my son, usually when he is feeling emotionally disjointed himself, I automatically become reactive, lashing out and try to immediately cease his behaviour because of the anxiety it causes me, rather than address his underlying need. It reminds me of how my parents reacted to my own emotional outbursts and I can understand why they acted the way they did, but it isn’t how I want to be with my son either. And so it is my responsibility to work on my own personal growth so that I don’t pass those behaviours on and instead model better ways to process those feelings for my son’s benefit.
Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting has a plethora of great advice on transforming traditional parenting approaches to more supportive and developmentally appropriate parental behaviours and so I have been slowly implementing her guidelines in my family life. Adopting this new way of parenting, of BEING essentially, is challenging but it is a positive change that I know I will reap the benefits from not only in my life but will also influence the lives of my children and future generations. It is definitely worth the effort to tackle, one challenge at a time.
******Visit Hybrid Rasta Mama and the Fabulous Mama Chronicles to find out how you can participate in the next Fabulous Hybrid Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. It will be updated by 3:00pm PST on Monday. April 30th:
- Unschooling My Heart - Patti at Canadian Unschooler discovered that Unschooling her kids was EASY compared to the bigger change required to Unschool her heart.
- Change (Variety) - Rachel at Lautaret Bohemiet writes about how variety is the spice of life.
- No More Threats - Amy at Presence Parenting flips the idea of parental control through threats on its head, for good.
- Why Are You Mad??? Turn Off the T.V and Meditate - Destany of They Are All of Me discusses limiting stress by focusing more on your Inside self.
- Co-ed Sleepovers? Changing My Mindset – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes a hard look at her previous beliefs about sleepovers.
- Change Can Mean Puddles - Jorje of Momma Jorje has had to clean up some puddles after major changes.
- On Acceptance - Laura at Authentic Parenting writes about how she ditched the constant longing for change and came to accept herself as she is.
- Blissed Out on Birth, Drunk on Baby Skin - Melissa from Mothers of Change passionately explores the changes she would like to see come to the maternity care system, and our universal love of the smell of a newborn baby.
- Changing My Mindset, One Challenge at a Time - Wolfmother at Fabulous Mama Chronicles speaks candidly about her challenges in changing how she parents.
- Because Mommy Said No - Dawn of Raising Natural Kids discusses the use of a common phrase that makes Mommy out to be the bad guy when, in reality, she is making decisions out of love.
- Through Adversity We Grow - Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children chooses to take a positive view on change and growth.
- Life is Change - Rae of Ital Livin' writes about the large changes her family has made within the last year.constant in life.
- A Changing Voice - Jennifer at Our Muddy Boots discusses how in order to grow change is unavoidable. That does not mean the process is easy though.
- Being. Changing. Believing. - Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making It All Work reminisces on the changes that have shaped her adult life thus far, and molded her into an adaptable, but still type-A, believer in change.
- Motivating Change In The Face Of Apathy - Brenna at Almost All The Truth is asking the question many of us who actively work to change the world ask ourselves: how do we get people to care?
- She Changes Everything She Touches - Change is the only thing we can count on in life, and Jen in Canada examines some of the biggest things she'd like to tackle before the birth of her second child.