How you feel and think about your parenting is proving to be a bigger marker of how your children feel and think about themselves and their lives, over and above anything that you do or do not dofor them as a parent. Emerging evidence in the science of epigenetics tells us that the emotional patterns of unexpressed feelings, thoughts, and trauma from our childhoods affect our children. In fact, family, social and cultural patterns over generations can result in unresolved feelings, thoughts, and desires being projected onto the child and carried over to the child’s experiences.
This new knowledge is changing parenting, because as caregiversbegin to reflect on and resolve their own emotional histories - the feelings, thoughts and experiences from their childhood, they are more likely to be able to be present and empathetic to the child’s needs when they arise. Childosophy is a child centred philosophy and approach that focuses on the importance of acknowledging the feelings, thoughts and emotions that are at the base of many common childhood behaviours. The Foundational Needs Model, which is central to Childosophy, not only helps caregivers understand children’s behaviours or understand why children are doing what they do, it helps us as adults in essence understand ourselves more deeply too. Parents who feel calm and centred when they respond to their children will not unconsciously react to them. From this space any behaviours or triggers that may previously have been hard to tolerate, become easier to manage. When adults can become more aware and attentive for their children the relationship between parent and child changes for the better.
Parenting is the opportunity to grow with our child again. It is also the opportunity to heal generational trauma to ensure unhealthy patterns stop and are not left for the next generation to heal. Unmet needs from the past do not have to continue to occur for our children if we can become aware of the pattern of needs that lay unmet in the family line. Generational trauma and childhood trauma is a hot topic in children’s wellbeing at the moment – and so it should be. The science and evidence that backs up how trauma loops continue generation after generation is enabling us to have confidence that unless we have healed our own relationship to any perceived and real pain from our childhood it will unconsciously play out in our parenting and shape our children’s lives.
At a recent talk I gave at the Geelong Library, I asked the audience to consider these two questions.
What do you wish your parents did differently when you were a child?
What do you hope your children remember about your parenting?
These two questions allow us to consider the things we wished our parents did differently for us – without blame – as they could only do what they could with the information they had at the time. In clinic, I continually see how generational trauma and patterning affects our little ones today. And how by becoming aware of the unmet needs in the family and by healing this trauma we are laying down a path for our little ones to become their true selves – in body, mind and spirit – and release the burden of carrying trauma that in essence, does not belong to them.
Thinking about how our children will remember our parenting, allows us to put strategies into place in the present moment, to ensure we frame our parenting in a way we want our children to remember. Children’s behaviours are not their problem but a responsibility for all generations to begin to look at unmet, feel into unresolved needs and patterns of the past and work together in a present moment to make sure these do not remain unresolved for our children to carry for us.