Parents Need Compassion!
Being a parent in this day and age is very challenging, no matter the age of your children. Parents can be so hard on themselves, but the reality is that this makes everything worse! Our children at every age, are experiencing different life challenges than we did. Not only is this hard and confusing for them, it requires a volume of skills, knowledge and resources that no parent possesses, including myself.
First, it’s important to understand what I mean by “being compassionate with ourselves.” Self-compassion is a gentle way we relate to ourselves both when we’re struggling, and when things are going well. We want to treat ourselves as we would a friend who is scared, confused or learning something new.
Think about that last sentence. It’s a description of how we feel as parents a lot of the time. Just when we figure out how to parent our two-year-old he turns three. Right after we get the hang of parenting our twelve-year-old, she becomes a teenager! We are on a constant path of trial and error as we parent our children.
Self-Compassion Helps Us Parent Well
Self-compassion helps us soothe our mistakes and regrets. It brings truth and grace to our hearts, helps us correct our mistakes, and repair hurts with our children. It also gives us the freedom to learn what we don’t know and find solutions.
When we don’t know how to be compassionate with ourselves, we may default to blaming, shaming, and bashing ourselves. As our children see us model a non-judgmental attitude toward ourselves when we make mistakes, it helps them handle their mistakes more easily.
By nurturing and supporting ourselves, we have more love and compassion to give to our children. When we forgive ourselves for the inevitable mistakes we make as parents, we won’t waste precious energy beating ourselves up. Treating ourselves with compassion helps us make peace with ourselves, correct our mistakes, and enjoy the precious time we have with our children.
Teaching Our Kids Self-Compassion
How we handle the mistakes we make with our children is the gateway to a deeper and more meaningful relationship. This is how we equip them to live in a judgmental world that doesn’t offer grace and understanding for mistakes. As we respond to their imperfections with kindness, they will learn to respond to themselves with compassion as well.
Being able to parent with compassion is linked to having compassion for ourselves. We cannot give our children what we do not have. This is why learning to be compassionate with ourselves is absolutely essential. We can tell our children to be compassionate with themselves, but it won’t have much effect, if we can’t accept our own imperfections. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to be compassionate with yourself. You can learn and grow right along with your children!
I have some exciting news to share. My new book, Give Your Kids a Break: Parenting with Compassion for You and Your Children is now available! I hope it will be a blessing to you and your children/grandchildren. Please spread the word!
How about you?
When do you need compassion the most as a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle? When do you expect more of yourself than is reasonable? What is the kindest thing you could say to yourself this week?
Please share on social media or via e-mail with others who might benefit