My 15 year old daughter is in grade 9 and we attended her Subject Choice meeting the other night. As I looked around the hall, parents were holding their breathe in fear and children were anxiously scanning the room for comfort. All the parents were listening attentively to the guest speaker about the different academic streams open to specific subject choices.
The answer is No, it’s never too late to say sorry. I know it is a Justin Bieber song but also the title of this blog post which I felt was an important one to share. I wish I had the knowledge I have now when my teens were younger, but unfortunately ten years ago I didn’t and as a result made many, many and many more mistakes as a parent. When we parent from an unconscious place, we have no road map providing us with guidance to ensure that we don’t harm, scar and damage our children in our effort to raise balanced healthy adults one day. I can only forgive myself and try to do better with the knowledge I have in the present moment.
When I was faced with many clients struggling with marital issues I knew that I needed to read or listen to this book on my reading list. Not only did I gain knowledge for them but learnt a thing or two to help me in my own marriage. As young married people we enter into a marriage from a place of blissful ignorance thinking love will get us through any challenge. Until a life stressor like job loss, illness, death of a family member or child shakes our foundation to the core.
Gary Chapman writes a relatable and humorous book with all his own real life marriage mistakes that just makes the content concrete. There are twelve chapters and each enlightened me further into the many reasons why marriages can fail and crumble very early on in the union. I will list them all and give you my the lesson I took away.
My youngest son (9) came home from school distressed twice last week, but wouldn’t say why. When he was ready to share the reason I almost went into overprotective mommy mode. His teacher had negatively commented on his handwriting once and used his ‘cursive’ as the bad example the second time. His anxious temperament needs critical feedback to be given in a nurturing, positive way and in private. He told me he cried in the bathroom and had been clenching his fists in class in anger.
Every time I read a new book, its like forming a relationship and connection with an old friend. I internalise the words and make it part of my life. I share the highs and lows of the content and ride the rollercoaster of emotions all with the end goal of changing, improving and growing as a person. No book has ever shaken me to the core to the extent of The Awakened Family by Dr Shefali. I am a huge fan and have read her earlier book, The Conscious Parent. There was something about the messages in this book that touched me in a place that I had long disconnected from and as a result old wounds opened and healing began.
I think that most of us have an unrealistic expectation or fantasy that our kids will just automatically be friends and we will all live happily ever after. Delusional LIES ….. Do you get along with all your siblings now as a grownup? Did you get along with them in childhood? If you are like me from a normal family – then your answer is NO!!!!
I think my struggle to accept my kids fighting may stem from my own unresolved sibling issues, I will get into that in another post. This post is inspired by the latest book I am reading by Dr Laura Markham called Calm Parents, Happy Siblings, I have had it for months but didn’t get around to reading it.
When I got to page 9, I made my first meme. See below and felt it needed to be a post.
Often people assume that because I am a counsellor and help other parents with their relationship issues with their kids or how to resolve problems, that I will never mess up with my own kids. Being human makes me fallible and I want to share my recent learning experience.
I have a book on my Kindle, ‘Liking the Child You Love’ by Jeffrey Bernstein I am dying to read as this topic is an important one to explain to parents when trying to help them bridge the canyon of disconnect between them and their child.
Parents often carelessly say that they love their child but don’t like them. This is extremely hurtful and gut wrenching for a child to hear. Love is not a tangible, measurable entity but like or dislike is often something easily detected. Saying ‘I love you!’ often, but it is evident that you don’t like your child will cause them to feel unloved.
When I was growing up, I was the child who was considered rude, cheeky and outspoken. This label stuck with me throughout my life, making me feel different, but never less than anyone else. I was lucky and the reason for this was my amazing dad who nurtured my self- esteem with his love and parenting and gave me the armour to withstand criticism. Now in my 40’s, I have the insight and wisdom to understand that I was always Authentic, which is why I never fit in and was out of sync with the world. Speaking my mind, being true to myself, having principles and standing up for myself was who I was.
When I read Brene Brown’s book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection,’ I realised that my Authentic self was compromised by my Perfectionist self and in order to completely embrace my authenticity, I had to confront the aspects of myself that I didn’t like but needed to accept. The challenge was to figure out if society is still dictating to me, or to trust and follow my inner compass.
Once I discovered that perfectionism was the root of a lot of my anger I did what I always do I found a book on how to help me deal with. The book that I came across was ‘The Gift of Imperfection’ by Brene Brown and I thought WOW that sounds like an awesome book so I downloaded the audiobook and haven’t looked back since. I finished it months ago but never got around to writing the review. There were so many elements that truly touched my soul, made me begin to understand the root of my Perfectionism. The irony is that my own remnants as a recovering Perfectionist stopped me from sitting down and sharing this amazing book with you. So I decided to share my own insights combined with others who reviewed the book.
Brene’s key idea is Wholehearted Living which is knowing that you are enough as you are, not when you lose weight or get your degree but now in the present moment. So many of us are putting off loving ourselves because of our to do list, which is never ending. Brene is a researcher and when she interviewed people who lived Wholeheartedly she found they did something unique, DIG Deep: (more…)