I realise I’m potentially being controversial here so please bare with me. Your happiness as a parent is more important than your children’s.
As a parent, you are one of the greatest teachers to your children. Their understanding of the world comes from you, how they see you and how you interact with them. They will pick up and form thousands of messages and beliefs from the experiences around them. Whether homemakers are valued or if having the career and family meets everyone’s needs. If it is safe to express their emotions or if anger is only allowed to be shown by men. Are women strong and independent or do they need a man to save them? Is the man of the house passive to the woman, or is his word law and that’s final.
By the time a child is 5 years old, they will have formed the majority of their beliefs about themselves. These beliefs they will carry into adulthood long after they have served their purpose. As an adult, there are patterns you will have repeated your whole life without realising. Not all of these beliefs are useful now. Learning to be seen but not heard kept you safe as a child. As an adult though you may find it difficult to speak publicity, as you go against this strong childhood belief. Keeping your emotions hidden to avoid a parent’s anger, doesn’t help you to communicate your feelings in relationships later on. Being a good girl may have gained you favour but it doesn’t help you to set healthy boundaries to say no.
There are many beliefs we hold, that hinder us as adults. They were useful when we were children when we had no power to change our circumstances. As children, we learnt many of these things from our parents and the other adults in our lives. Wrongly or rightly, they taught us what they themselves knew. If they had known differently, they would have taught us differently. As parents now, we have the opportunity to begin breaking some of these beliefs. We all have qualities or experiences we felt were missing from our own childhood. These make great starting points to make conscious changes.
When you look at your children and see qualities you dislike, ask yourself where they learnt them. Is there a belief you hold about yourself that they are mirroring. Be willing to let it go so that it can be healed. It may be all that is required to allow them to let go of it to.
Teaching through example
The most successful way to teach your children, is never through words but by actions. They know when you are dishonest and when your actions don’t match your words.
If you wish for your children to have happy marriages, then show them what a marriage full of love and affection looks like. Teach your sons to be respectful to women by being with a man that treats you with the respect you deserve. Do not accept anything less than what you would like for your children. It is better to be single than to stay in an unhealthy relationship. When you treat yourself with respect, you teach your children how to respect themselves and others.
If you wish for your children to have successful careers, teach them dedication and hard work through your example. Find the fears that hold you back and dissolve them. Learn to set healthy boundaries and say no to others, to express your inner creativity and to stand out from the crowd. Let go of what other people think of you and love yourself for your uniqueness.
Your happiness, is your families happiness
Happiness is not about having the perfect partner, house or job. It’s not about pleasing everyone you meet or working long hours. It’s about learning who you are and finding the things that bring you joy in life. Treating yourself with the respect your deserve, finding what makes your soul sing and living everyday with purpose. One of the greatest gifts you can give to your children, is finding the fears that have held you back in life. To find your joy and pursue your dreams, to live each day happy with who you are. By doing so, it teaches them that they deserve a wonderful and happy life as well.