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  • Michaela Patel


I am a loving, deeply caring, for most parts aware parent who every so often feels like total failure...

Any truly responsible parent would agree that parenting is far the hardest job they have come across. We go in heavily blinded by a common assumption of 'I turned out just fine, sure I must know how to bring up a child' as there aren't schools of parenting, nor compulsory training courses.

Imagine doing your current job without any coaching. How would it look like without attending college or university, without any preceeding training or a quality assurance program. At its worst you would end up in jail, at its best injury lawyers would sue your ass!

Isn't this how we sometimes feel when disciplining our children?

I feel that the greater my awareness, the more challenging the process for me and all involved. It must be where the phrase 'painfully aware' originated. Ignorance can trully be (at least a temporary) bliss! But of course, the rewards of aware parenting long term far outweigh the little effort which goes into a quick fix.

Oh Lord, how much we sin!

Holding onto our tried and tested methods, our 'I know what to do', or 'you should try this' helpful suggestions of our trusted folks, we get propped up by our religion and culture, sitting tall on our parental throne. (Which really is rather a giant wobble cushion.)

But even without a definitive parenting manual, for us to read once our children have finally fell asleep, there are certain (sadly very common) errors we must try to avoid. In no particular order, let me introduce our worst sins. May these form the basics of your parenting bible!

A/ Thinking that our care will somehow make our children weak and lacking.

Caring ‘way too much’ for our children is a myth which has caused irrepearable damage for generations. We must make a distinction between care and control. An unaware mind assumes it 'knows best'. What will surely make our children weak is taking their ability to make choices for themselves (appropriate to their age) out of their own hands.

A child needs their parents to care, help, and support them. Not to control, drag along, or push them into making decisions which ‘are in their best interest’. Guidance is explaining various options in age appropriate language, allowing a space for a open discussion without coercion. An aware parent co-creates. An unaware parent starts conversation with the final result on his or her mind. Such talk is bound to be manipulative in nature, ensuring the imagined result is achieved at all costs. In the process disregarding the child’s free thought processes and disrespecting his feelings on the matter. Such children end up feeling used and as though they don’t matter before reaching adulthood. A sure downward insecurity spiral, coupled with their inability to trust themselves to make important life choices.

Caring is awareness. Love is wisdom.

In order to allow our children space to understand themselves, we must allow that space to ourselves. We must experience our freedom of thought and emotion without judgement to be able to non-judgementally explore the same with them. We must gain control over our own need for control if we are to allow other souls a compassionate space to be and act. To have control over others is selfish. To have control over ourselves is self-loving.

B/ Having different standards for different people.

Having double standards implies inequality. Be it sex, religious beliefs, skin colour, or status, an unaware person doesn’t even realise the level of disrespect to themselves. From a physical/biological/scientific perspective before certain gestational age we have non of the above. We all are worm-like, few millimetres of life without appendages. Equally precious indeed! Showing our children that others aren’t as worthy is hypocritical the least.

Aware parents treat everyone with the same level of respect. When a child is shown that there are hierarchical differences, he or she will become judgemental, towards others at first. Unknowingly this judgment reaches the Self and one starts to compare him/herself internally against anyone and everyone. Falling short sometimes this negative self-feedback leads to a deep sense of insecurity, which only fuels further self-comparison in desperate attempt to find someone worse off. In extreme circumstances the intense, inner turmoil leads to an emotional glitch: the illusion of superiority at the expense of complete lack of empathy (narcissism).

Respect is love. Self-love is having enough self-respect to avoid going against ourselves.

C/ Not keeping our promises.

Walking the talk is how our children learn about us, but mainly about themselves. Being unreliable will make them feel disappointed and distrustful long term. Worst yet if we are asking our children to lie for us! What will they learn?

An unaware parent talks without being conscious to the consequences of the words that come out of their mouth. Children look up to their parents and expect nothing but truth. Being truthful with your child is teaching them that words have positive power and yield results. As supposed to unpleasant vacuum called emptiness and failure. For a young, developing mind when words mean nothing they can be used to get something - another dangerous distortion which ‘nurtures’ the development of a highly manipulative mind. Coupled with low self-esteem, such child becomes the ticking bomb likely to blow up the lives of many unaware bystanders together with theirs.

Truth sets our inner compass. When it is faulty, we get lost in life.

Thank you for reading. If my article contributed to understanding yourself, please be generous and share it with others.

Copyright © 2020 Michaela Patel


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