Valuing to see what makes us different or our weaknesses, as Strengths and to be accepting of them, is not easy. Neither as an individual nor as a parent. Unconsciously, there is a set standard of traits that are seen as strengths and weaknesses. I am thankful to be around in this generation, as today, there is much more awareness, acceptance and opportunities available for our differences, yet, there is a lot of work that needs to be done.
Though I am aware of this as a concept, when it comes to practice, I face a lot of challenges. Either in terms of peer pressure or my own wiring that I ought to unlearn. As a small example: We feel our daughter moves a lot instead of sitting still. We think that bringing all of her attention by being serene and calm, will impact her ability to focus and in turn lead to fewer mistakes. Mistakes that could be easily avoided. However, when I stepped back and observed myself. Felt some kind of tension between us(Parents and our daughter)in those situations.
A few of the approaches that I take, to help me overcome such situations,
- I seek the support of similar-minded mothers, and caregivers and understand my dilemmas. I am presently reading the book, Minding Bodies suggested by Vaishali of @Ammatoday
- Books by Subject Matter Experts and researchers are my other resources. At a free Parenting conference, I heard Dr Kathy Koch, talk about 8 different SMARTS( based on the multiple intelligences concept).
My daughter, then I realised, at present is Body smart and Picture smart.
“ Raise the children you were given, and not the children you wish to have.”
Another resource worth checking is CliftonStrengths
- Coincidentally this week, I came across this amazing article by Richard Branson. As parents, we need to keep reminding /reassessing ourselves, what is it really that matters in life? What are the core values we strive for? What is the feeling about themselves that we want our kids to live with?
- Empowering our own kids, to be accepting of their differences too is important. And one of my favourite go-to is Children’s books. Bird Hugs by Ged Adamson is one such book. Also, a particular part of the book Mixed Emotions by DK Publishers is very helpful in this aspect.
One of the aspects of Parenting, that I enjoy, is that this journey is giving me an opportunity to Parent myself, in ways, that are healing, strengthening and empowering.
Again, though I agree, in my mind and heart, that I need to accept my differences or that of my daughter, I also see a part of my heart's craving for belonging. But where do I draw the line? Do I have to? I think no book can answer these specific questions with respect to our children or ourselves. We need to figure it out. However, books, mentors, and others’ experiences can act as a guide, and give information.
I wasn’t able to understand this dichotomy until I read “ Atlas of the Heart” a must-read book by Brene Brown even if you are not a Parent. As it helped me go deeper with different emotions and feelings that I experience, could name them, understand where they come from, and what they are trying to convey about me.
I learnt that I can’t answer the above aspects for my daughter, but can empower her with this awareness around these emotions at an appropriate age. Till then, I need to be understanding of her aspiration to be herself and to have belonged. As a parent, I learned to approach this with greater awareness due to this book.
Below are a few experts related to the above emotion with the hope that you will grab the book soon, but there is so much more to this book.
PS: These thoughts are from a mother of a 5-year-old, so they may or may not be relevant to everyone.