Is Your Parenting Helping Or Hindering?

Just a few little musings that came to me this morning…

Is your parenting helpful or is it honestly hindering your child from unfolding and being who they are, is it helping them learn to take responsibility over themselves or treating them as smaller and younger than they are, is your parenting helping your children rise up or holding then back?

For those of you with children ages birth through 7…

Are you showing your child that the world is a good place through your own kindness, your own self-control?

Are you giving your children enough time in development and not expecting your small children to be miniature adults?  And conversely, a six year old is not a two year old.  Are you holding them back?

Are you helping your children to be part of a loving community outside of the four walls of your home?

Are you giving your children enough space?  We see a baby who struggles to attain crawling or an upright position, and sometimes we see the preschool or kindergarten aged children struggle with certain tasks.  Are we being supportive, but also giving them enough space?   It is not your job to solve your six- year old’s boredom, or to “solve” the temper tantrum of a four-year-old, but to provide space and support.

Are you keeping calm and carrying on?

Are you spending time in nature?  Are your children getting dirty in the mud every day?  Stretching their bodies in physical activity?

Are you protecting your children’s senses?

Are you making home the bedrock of your day and of your week?

Are you talking and explaining way too much?  Are you approaching things in a more sideways manner and in imagery?

How is your rhythm?  Do you have a daily, weekly and yearly rhythm?

Do your children work around the home?  What is their responsibility?

What is the role of spirituality and religion, of awe and wonder in your child’s life?

For those of you with children in the developmental leaps that occur around six and seven, how are you showing your child authority in a kind, hold the space kind of way?  Are your rules clear and consistent? How does the child make restitution for breaking those rules?

For those of you with children ages 7-10….

Are you expecting too much?  Or are you treating them as smaller than they are?

Are you holding the space and showing your child true leadership and authority in a kind and consistent way?

Are you home?  Are you scheduling too many things?

Do you have a strong rhythm to your day, week and year?

Are you giving your child ample opportunities in the arts to enliven their soul?

Are you giving your child time to rest, to dream, to just be, to work on what they have passion for?

Are you part of a community?  Does your child have friends outside the family?

What do you do as a family to help others?

What work and responsibility does your child have around your home?

Does your child still spend time in nature, still plays, still gets out and moves their body and yes, even sweats, every day?

Are there other adults in your child’s life that your child looks up to?

Does your child still have wonder?  What makes them awed?

What beautiful things does your child see every day? Every week?

Are you helping your children to grow up and be healthy adults?

Many blessings,

12 thoughts on “Is Your Parenting Helping Or Hindering?

  1. I believe that we need to be still and listen. Our children actually know more than us as they have just arrived from beyond the rainbow bridge and haven’t been bombarded (like us) with the fear based narrow minded conditioning that alot of us been recipients of. We presume to know more by reason of experience……..but are we right??

  2. I had to come back and read this again because the first time I read it, I just felt like it was another checklist of “perfect” looming over me, unattainable, pointing out my flaws. Now I’ve come back and it is full of good questions to gently ask yourself, and I can hear this. I do have to point out, however, that sometimes, I am not in the space, the world, the idea of some of this parenting style. For example, “How does your child make restitution for breaking the rules?” Please, break it down for me here, What does this look like? I have no idea what this looks like, or how to accomplish it without talking way too much. I wasn’t raised in a house like this. The house in which I was raised was authoritarian; Mom’s way or the highway. Lectures were part of daily life. If you broke the rules, there was punishment, plain and simple, and you heard about it ad nauseum, until she was done with you. Now I’m trying to do it differently, and the IDEA of restitution sounds good, but I really don’t get it, I cannot see how it can work. I need examples. What if the rule is you sit with the family at the table to eat, even if you aren’t eating anything. What if your 4.5 year old just won’t or can’t sit at the table? What is restitution? What if you have repeatedly (450 times or so) kindly and firmly and with your full presence and physical self let your 4.5 year old know it is NOT okay to drag/pick up/carry/fling around/wrestle baby sister (1 year old), and you have stepped in repeatedly to physically STOP this behavior, and it continues? What is restitution? What if right now your 4.5 year old wants to decide every single thing that happens in her life, from when she’ll go to bed, to being able to use sharp knives, to brushing her own teeth (poorly), etc etc all day long, and almost doesn’t seem to be able to hear when you give direction, even if it is one word, even if it is pictorial? What is restitution then? Should restitution disrupt your family rhythm? Should it halt everything for an hour, thereby causing you to miss things you needed to do? How does this look? How does it sound? I realize 4.5 is an age of disequilibrium, but that is not helpful to me as far as getting results, getting the child to eat, to bed, to get dressed, the rhythm is not carrying her anymore. She doesn’t care, she wants to change it, to have it her way. I find this quite challenging. Thanks for your post, and any insight you might have.

    • HI Valerie!
      First of all ,love to you! I love knowing you are still out there and reading! As you know, four is such a challenging age. I think what you are saying is so right…these sort of general development guidelines definitely DO NOT ensure a peaceful, calm household at all times with a four year old who is really pushing against everything and anything and where nothing at all is only helps ensure YOU to be calm, sort of the whole not judging the day by whether or not your small child melts down but by whether you do or not…I think with small children, we first have to know development and developmental expectations. Meal times are hard on families; four years generally do not sit still well at all. So, I think in that case you could structure the environment. Maybe your four year old needs to fed earlier than your dinner time, could have something to play with after she is done eating right near the table, needs to be excused right after she is done eating, etc. Thinking creatively how to meet her developmental needs. As to the controlling-ness of the four year old, this too is so very common, and as you mentioned, four is a time of really pushing against the rhythm. But at the same point, don’t crumple – carry and be the authority she needs. Calmly, even if she is screaming. “When you calm down, I can help you.” Try some speaking to her in picture or song if she will still respond to that at all. It is challenging! I think start here:, go back and read through the four year posts and the posts on mealtimes. Here is also a link to Adrie’s sweet blog, who also has a four year, talking about a certain day of tantrums: Get support and take breaks when you can; sometimes four year olds respond much better to other family members than Dad. Also, you have a one year old, which to me, is a most fatiguing time, so if you are like me and are exhausted around then, do be sure you are getting rest.

      Hang in there, I will try to write some more four year old posts soon!

      Many blessings

  3. I’m still thinking about this post even though it has been a few days since you wrote it. My first reaction was also along the lines of what Valerie wrote – I just felt a deep sigh and no, I don’t think I’m doing all these things sufficiently for all my 3 children and myself and my husband…. But it’s a wonderful list of goals, of tools – and I’ll just remind myself that I don’t think it would be humanly possible for anyone to go to bed every night feeling like they have accomplished the whole list….

    Also, I have a question. What are your thoughts on dealing with chronic illness and balancing this with a strong rhythm? I think that is where our greatest challenge lies actually. We have a rhythm but we are also dealing with a medical issue which means that there will be interferences to that rhythm very often…

  4. I’ve kept coming back to this post even though I did get that “It’ll NEVER be good enough”-feeling the first couple of days. Then I worked through that and realized that no matter what, I will always have that feeling. It is sort of stressful but then again, it keeps me learning and keeps me on my toes in pretty much all aspects of life. My task is working on my inner self and my inner discipline so I keep a balance between striving for improvement while remembering the immense joy and gratitude I also feel in my family life. This list has made my husband and I talk about some really great things too, so I just wanted to let you know that even though this post was in no way an easy read, it was definitely one of the most rewarding for me as well.

    • Dear sweet Stella,
      No one is good enough. I am not good enough, I am just human and doing my best. You too! But, at least we do our best to look at these different ages, these different times of being a child and recognize that a four year old is not a ten year old. We look at the essential for each age, the essential things to work with at each age and we do our best.
      And the children see us striving!
      You are doing just fine!!
      Many blessings, love, and a hug

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