how do you view children?
My view on children has grown immensely over the past 10 years.
When I studied my Bachelor of Early Childhood Education I learnt about the different paradigms we have in order to teach children. I studied how children develop and that each child is a unique individual. I completed work experience in a child care centre in year 10 and knew straight away I wanted to work with children. Whilst completing my degree I nannied for families and took on lots of babysitting. Even when I worked full time in a childcare centre I babysat most weeknights and weekends. I wanted to surround myself with children as I felt a deep and loving connection with them.
Children were always drawn to me. When I worked in the babies room in different childcare centres, I felt that I had a special connection with infants. Many of the babies felt calm and reassured when they were struggling with separation anxiety from their caregivers.
It was when I started teaching, that I really began to see how children would seek me out, wanting to share their deepest secrets, hurts and achievements.
It is only now after taking this journey, feeling into and healing my own inner self, I have been able to understand why this was taking place. When we are able to openly and actively listen to another person without any judgements, needing to fix, problem solve or give a solution, we start to feel like we are being heard on a truly deep level.
Children are born pure and their soul comes ready with everything they need inside of them to complete their journey in this world. However our view of children often comes from a societal conditioning from thousands of years. This idea often stems from religion that children are "naughty" and need to be disciplined. We need to train our children on how to sleep, eat, be in this world before they are competent being. It often goes hand in hand with this idea that most adults believe that they hold authority and knowledge over children.
If we stop and talk to children we begin to understand that although they do not know everything and definitely need to be guided by adults, they certainly have a far greater understanding of the world than we do. They are more attached to the natural flow and rhythm of the earth, as we, adults, have been conditioned to become disconnected from.
Children are easily disconnected from their parents in the schooling system. There are numerous before school, after school, weekend and holiday programs that take valuable time with the child away from their parents. This leaves little time, further compounded by the ‘rush of life,’ to establish and maintain strong connections between parent and child.
My belief is that children come to us, to show us what we need to personally heal in our lifetime. It is up to us as the adult to decide whether this is the journey we are willing to take. It can be incredibly daunting sometimes, having these small beings calling us out when we are not being true to ourselves.
Here is an example for you. The other day I was a bit tired and feeling run down. I was snappy and Mali turned to me and said "why are you not picking Kiki up?" as she was crying on the floor. I turned to her and said, " I'm feeling tired and I'm grumpy and I don't feel like holding her," then she turned to me and said the most amazing thing, "oh, that’s right you are just learning how to be a good mum." I stared at her in disbelief. The old paradigm of parenting (authoritarian) would've needed me to discipline her for speaking "out of line" to an adult. But from all the training and theory i have explored, I could see it from a different perspective. Here was my own daughter, calling me out as I was not being my true self.
Understanding that children are innately good and are not here to be "naughty, bad, nightmares, terrors" and whatever else we call them, helps us to see that sometimes when they are acting up there is a genuine reason. They are either tired, hungry or looking for connection. When we meet the needs of our children they are no longer in this state and we don't need to "punish" them. We only need to stop, take a breath and listen, and then we can see what they are asking of us.
This breaks away from the traditional, "we need to discipline our children, give them a consequence for their behaviour, withdraw love, place them somewhere on their own," but rather, "how can we connect and meet their needs, so we can move through this moment together."
As a society we need to change the way we view children in order for us to make a change with our parenting. This is the first and most important part to authentic change. When we move into a more conscious and aware parenting paradigm, we move to include respect for everyone as well as having unconditional love and empathy.
Be gentle with yourself, this post is not to shame you or make you feel guilt. This conditioning is deeply embedded into our culture. The information I am sharing here is to support you and open you up to others ways of viewing our children. When we make the shift, we can this begin to make some amazing changes in our own homes, communities and across the earth.