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Parenting is probably one of the most enduring and committed choices one can take in life. There is no better example in life where one’s rights come inseparably with a series of responsibilities. We believe that although we all have the right to be parents, not all of us are equipped to be capable parents.
Whilst there is no one right way to parent a child, there are some proven principles that govern and underpin the safe and healthy parenting of a child. Parenting is an assumed skill and discipline that is now proving to be subject to intense scrutiny and debate as at a societal level the statistics show we are increasingly raising children who lack the internal resources and sense of identity to cope with adult rights, responsibilities and challenges.
Attachment parenting offers a full philosophy, science and wealth of knowledge of the critical function of the in-utero bonding, and then post birth physical and emotional bonding between mother and child literally shapes the emotional, mental and physical health outcome of the later individuated child.
We offer a series of workshops that address childhood development issues from a number of perspectives. We also work with parents on where their own developmental needs may not have been met growing up, or where abuse or trauma occurred, and how that may interfere with their being able to parent their own children in a consistent manner.
Many parents did not get the skills and support to step into this most important role and would benefit from the guidance and support of informed counselling in this area. Our philosophy of parenting begins with the parent themself.
We believe from a BodyMind perspective that many prospective parents have preliminary work to do in regards to fertility, detoxing of the body, and lifestyle choices will require focus in order to give the in-utero child the best start in life. The 9 month pregnancy journey is not just time-in-waiting, but represents the critical time of establishing the bond between the parents and the child, and already shaping its development through sound and touch, and through positive support of the mother.
Once born the practice of parenting must remain an individual matter for every single parent to determine for themselves. What is true is that the developing child goes through a series of “windows” of brain and BodyMind developmental stages, where the child is adapting to its perception and experience of its environment.
The parents play a key role in shaping that experience and the reality of the child. Primarily its all about quality time, attention and direction being made available from the parent to the child, and the physical touch, nurturance, emotional availability and love that is felt by the child.
There remains no substitute for time and attending to children with the entirety of one’s being, where the connectedness makes it safe for the child to express, to play and to explore its environments and boundaries. Holding a space for a child whilst still being able to meet your own adult needs is a constant juggling act that requires flexibility, sacrifice and the ability to open the heart to the difficult situations that arise.
This balancing act often deteriorates when either one is sick, or we experience overwhelm, and we can find ourselves experiencing feelings towards our child that frighten and distress us. We may struggle to get the support we need as parents ourselves.
Parenting can become overwhelming when we cannot get assistance or solutions but with some key skills any overwhelm can be handled and overcome so we can regain our groundedness and stay present for our children.
In many ways the adult makes a child, but the child makes the adult. Heartfelt parenting helps a parent rediscover the innocence and playfulness of their own child, and from this place we come attuned to the needs and wants of the child.
We are naturally embodied as parents, living from our hearts and gut instincts with our children, and relegate the rational “head” to a more secondary role, except where the stress of demanding careers and jobs force us from this way of being.
Finding enough time to really meet a child in their world is difficult in our career obsessed society, where time is limited, and the state of the parent is often compromised for what the child needs to thrive.
When we meet a child in their world we are prepared to play and be magical just as the child naturally is. Empathy is the ability to stand in the shoes of another, or meet them in their reality, which is the calling of every parent to play with their child.
Children need the innocence of childhood to be children. They will soon be grown and can never reclaim their childhood once lost.
We owe it to them not to rush them into adulthood before their time, and to hold a space in this most precious journey and rite of passage as they find themself, their way and their place in the world.
Richard participates as a presenter and supporter of the Not-For-Profit parenting charity called The Fathering Project. He assists and volunteers in the sharing and exploring with dads what are some positive parenting skills dads need, how important dads are to their children and family, and what issues try us all as fathers in our journeys in being positive parents and good-enough dads.