The Purejoy Parenting Blog
Honestly, the main support I offer parents is to acknowledge that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting, as every child and parent is unique.
In my quest to be the best parent I could be, I often found myself interpreting my child’s behavior through my own lens. It became very clear that I had certain expectations or beliefs about how children should act, because I felt so uncomfortable when my daughter deviated from my expectations especially when we were in public. I was caught off guard by how many feelings came up when she refused to meet my expectations. It became very clear that how I interpreted my daughter’s behavior was actually causing my pain, not the actual behavior.
And yet, instead of moving towards my vulnerability I often claimed I was trying to protect her by guiding her towards what I believed was best. The issue though was that my interpretations of her behavior were based on my programming and past experiences. How I expected her to behave was actually all about me and my need to be validated. I often missed the opportunity to truly listen and understand her perspective.
If this rings true for you then how do you meet this in the moment?
Practice: Instead of jumping to conclusions or labeling your children’s behavior, practice staying present in the moment and being open to hearing their truth. This requires you to set aside your preconceived notions and beliefs, and truly listen to what your children are expressing. By doing so, you create a safe space for them to share their feelings and thoughts without fear of judgment or rejection.
Remember, your own experiences and emotions can cloud your ability to respond to your child’s behavior in a curious and compassionate manner. If you find yourself reacting from a place of fear or frustration, it’s supportive to step back and reflect on why your are feeling personally threatened by their behavior. Choosing to move to your SafeSeat to support yourself in offering compassion to your interpretations and conclusions can better support your child in navigating their own challenges.
I find parenting to be a continuous journey of growth and self-discovery. It’s a constant opportunity to for me to learn and evolve, both as an individual and as a parent. By cultivating self-awareness and practicing kindness, through my SafeSeat I create a nurturing environment where my child can also feel seen, heard, and valued.
If you have any questions or would like to share your own experiences, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you.
Wishing you a week filled with love and joy on your parenting journey.
It is snowing here in Colorado. I just witnessed a big load of snow coming down, creating a beautiful winter wonderland. However, at the same time, a friend of mine shared her plans of going to Mexico, which made me long for the beach. In that moment, I realized how often I catch myself thinking about what is missing or what would be better than the current situation. This pervasive mindset extends to my experience as a parent. I often find myself thinking, “If only my daughter would get off the computer, then I would be happy.”
Have you ever had similar thoughts? The belief that our happiness is dependent on external circumstances is a common one. We convince ourselves that if certain things were different, we would finally find contentment. But the truth is, this mindset is a never-ending cycle. As soon as one desire is fulfilled, another one arises. It’s like chasing a mirage that constantly eludes us.
As a parent, I often fall into this trap of seeking perfection. I strive to create an ideal childhood for my daughter, one that I didn’t experience myself. When I focus on making sure all her needs are met, I fixate on controlling her behavior to fit my expectations. Let me tell you, this only leads to disappointment and disconnection.
What I practice is shifting my perspective and embracing the present moment instead. This requires that I recognize that nothing is missing in this moment. We both have everything we need. As I said, this is a practice and of course, I get a lot of practice time with my busy future thinking mind.
I invite you to try a simple practice. Take a moment to make a list of everything you’d like to change about yourself as a parent and everything you’d like to change in your child. Then, reflect on each item on the list and ask yourself, “How do I think I would feel if this change occurred?” Consider if achieving those changes would truly give you what you believe you’re missing.
You may discover, like I did, that the source of your discontent lies within, not in external circumstances or your child’s behavior. By recognizing this, you can free yourself from the constant striving for something better and find contentment in the present moment.
As I embarked on this journey of self-reflection, I realized that my desire for control and perfection stemmed from my own childhood experiences. Deep down, I believed that I was responsible for my mother’s pain and that I needed to fix myself to prevent further suffering. This belief followed me into motherhood, where I sought validation of me being lovable through my daughter’s behavior. However, I came to understand that my daughter’s actions were not a reflection of my worth as a parent.
The key to breaking free from this cycle is to cultivate self-compassion and embrace all of you, especially the parts you judge as negative or bad. You can acknowledge that we are doing your best while still bringing awareness to what is happening in the moment. By exploring the need for control and surrendering to the present moment, you create space for genuine connection with yourself and your children.
Next time you catch yourself longing for something different, pause and remind yourself that everything you need is already within you. Embrace the uniqueness of each moment and find joy in the journey of parenting. Release the illusion of what’s missing and discover the beauty of what is.
Note: The above blog post is inspired by personal experiences and reflections on parenting. It is a reminder to myself and others to embrace the present moment and let go of the constant pursuit of perfection.
As a mama, I’ve encountered many moments of frustration and overwhelm when dealing with my daughter’s needs. It’s been challenging to navigate the balance between meeting her needs and also honoring mine.
CLUE: If you find yourself asking your children to perform tasks or chores with an emotional undertone, it may indicate that you are seeking validation or support rather than focusing solely on the practical aspect. The way to recognize this is ask yourself: if they weren’t here would I handle this situation by myself? If so, you may be asking them to meet your emotional need by doing the task instead of teaching a practical skill set that they may have LOTS of big feelings about learning.
Taking the time to explore and honor your needs is a powerful step towards self-awareness and personal growth. By doing so, you can approach your children from a place of authenticity and create a more balanced dynamic. It is essential to communicate your needs openly and honestly, fostering an environment of understanding and mutual respect.
Recognizing your own needs also allows you to model self-regulation and self-care to your children. By demonstrating healthy boundaries and self-awareness, you empower your children to develop their own sense of self-regulation and responsibility.
This week take time to embrace your needs, communicate them openly, and embark on your journey with a renewed sense of self-awareness and authenticity.
I’m a champion at all-or-nothing thinking. I always see my inner and outer circumstances as being all-good or all-bad. (Did you notice that I just said “always”? It’s hard to drop the habit even when I’m talking about it!). When I’ve experienced a loving connection with a close friend, or the thrill of feeling valued after an accomplishment, I tend to believe that the warm glow of feeling like I’m “enough” will stick around. I assume it will fill my cup for days or weeks at least… so the unavoidable descent to self-loathing catches me by surprise, and is all the more brutal. And the equally unavoidable rise to lightness, humor and appreciation catches me by surprise, in turn, over and over.
Because of this tendency, one aspect of Purejoy that has struck me the most is its support of balance, or neutrality, in a radical way which genuinely welcomes every side. Many times, in a coach training call or coaching session, I brought up a point of view that seemed pessimistic, skeptical or even hostile, and expected to be received with defensiveness or disapproval. And I was instead welcomed and thanked for “bringing the other side.” It was truly shocking!
It turns out that, gradually, I’ve started to trust that this “other side” is not something I need to fear and push down, shamefully “fixing” it and hiding it from others while wondering what’s wrong with me. Here’s how I found out: a few weeks ago, I overheard two moms talking, and when one asked the other what’s been going on, she answered, “oh, I’m just chilling.”
This reply astonished me – just chilling? Is that…an option? I’m not currently employed, and one of my two kids is in school full-time, which is similar to the circumstances of the chilling mom – but I am so far from chilling! I am constantly looking for a new way to express and fulfill my ideas and desires, including through stand-up, improv comedy, puppet plays for local schools, practice coaching and thinking about how to find more practice clients, collaborating on a podcast, shadowing a birthday clown, and more.
Even more than those activities, however, I would say that the reason I’m not chilling is because of the voice in my head that keeps saying, “OK, so what’s next? What do I cook next? What do I clean next? Do I call that friend? Do I sign up for that parenting conference? Do I take my kid for a walk? What’s the right next thing to do??” I mused about the contrast between me and this other mom while chopping vegetables for a soup that I had decided, with difficulty, was the right thing to cook that evening. Wouldn’t it be better and healthier for my kids if I could just chill, wouldn’t they grow up with less stress and less hamster wheel go-go-go mentality?
Suddenly, I heard another voice say: “maybe…and that’s not who you are.” In that moment I saw that there is a part of me that doesn’t chill, and this part is mine to keep forever. It’s not going anywhere, and it will continue to ask me to make plans, make decisions, weigh options, try something, decide against it, on and on. It will never be content or relaxed. Usually I bemoan qualities like this that I notice in myself, and this time, I didn’t feel any regret or hostility towards it. I was acknowledging something of mine without judgment, and it felt honest and had a note of kindness to it, though I was not trying to be kind to myself. It felt like I was recognizing a pet that had lived with me for a long time.
I’m not sure where the pet metaphor came from, because I’ve never had a dog or cat – I have only ever had a pet parakeet, and we didn’t have an inspiring pet-owner relationship. But it felt like the right way to capture that this side of me has its own personality, needs and desires, and that it’s living in my home and is not about to go anywhere. I viscerally felt that this pet, which I might call my Restless-Search-For-Fulfillment pet, is mine for as long as I live, whether I want it or not, so I might as well get to know it better, and learn how to get along with it with some kindness and humor.
The second such moment came yesterday, while I was in a bleak mood of loss of hope and meaning following a few triggers over the past few days. I was feeling quite dark, and eventually decided to play some piano so that I could feel my feelings. After flipping through my sheet music, I settled on the Funeral March by Chopin. I love this piece, and have found that it fits those states of mind when I’m feeling ready to either give up on myself or to experience some kind of transformative awareness. Some of my family don’t like when I play this piece for superstitious reasons, and it definitely carries an intensely sombre tone. As I played, I started to see that, just like the melody of this piece is something that I have with me to keep forever, this sombre mood is also mine to keep. I will, from time to time, from now until the Funeral March is played for me, feel the weight of this part of me which doesn’t believe in anything and doesn’t hope for anything.
Whether I developed this individually or absorbed it culturally, it is now a full-fledged part of me, and, as earlier, this realization came with some kindness and gentleness towards that part. I saw that I don’t need to do anything about it. And, in contrast to my all-or-nothing mindset, I saw that while this part is always inside, it is not always going to be the part whose voice I hear in my ears. Sometimes, as just the week before at an event with friends I had not seen for years, I will be most aware of my sociable, extroverted, excited part, the part that wants to make people laugh or let them know they’re loved and valued. Or the playful part that purely wants to have fun.
There is an ease and release that came with this realization, which felt sudden but has been years in the making. It feels as if I have started to welcome the ebb and flow of all the contrasting and, I can now see, not necessarily conflicting sides of me. I am so grateful to Purejoy for supporting me to see that no one is one-sided, as much as I’ve fantasized about living out of only my sweet, playful, generous parts. And for supporting me to feel a glimmer of appreciation for how all of these challenging sides enrich my life. They allow me to relate to others, including my own children, more deeply and authentically, because I have all the same sides in me, too. I wonder which side I will start to acknowledge next.
Masha is a Purejoy graduate from the class of 2021. She has mostly moved on from Guess Who to cushion fights with her son and setting up all the dinosaurs in a row along the piano keys with her daughter. She is now slightly favoring improv comedy classes over stand up open mics as a participant, though it’s still a toss up for which is more fun to watch.
In my journey as a parent, I have gained valuable insights and a unique perspective on parenting. It is important to note that the views I share are based on my own experiences and continuous self-inquiry. Over the years, my perspective on parenting has evolved and continues to evolve as I grow in consciousness and awareness. It is common, however, to feel guilt or self-criticism when our views change, looking back at past parenting decisions with regret. But it is crucial to remember that you did the best you could with the knowledge and consciousness you had at that time. As you strive to expand your consciousness and be there for yourself and your children, you can release any guilt or shame about the past and embrace a view of Purejoy.
Feeling guilty is often a refusal to fully embrace the present moment. Instead of beating yourself up for past actions, it is more productive to be intimately aware of your current reality. This aligns with the wisdom shared by my one of my mentors, Bruce Tiff. By accepting where you are now, you can let go of self-judgment and cultivate a loving relationship with yourself.
During a recent conversation with fellow parents, we delved into the distinction between power and influence. When you are emotionally triggered and feel powerless, it is natural to resort to powerful behaviors in an attempt to control your children’s actions. However, it is important to recognize that no one likes to be controlled or overpowered. True influence, on the other hand, stems from love. Sadly, our culture often undermines the power of love and favors actions driven by power and control. This overprotection and desire for control can lead to worry and a constant need to exert power over others, especially your children. Admitting your powerlessness over another person’s actions can be difficult, particularly in the parental role. You may believe that you have the power to make your children listen, respect you, and do as you say. But in reality, you do not possess this power. By consciously choosing influence over power, you can create a nurturing environment based on love.
Influencing others through love is not about pleasing or placating them. It is about tapping into the core tenderness of your love for humanity, embracing all aspects of yourself, including your flaws and imperfections. When you open your heart and let go of the need to control, you can authentically influence your environment with love. Your actions stem from a place of love, rather than being driven solely by your emotions. This shift from power to influence requires self-love and self-acceptance. It is not about loving others; rather, it is about recognizing the profound tenderness of your own being. When you experience this deep love, the door to influence opens, and your actions naturally emanate from a place of love.
Parenting from love is a powerful choice. It transcends the personal and embraces openness and clarity. It is difficult to put into words, as it is a feeling that can only be truly understood through your experience. Think about those moments when you are captivated by the beauty of a sunset, and your heart swells with love. That is the kind of influence we aim for as parents – one that arises from the depths of our love for ourselves and our children.
I encourage you to continue the journey of parenting from love, embracing influence over power. Let go of guilt and self-judgment, and instead, fully embrace the present moment. Parent yourself and your child with love, and allow your actions to flow from the wellspring of love within you.
Disappointment is a common emotion experienced by parents when their children don’t meet their expectations or fail to do what was expected of them. As a parent, you work hard to provide the best for your children and to be a responsible caregiver. However, when things don’t go as planned, disappointment can be overwhelming.
When my brother once told me that he would rather experience someone being angry with him vs disappointed, I didn’t understand why. But as I grew older and faced similar situations with my own child, I realized that disappointment carries a heavy weight and often feels like shame. It’s a painful emotion that can leave us questioning our abilities as parents.
I used to believe that if I did everything right, if I was always responsible and showed up the way I wanted to, my child would magically do what I asked and be happy about it. But that wasn’t the case. I remember a specific incident when I asked my child to give me my keys, and she refused. It was shocking because I had done everything right, or so I thought.
When we feel this way, it’s easy to blame our children and think that something is wrong with them. We may label them as defiant, resistant, or aggressive. In reality, this reaction is a form of denial. We project our disappointment onto our children, without taking a moment to understand what might be going on inside them.
As parents, we often strive for approval and try to fulfill our own unmet needs through our children. When our children don’t meet our expectations, we may feel a deep level of disappointment. This disappointment may stem from the heavy expectations placed on us by our own caregivers. We start questioning ourselves, thinking that we should have done more or better.
In moments of disappointment, it’s important to pause and offer yourself kindness. You may hold the belief that your children should listen to you unquestioningly. However, this belief assumes that you have authority as parents without putting in the effort to build a genuine relationship with your children. Your responsibility and desire to take care of everything can hinder your ability to understand your children’s perspectives when they say no or resist your requests.
By slowing down and exploring your own disappointments, you can uncover the root causes and recognize the impact of projecting your expectations onto your children. Remember that your happiness and fulfillment should not solely depend on your children’s actions. Instead work to find that inner sense of approval and contentment, independent of your children’s behavior.
Dealing with disappointment as a parent is challenging, but you can navigate it with self-compassion. When you feel disappointment, take your SafeSeat to reflect on your feelings. Be kind to yourself without believing your stories.
Embrace the moments of disappointment as opportunities for growth and self-reflection. Offer yourself kindness, understanding, and patience as you navigate the complexities of parenthood.
In the journey of parenting, we often encounter moments of frustration and overwhelm. It’s natural to feel triggered when our children’s behavior doesn’t align with our expectations. But what if there was a way to navigate these moments with more ease and grace?
Enter the concept of the SafeSeat. The SafeSeat is a foundational practice in Purejoy parenting, designed to support you in regulating your emotions and creating a safe and supportive environment for both yourself and your children.
The inspiration for the SafeSeat came from observing my daughter playing the game of tag. At first the game was fun and exciting as she ran around the field trying not to get tagged. Then WAM! the moment the tagger came after her she freaked out. She ran off the field screaming and grabbed onto my leg. She had an amygdala hi-jack and in that moment she perceived DANGER! As I continued to watch I saw kids, who were about to get tagged, fall down on the grown and say “I quit, I quit” while others hit the tagger. All of these young strategies were to protect themselves from the perceived danger.
When I explained to her that she could seek refuge in a designated safe base, such as a tree instead of getting tagged her world shifted. In this safe base, she could take a deep breath, regulate her emotions, and gather the courage to rejoin the game. This one step made all the difference for my daughter to be able to return to the game and find deep enjoyment.
Later, as I was contemplating this I realized that I was getting emotionally tagged daily with my daughter. It became clear that I didn’t have a safe base to run to so I was acting out all over the place. This was when the concept of the SafeSeat was born and I created my first seat on my couch…in the middle of the action.
You too can create a SafeSeat for yourself. When you feel emotinally triggered (tagged) by your children’s behavior, you can pause, take a deep breath, and find your own safe base in the midst of the action instead of acting out with your children. This SafeSeat allows you to regulate your emotions, offer yourself kindness, and shift from reactive responses to thoughtful, intentional parenting.
By practicing the SafeSeat, you can break free from old patterns and reactions that no longer serve you. Instead of yelling, punishing, or withdrawing, you can approach your children with empathy and understanding. You can recognize that their behavior is not a personal attack, but rather a reflection of their developmental stage and individual needs.
The SafeSeat also empowers you to support our children in navigating their own emotional journeys. By recognizing when you’re feeling triggered, you can take responsibility for your own emotions and create a safe space for your children to express themselves. You can become their safe base, offering stability and love as they navigate the ups and downs of life.
Practicing the SafeSeat is a transformative process that requires intention and commitment. It’s not about being perfect or avoiding challenges, but rather about cultivating self-awareness and choosing connection over reaction. With time and practice, the SafeSeat becomes a powerful tool for creating a harmonious and joyful parent-child relationship.
If you’re curious to learn more about the SafeSeat and its profound impact on parenting, I invite you to visit my website at purejoyparenting.com. There, you can access a free five-day video series that dives deeper into the SafeSeat process and its application in everyday parenting.
Remember, parenting is a journey of growth and learning. By embracing the concept of the SafeSeat, yoou can cultivate a safe and supportive environment where both you and your children can thrive.
The holiday season often brings us together with our families, and while these gatherings can be joyous occasions, they can also be challenging, especially when our parenting style differs from that of our relatives. It’s not uncommon to feel judged or criticized for our choices, which can create tension and defensiveness.
At first, I found myself on the defensive, firmly believing that my way of parenting was the right way, while everyone else’s approach was wrong. This mindset led me to confrontations and attempting to prove my family wrong. However, I soon realized that we simply had different values, rules, and ways of living. It was essential to shift my perspective and acknowledge that our differences didn’t make either side inherently right or wrong.
To navigate these situations successfully, I learned the importance of staying connected to my own values and supporting my child in understanding the environment we were entering. For example, if manners were highly valued in my family, I would communicate this to my child before the gathering. I explained the expectations, rules, and values that were important in my family’s home. It wasn’t about forcing my child to conform, but rather about demonstrating love for others values as well as our own.
Similarly, just as we prepare our children for school by explaining the expectations and rules, we can do the same for family gatherings. By setting clear expectations and discussing the lay of the land, we allow our children to make informed choices about how they want to show up. It’s crucial to emphasize that these expectations are not about right or wrong but about understanding and respecting the values of the environment we are entering.
Navigating family gatherings during the holiday season can be emotionally charged, but by reframing our mindset, we can approach these situations with grace and understanding. Rather than seeing our family’s values as a threat, we can hold onto our own values while supporting our children in understanding and adapting to the expectations they may encounter. This approach fosters open communication, empathy, and respect for different perspectives.
Remember, it’s not about proving anyone wrong or making anyone right. It’s about creating an environment of love, acceptance, and understanding, where we can all come together and celebrate the joy of being with our loved ones during this special time of year.
It is Thanksgiving week in the United States, and as we gather with loved ones to celebrate and express gratitude, it is also an opportune time to reflect on the power of gratitude in our parenting journey. Gratitude, often hailed as a powerful force, can bring about transformation when consciously cultivated and practiced.
As parents, we may sometimes find it challenging to feel grateful, especially when faced with the daily struggles and complexities of raising children. It is easy to get caught up in the mindset of constantly wanting to change or fix aspects of our parenting or our children’s behavior. However, shifting our perspective and finding gratitude even in the midst of challenges can lead to a profound shift in our experience as parents.
At times, you may feel pressured to feel grateful because you think you are supposed to. But true gratitude goes beyond mere obligation. It is about consciously acknowledging and appreciating the present moment, even when it may not align with your expectations or desires. It is about finding the beauty and lessons in every situation, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable.
Practicing gratitude involves taking intentional moments throughout the day to reflect. It can be as simple as noticing a beautiful sunset or expressing gratitude for your ability to see and appreciate it. It is about finding gratitude for the little things you often take for granted, like having two feet to walk on or the privilege of calling this Earth your home.
However, one of the most important aspects of gratitude is expressing it towards ourselves. In a culture that often drives us through self-criticism and the pursuit of an idealized version of ourselves, it can be challenging to offer genuine gratitude for who we are and what we are doing as parents. But by setting aside self-judgment and striving for perfection, we create space to acknowledge our efforts, growth, and the love we bring to our children’s lives.
So, as we embark on this week of gratitude, let us immerse ourselves in the practice of gratitude as a transformative parenting tool. Let us make it a priority to find moments of gratitude throughout our days, just as we would add spices to a recipe. It does not mean that we ignore or deny the existence of challenges or moments of discontent. Instead, it is about consciously choosing to focus on the things we appreciate, knowing that gratitude has the power to shift our perspective and invite more joy into our lives.
As we sit down to give thanks today, let us not only express gratitude towards our loved ones but also towards ourselves. Let us honor our journey as parents, acknowledging that we are doing our best with the resources and knowledge we have. Remember, the fact that you are here, seeking personal growth and striving to be a conscious and loving parent, is something to be truly grateful for.
From my heart to yours, I extend my deepest gratitude to each and every one of you. Thank you for joining me on this parenting adventure, and may this week be filled with love, joy, and a profound sense of gratitude.
Have a beautiful day.
Are you uniquely challenged in your parenting, especially when you have more than one child? Each child has their own individuality, with different regulatory systems, values, and preferences. As a parent, it can often feel overwhelming to address the needs of each child and navigate the pressure to parent in a certain way.
External influences, such as parenting advice or societal expectations, can create internal pressure for you as a parent. It’s common to have high hopes of offering your children something you may have lacked in your own upbringing. You may immerse ourselves in books and resources on conscious parenting, seeking guidance on how to be the best parent you can be.
However, it’s essential to recognize that not all traditional parenting methods align with your values and experiences. How your were parented may not resonate with how you choose to parent. Trusting your own wisdom becomes paramount in finding your unique way of parenting.
For single parents like myself, the pressure may be even more pronounced. With only ourselves and our child in the home, we may feel the weight of external expectations. When our children’s behavior triggers our own early templates of what is deemed acceptable or not, it’s crucial to pause and reflect.
Shifting your focus from telling your children what they can’t do to understanding the underlying emotions that are driving what they actually “are” doing can release external pressures. Instead of trying to mold your children into someone they are not, you can ask yourself, “What is going on for them inside that doesn’t feel okay in this moment?”
Recognizing that pressure often stems from within yourself allows you to create a more supportive and understanding environment for your children. While some pressure can be motivating, excessive pressure can hinder growth and lead to behavioral challenges.
Children may express their internal pressures through their behavior. They may act out, become aggressive, or withdraw when they feel overwhelmed. As parents, it’s essential to dig deeper and understand the underlying emotions driving their actions. By doing so, you can reduce the pressure they feel and create a space where they can move forward positively.
Finding the balance between support and challenge is key. It’s natural to experience pressure, but it’s important to differentiate between healthy and excessive pressure. When pressure becomes too intense, it can hinder progress rather than promote growth. It’s important to note that not all pressure is negative. Healthy challenges and deadlines can motivate and support growth.
By recognizing and addressing your own internal pressures, you can better understand your children’s behaviors and respond with empathy and guidance. When you release the need to fit into societal expectations and focus on your children’s individual needs, you create an environment that fosters their well-being and personal growth.
As you embark on this journey of parenting, strive to find balance, trust your instincts, and create a space where your children can flourish. It’s through understanding and supporting their unique needs that you can truly empower them to become their best selves.
Wishing you a beautiful week ahead!