The Purejoy Parenting Blog
In order to embrace parenting as a path of discovery, we must face our fear of the unknown.
If we are afraid of discovering the truth about ourselves, we will focus our attention on controlling our children.
When we try to change our child, we are avoiding the deepest parts of ourselves. These are the same parts that have the potential to change our lives if we can meet them.
Often, we avoid traveling a new path because of our fear of what might happen. We fear being outed from our families, seen as crazy, or losing the love of those we long to make proud.
But abandoning our wisdom to fit into our families creates a division inside us, which eventually comes out in our parenting.
What can finally bring us to the point of true change in our parenting?
Usually it is when we get crystal clear that if we don’t, we will be passing our fears down to our children.
When we realize that our reaction to our child’s behavior is the source of our suffering, not the behavior itself, it becomes possible to meet that moment with kindness.
Our suffering becomes the unexpected gift that guides us back to ourselves.
This can change a lifetime of self-aggression and pain, opening us to the pure joy that is our birthright.
Listen to podcast Ep. 35 “Parenting as a Practice”
The first time I read about attachment parenting, something inside said, YES!
I was raised in a very traditional home, so even the thought of co-sleeping with my child seemed radical.
Fortunately, I have a strong desire to dive deep under my conditioning to meet my inner wisdom.
I was determined to forge a NEW path, one that felt true.
In the beginning, I was excited and focused! I jumped in fully. I did co-sleeping, meeting her needs on demand and following her lead. I was determined to follow my heart, but along the way, I started running into some big time doubt.
Everyone around me began judging the way I was parenting, criticizing and blaming me for my child’s behavior.
At the time I didn’t understand that I was triggering their discomfort by stepping out of the mainstream parenting norm. I took it personally and started questioning myself.
For the next few years, I flip flopped back and forth between traditional methods and the more conscious methods of my original vision.
I’m sure it was crazy-making for my daughter when one minute I was yelling and the next I was loving and kind.
Finally, one of my close family members wrote a scathing letter telling me what a BAD parent I was. That was a turning point. Something inside snapped and I got crystal clear.
I had to COMMIT to a path, and fully practice whichever path I chose.
Following my heart and I chose the path of doing my inner work, instead of controlling outside circumstances.
Through this work, I understood myself, especially when I acted out, and this led to a better understanding of my daughter as well.
Surprisingly, as I offered kindness to myself, I was able to offer kindness outward, even to my family who didn’t understand my parenting.
The judgement I felt from the external was really about the inner judgement I had for myself.
Forging a new path is filled with excitement, but don’t be surprised if you have moments when you want to turn back.
It takes courage and commitment to stay on your chosen path, especially when others don’t understand.
Take your stand and carry on.
Listen to podcast Ep. 34 “Parenting, the Perfect Set-Up “
I had a fantasy. I thought that just because I wanted to be the best parent ever, I would naturally know how to do it.
I’d read a lot of parenting books and was clear on how I should act and yet every day I found myself yelling, consequencing and shaming my daughter.
I did all the things I NEVER wanted to do and my fantasy became a nightmare.
It was all about me and what my child was doing to ME at this point. I felt disrespected. I felt dishonored. I felt hurt.
I looked through the traditional lens of parenting and saw that she needed to be corrected and taught a lesson so that I could feel like a good mom.
Once I chose to look through the Purejoy lens, I started to see that my daughter only acted out when she was stressed and needed my support.
From this view I could focus on my child, and not make it all about ME. When she acted out I saw that she was feeling disrespected. She was feeling emotionally unsafe. She was feeling hurt.
It wasn’t all about ME anymore, so I could take responsibility for my part in the dynamic.
I asked myself: Do I have an agenda? Am I pushing or pulling her? I found there was always a cause for her behavior that I could tune into.
It takes practice to turn your attention from focusing on what you think your child is doing to you, to see what your child is expressing about their OWN INTERNAL EXPERIENCE.
When you don’t take your child’s behavior personally, you can show up to support them through their experience.
If you take it personally, you will want them to stop what they are doing in order to support YOU.
When you do take it personally (and you will) you can practice moving to your SafeSeat, offering yourself loving kindness. This takes the pressure off of needing your child to do this for you.
You can download a free 5-day teaching on the SafeSeat here
As you practice releasing your child from being the cause of your suffering you will find a new place to parent from. Purejoy.
Listen to podcast Ep. 33 ” A Different View of Parenting
It’s hard to honor your child if you weren’t honored in your own family.
As a child, your parents may not have been able to receive you as your full self. Instead, they would pick and choose which parts of you made them comfortable.
When I became a parent, I carried this pattern with me. I wanted to honor my daughter and yet my actions kept revealing something different.
I found myself judging her and only valuing certain expressions. I wanted her to only exhibit traits that I saw as “good” and not any that I saw as “bad.” I was only willing to value one side of her expression.
If she wouldn’t get off the computer, I saw her as addicted. If she wouldn’t do what I asked, I saw her as rejecting. When she asked for something, I saw her as demanding. When she wouldn’t share with friends, I saw her as selfish and rude.
At the time, I didn’t realize that this was just a reflection of the way I saw myself.
What I had rejected in myself, I also rejected in my daughter.
Slowly, I began to realize that if I was ever going to truly honor my daughter, I would have to honor ALL of me as well.
Each day, I took tiny steps towards loving all the parts of me that I had hidden away in order to be more acceptable to my parents. It was NOT comfortable, but I tenderly welcomed them home, giving them each a seat at the table.
As I did, something miraculous happened. I was finally able to honor my daughter.
Listen to podcast Ep. 32 “Honoring the Child in You”
Have you ever wondered why your child acts sneaky?
The bottom line is this: if they don’t feel emotionally safe expressing their needs, they will resort to being sneaky.
We all came into the world with needs and it is our main job in life to get them met.
If you see your child’s attempts to meet their needs as demanding, asking for too much, self-seeking or self-serving, they will get the message that expressing needs is dangerous in your family.
Instead of coming to you directly, they will have to get sneaky!
Check it out for yourself. You might have a need for your child to help around the house.
What happens inside if they roll their eyes as if you are asking too much?
Instead of owning your need do you get sneaky projecting onto them that they are selfish, lazy and unsupportive of the family if they don’t comply?
Do you tell yourself that they are ungrateful or entitled?
Asking directly for your needs can feel vulnerable. When you expressed your needs as a child, your parents may have seen it as an emotional threat and negatively labeled you.
Do you see how the cycle goes?
If you ask for something that you need, child says NO.
BOOM! Your sneaky power takes over and you make it all about them.
Would you love to create an emotionally safe home, where no one has to sneak, and you can practice offering kindness and acceptance to the needy one in you? Learn how in my FREE 5-day SafeSeat practice. Click here.
As you do, your heart will naturally open to your child’s needs.
When needs are valued, your family will blossom.
You will be on your way to creating the loving environment that you always wanted.
Each member of your family will relax into who they really are: humans with beautiful needs.
I have created this dynamic in my home and supported hundreds of parents to do the same.
Try it out and let me know how it goes.
For more on this topic listen podcast Ep. 31 “Are You Sneaky with Your Needs?”
When our children misbehave it is easy to see THEM as the problem because it gives us permission to step into fixit mode. It takes courage to turn towards ourselves and see our part in the dynamic.
I didn’t want to admit that my daughter saw my behavior as a threat to her emotional safety. I convinced myself that pushing, pulling, forcing and having an agenda was a “good” thing.
I bought into the conditional parenting narrative that it was up to me to motivate my child to do things that I perceived were important to her success in the future.
Over and over I pushed past her boundaries and forced my parenting agenda on her. The angrier she got the more I saw her as having a problem that needed to be fixed.
She was trying to tell me to “back off” and yet my fear of the future was so strong I forged ahead.
I thought she was the PROBLEM.
I didn’t know how to take personal responsibility for the experience I had when she refused to follow what I thought was best for her.
When I recognized I was positioning as a victim I knew I had to make a HUGE turn towards personal responsibility in my relationship with my feelings.
I committed to owning my agendas and my need for her to be different than she was.
Slowly, I questioned my conditioning and saw how I’d do almost anything to prove I was a “good” mom according to the cultural norm.
I was throwing my daughter under the bus to please others.
Seeing this caught my attention and slowly I opened up listening to the small quiet voice inside urging me towards creating a safe emotional environment where we could both thrive.
To hear more:
Listen to podcast Ep. 30 “Moving From Your Head to Your Heart In Parenting”
When my daughter was young, I’d always look forward to our park visits.
I’d convince myself everything was going to go great and she would behave perfectly.
I mean what could go wrong, right? Tons of screaming kids running around fighting over who could go down the slide first. Tons of moms starved for adult attention while their kids acted out. Everyone wanting to be seen, heard and understood at the same moment.
And of course, I wanted my daughter to have “perfect” behavior so I could be the “perfect” mom and fit in with all the other moms.
It was a set up for disaster and yet every time I exerted pressure on myself and my daughter to get it right.
Over time, I noticed it wasn’t very fun to go to the park and it dawned on me I was living in a fantasy world and scared to face reality.
I was basing my happiness on what I thought I could control externally instead of focusing on the true happiness in the moment.
In comparing to others and my desire for perfection I missed the ONE thing I longed for my whole life: the experience of being a MOM. Not a perfect mom, just a mediocre mom loving my perfectly imperfect child.
When I saw through a different lens I relaxed and stopped seeing my daughter’s behavior as a threat to my well-being.
I noticed when she was stressed she would communicate through her behavior.
Slowly, as I took care of myself I came alongside her when she needed me the most.
I noticed how precious she was especially when she was trying to take care of herself.
I offered love and support instead of criticism and blame.
It has been a profound journey seeing through a different lens.
Listen to podcast Ep. 29 “Fixing the Problem Never Works”
We all want to be more conscious in our parenting and yet during times of stress we can end up regressing into old behaviors of blaming and complaining about our children.
In my parenting when this happened I would beat myself up since I knew better. And yet the harder I was on myself the more I acted out.
I had to find another way and I did.
First, I opened the door to unconditional kindness. Now, this is very different from conditional kindness.
My definition of conditional kindness was“be nice” and I definitely wasn’t very nice when I was under stress.
Unconditional kindness looked like offering kindness to the feelings that were driving my behavior.
Instead of trying over and over to “be nice” and failing I took myself to my SafeSeat when I acted out and listened to the one who desperately needed to be seen and heard.
This “younger” self always had a BIG feeling story to tell.
Creating a space where kindness was present to those BIG feelings opened my heart in a profound way.
I didn’t actually know what true love felt like. I’d learned early to purchase love by rejecting and abandoning myself and doing my best to act “nice”.
Under stress my “mean” came out and over time I learned to offer her unconditional love without guilt and shame.
Listen into my podcast Ep 28 “Under Stress You’ll Regress” to learn how to offer unconditional kindness to your child when they regress.
Listen to podcast Ep. 28 “Under Stress, You’ll Regress”
We often hear “be in the moment” and yet our cultural conditioning is focused on planning for the future. No wonder we get confused when meeting our little people.
Even though we understand the importance of staying in the moment, our busy minds are constantly projecting into the future.
And yet, during these times when we haven’t a clue what the future holds it is compelling to turn towards the precious moments we have with our children.
Playing in the sand, smelling the flowers, talking with strangers…all seem to be more important as we face the truth that we’ve never had a clue as to what is to come.
Trying to plan, futurize, control or prepare our children for the future we imagined is quickly fading.
So, how do you parent during these times knowing that the skill sets you learned to be in the world may not support them in the new story we are entering.
Look deeply inside your beating heart beyond right and wrong.
Take the time to remember why you decided to be a parent.
It is a time to ask yourself, “what am I for ?” instead of fighting what you are against.
If there isn’t a cultural or political voice telling you what is right or wrong can you stand up and claim what you are “for” as a parent?
Are you willing to let go of your conditioned template of how to parent, trusting your deeper knowing in the moment?
What feelings come up when you imagine this?
If fear arises can you wrap it in the arms of kindness?
Unconditional kindness for your beautiful being, not for your behavior.
You are as precious as your child and deserve to be seen, heard and understood as much as they do.
Let’s step into this exquisite moment together.
The definition I align with for emotional safety is: “In psychology, emotional safety refers to an emotional state achieved in attachment relationships wherein each individual is open and vulnerable.”
In my parenting, I made a commitment to put my eggs in the basket of emotional well-being and support for my daughter to emotionally mature. What this required was I had to “grow” myself up and take responsibility for being the adult in our relationship. It was challenging at times because I’d come to the conclusion, as a child, that being open and vulnerable were dangerous.
It became clear I couldn’t be open and vulnerable until I was willing to set healthy personal boundaries. I’d convinced myself it was OK to bind and limit my daughter so I didn’t have to set a personal boundary to take care of myself.
I was putting all my energy into controlling her behavior instead of turning inside to offer kindness to the stories and feelings arising.
Every time I chose to bind and limit her it was because I wasn’t willing to open to the vulnerable feelings that were evoked when she acted in ways that were uncomfortable.
I was demanding she be open and vulnerable and yet I wasn’t willing to meet her there. It was easier to blame her and position as a victim to her behavior than to turn toward my vulnerability with kindness.
I created the SafeSeat process to support having a safe emotional place to open to the vulnerable part in me instead of acting out with my daughter.
As I did, I began to see her behavior through a different lens. When she acted out I was the emotional threat. YIKES.
Slowly, I took steps to set my healthy personal boundaries, growing myself up so I could show up in an emotionally safe way.
You can too.
Listen to podcast Ep. 27 “Creating Emotional Safety in Your Home”