Practice #2 – Drop Rigid Expectations
Drop Rigid Expectations
We are still operating under a traditional way of parenting which is steeped in rules and expectations…which have largely been set by society and infused with a lot of past conditioning. The traditional way of parenting brings with it a standard of expectations that have become accepted as the norm. …BUT these standards no longer are serving us. It’s time for a tune up!
Now, to be clear, I’m not disregarding all expectations, since I also know that children will live up to what is expected of them (when they are healthy and loving expectations). HOWEVER, when the expectations are rigid and don’t allow for exploration and self-expression, your children will meet them in one of 2 ways:
1. Rebellion – which = parenting struggles. The risk here is in them trying to hold onto a sense of self, they may rebel. And this fierce grasp of trying to hold onto who they are can lead to them finding an outlet for release of their pent up emotions. These outlets not only cause parenting struggles, but they silence their soul, and can also harm them physically (addiction, depression, anxiety, reckless behaviour).
2. Shutting Down – which = disconnection. Children escape from the world that is not making sense to them and is not supporting who they are. The risk here is they start believing something is wrong with them.
3 Keys to Letting Go of Rigid Expectations:
1. Stop Assuming – stop assuming your way is the “right” way. Assuming is filtering only through our own experiences, and neglects and denies the fact that our children are equipped with their own guidance system. Unless it’s physically harmful to them, we need to drop the expectations and remember they have their own path and get to have a say in what that will look like.
2. Stop Controlling – Control is fear-based. It’s an indication you don’t quite trust how life is unfolding and you mistakenly believe you are helping your children by trying to control them, their environment or their circumstances. You need to remember everyone is on their own path and it’s not your job to dictate and coordinate it. Even if your children hit bumps in the road, it’s part of their journey and it’s not up to you to clear the path and “fix” it. That’s not to say you can’t be there to support, guide and provide advice if it’s asked for, but that support and guidance is to be given without attachment to whether they listen or not. When you’ve let go of your attachment to how things turn out, you have let go of the control!
3. Start Loving & Accepting – Everything boils down to love and acceptance…of yourself and your children.
a. Yourself – the fact is it’s tough to unconditionally love and accept others when you don’t love and accept yourself. So this means it’s not about trying to change other people who aren’t living up to your expectations. It means it is about embracing you. It’s about learning to love and accept you. Your children will respond to the energy you are sending out. If you are setting expectations based in fears that come from your own lack of self-love and acceptance (ie. needing to be liked by everyone), they will feel rigid and unreasonable. Most kids will respond to this energy with resistance.
b. Your Children – when you unconditionally love and accept them and their unique quirks (all their little bits and pieces), they feel this and it gives them a safe container to explore who they are and establish their sense of self. Unconditional love and acceptance is a breeding ground for deep connection and leads to peace and calm in the home.
If you set expectations based in understanding and openness that come from self-love and acceptance, the expectation will be met with a desire to reach for them (ie. being generous, kind, polite, respectful, etc). The resistance is dropped because they receive the energy of complete love and acceptance, so they know regardless of any mistakes made they will not lose your love.
When you set rigid expectations that you expect them to live up to, they are set with the belief that you know better than they do. You end up trying to mould them into the version of the vision you have for them versus allowing them to live the vision they have for themselves.
To take these ideas deeper & wider, as well as learn how to practically infuse them into your life, please check out – http://www.absoluteawareness.ca/soulful-parent/
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