“The true measurement of a good parent is not how the child behaves, but how the parent behaves” – Unknown
Respectful parenting teaches us that the key to truly connecting with our children lies first and foremost in our own personal growth and the healing work we are willing to engage in as parents. In fact, ‘It all starts and ends with us’ is one of the most life-changing mindset shifts I’ve encountered on my parenting journey.
It’s the idea that we should be spending much more time ‘parenting’ ourselves than parenting our children.
Because ultimately, the example we set is what really counts; who we are and how we carry ourselves in the world will always communicate a stronger message to our children than any parenting trick or technique.
We can ambitiously preach to our kids the way of living your life and how to be in the world. Focusing on the “teachable moments”. Telling them right from wrong – constantly correcting them, making smart speeches, lecturing… But the truth is that Modelling will always tromp any other way of teaching.
Like Robin Einzig from Visible Child so brilliantly puts it:
“Children only learn in three ways:
- By example,
- by example,
- ..and by example!”
Children do not learn from what we say. They don’t even learn from what we do. They learn from who we are. And they’re always watching.
Be what you want to see
If you want to see emotional regulation – focus on staying calm, graceful and unruffled in stressful situations.
If you want to see respectful communication – choose your words and take responsibility of your own speech, tone & energy.
Want to see generosity and sincere empathy? – Show up with kindness in the world, be generous and fair yourself, to your children and everyone else around you. And meet even the most challenging situations with empathy and understanding!
When we start understanding the power of modelling we not only become more motivated to constantly grow and be a better person, mindful that we are leading such powerful example, but we also start trusting on a deeper level that this is indeed the way our children are learn best.
Realising that our children are always watching us, that they are constantly learning, picking it all up (sometimes in more detail than we would wish for!) we stop seeing the need to constantly ‘teach them’, every.single.thing – with our words.
Don’t get me wrong though, communicating to our children, explaining and guiding our the is an important part of being a parent! BUT in this post I want to stress the fact that what we SAY is always going to be inferior to who we are!
I know it can feel like a lot of pressure, to have to BE IT to teach it. I know sometimes we wish we could just take the shortcut and focus on fixing our kids and their behaviour instead of working on ourselves first.
But we can not forget the fact that the greatest gift of being a parent IS the endless growing, life long learning and inner healing that our children will constantly push ourselves towards. Children are the mirror of our greatest internal work .
If we are open to it, if we see it this way, then becoming a parent will put you on a light-speed path to evolving as a person. To get to go deeper and expand our awareness of ourselves.
What an opportunity! What a gift!
Let’s put the focus where it should be, working from the inside out – being the best versions of ourselves and living what we hope to see growing in our children.
Because in the end, again, it all starts and ends with us!