Are you a resilient parent?

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We naturally want to take away the pain, make it better or set it right and the desire to protect our children can make us susceptible to overparenting and becoming overprotective, particularly when our own anxieties are triggered.

The only way I know to fully connect with my children and feel completely fulfilled as a parent is to keep my heart wide open and attuned to whatever is going on for them. I am blessed to be invited to share in the details of their lives: their worries, stresses, pain and struggles alongside their joy, excitement, accomplishments and discoveries. It is in these details that I really know and understand my children, and recognise their needs.

A close parent-child connection helps to give children a deep-felt sense that they are safe, cared for and valued and this bond is strengthened each time we respond to our children’s need for comfort and show sensitivity to their feelings. As parents we want to reinforce these positive experiences regularly. This healthy attachment helps our children feel secure and loved and consequently grow into optimistic, happy adults with a positive self-image and good emotional control.

Having a close relationship with our children means we get an up close look at their world and their experiences within it. Whether it be managing playground bullying, overcoming fear of the dark or coping with a family crisis, a child’s worries are concerning to parents. We naturally want to take away the pain, make it better or set it right and the desire to protect our children can make us susceptible to overparenting and becoming overprotective, particularly when our own anxieties are triggered.

Our children’s struggles may trigger memories of traumatic events in our own lives, or unresolved feelings about our own past interactions, so we find ourselves unconsciously caught up in our own stories when dealing with theirs. Concerns over our children often mask our own displaced anxieties.

Self-awareness and self-observation can help parents to develop mindfulness. We need to check-in and look at how we are directing our attention. We need to identify what thoughts and emotions are coming up for us in the moment – anger, hurt, panic, etc. and resist the impulse to react to these. It is this practice that helps us change thinking patterns, manage behaviours and ultimately develop resilience. 

Rising above our own anxiety helps to reduce our impulse to control outcomes for our children. When parenting with greater self- awareness we are better placed to raise resilient children.

How to practice resilient parenting.
  1. Encourage independence. When children independently complete tasks, they learn to trust and appreciate their own skills and capabilities.
  2. Allow for uncertainty. Worry and anxiety show up when we try something new, different or challenging and rather than helping to remove the obstacles we want to encourage our children to confront them and learn to problem solve.
  3. Encourage a difference of opinion. Children who do not learn to stand up for themselves and express their own opinions are more inclined to conform to negative peer pressure.

Raising children presents us with a profound opportunity to grow and evolve as people. The love I have for my own children is a huge motivating factor in wanting to be a better person. I do not want to burden them with my old, unconscious behaviour patterns, nor impact them with my own insecurities.

Learning to manage our own fears and become more resilient enables us to create an environment that feels calm, stable and secure for our children and ourselves.

If you would like to learn more I am hosting a Resilience For Tweens and their Parents Workshop on May 24th In Melbourne, Australia.
Resiliency helps our children navigate the inevitable hurdles, challenges and triumphs of childhood and adolescence. Resilient kids also become resilient adults, able to survive and thrive in the face of life’s unavoidable stressors.
This workshop offers a unique opportunity to connect with your tween and explore resilience together using art and yoga in a fun, gentle, supportive environment. You do not need any previous yoga or creative experience to be a part of this workshop.  You do however need to bring a sense of curiosity and a willingness to spend some precious, uninterrupted time with your child exploring new terrain.
More info over here...
Michelle Seelig is the proud mother of 2 creative, courageous girls and has worked in health and well-being for 25 years. She is a qualified Yoga Teacher, Health Coach and an artist with a Masters degree in Art Therapy. Using art, yoga and coaching practices in her workshops Michelle combines her skills and insights to deliver a unique, creative and transformative experience.

Teaching tweens how to set boundaries

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It is human nature to avoid pain, including emotional pain, whether it is ours or someone else’s. So we need to help our children navigate the fear and guilt that may come with learning to set boundaries.

This morning my daughter wanted to have a ‘strategy meeting’ regarding how to deal with a boy that, according to his friends, ‘liked’ her. It should be said from the outset that these feelings were not mutual, and her friends had been sure to make this clear to this poor boy. My daughter is sensitive and was feeling uncomfortable, not only about the unwanted attention but also about how to address the issue and this boy.

Many of us, when unexpectedly placed in a situation where it is difficult to say ‘no’, will agree to something that is to our own detriment. Most of us have had the experience of agreeing to help out or be there for others when we don’t have the time, energy or resources ourselves.

Saying NO can be awkward and uncomfortable and this makes it difficult for tweens to set boundaries.

When we do things out of guilt or obligation – please others even when it contradicts what’s best for us or avoid expressing our thoughts and feelings when someone upsets us, we are succumbing to fear. We may fear rejection, so we say yes and abide by what we feel is expected of us. We may fear confrontation, so we go along with things just to make it easier. We may also feel guilt as a result of saying ‘no’ or hurting someone’s feelings.

So how do we explain to our children not only WHY it is important to prioritise our own well-being but also HOW?

Learning to set boundaries are key skills in creating healthy and emotionally sustaining relationships. If we can teach our  children to first recognise and then proritise their own well-being we are teaching them self-worth. When our children can recognise and accept what they truly desire, they no longer have to look for approval outside of themselves, which gives them the freedom to be who they really are.

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others. We can’t base our own worthiness on others’ approval.”

– Brené Brown

My daughter and I talked about how to sit with having hurt someone’s feelings. It was important for her to be able to see that though her honesty meant this boy was disappointed she wasn’t in fact being rude. She was being truthful and sometimes often even for adults this can take a lot of courage. Our obligation to others is to be respectful, however we are not responsible for the other person’s response. We are only responsible for ourselves.

And with that we skipped off to school together discussing homework  and how to get it finished on time.

If you would like to learn more about taking brave steps in your own life, or perhaps you have a tween that you feel would benefit from learning more about resilience, I will be holding a series of Art and Yoga workshops in and around Melbourne where we will explore these ideas in a creative and supportive environment.One workshop is for adults and the focus is on Bravery and Courage. The other workshop is for tweens and parents/caregivers and addresses Resilience. No yoga or art experience is necessary.

Bookings open shortly but places are limited, so if you are interested in being notified early jump over here to register.

Michelle Seelig is the proud mother of 2 creative, courageous girls and has worked in health and well-being for 25 years. She is a qualified Yoga Teacher, Health Coach and an artist with a Masters degree in Art Therapy. Using art, yoga and coaching practices in her workshops Michelle combines her skills and insights to deliver a unique, creative and transformative experience.

 

 

How to have an honest chat with yourself

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Still your body

Settle your thoughts

Focus your attention on the clean, white page before you that will soon hold all of your answers.

Wait,

I feel you scuttling away

To get some tea, to tidy up , to quickly attend to another matter.

We circle, but rarely land.

It’s time now, to come home.

The answers you are seeking are right before you.

They are hiding in the empty lines, buried under the surface of that crisp, white page.

Until you mark them with your thoughts, your own truth will remain untold.

Stay seated right where you are, in your own dilemma,

For without this commitment you will continue facing a crisp white page that has much potential,

But no answers.