Becoming a Parent, Older Children

Parent emotional health

Parent emotional health

Becoming a parent reawakens in us our own experiences of being parented and can evoke both joyful and painful feelings and memories. By coming to understand our own life course we open up to fully connecting with our children and promoting their secure attachment.

We may not have had a perfect childhood, but through these first relationships we learnt about love. The messages we received shape the way we form attachments and most often we are unaware of their power. We are not responsible for the messages we received however being conscious of them brings awareness that things can change.

There are many things we can do to improve our parenting and free ourselves from acting on harmful messages we may have received. We can learn about child development so we are working from a realistic set of beliefs and expectations. We can also learn strategies and skills for interacting with our children in positive ways and for handling the challenging issue of childrearing well.

One hallmark of emotional health in parents is the ability to deeply understand themselves and their early life experiences. Another is the ability to think about the experiences of their baby from their baby’s perspective.

If you find yourself repeatedly experiencing overwhelming or intense reactions toward your children; if you are feeling extremely angry, yelling, have high levels of stress or anxiety; notice discomfort at your baby’s needs and are wanting to withdraw; these are all indicators that the feelings and experiences of your childhood are colouring your current interactions. When we worry excessively about what others think of our parenting, when we blame our children for our strong reactions we can be sure that we are in the presence of unresolved past issues.

The reward for taking the journey of self understanding is a better relationship with ourselves and our children.

Information sourced from The Centre for Attachment.


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