Parenting from the Heart

I had a rather exceptional pair of parents who had already raised three other children, and they just didn’t punish me.  They allowed me to be who I was, and supported my interests, loved me big, and stayed out of my business unless I asked for help.  Who knows, maybe they were just too old and tired to deal, but somehow it worked to my benefit in some amazing ways.

I find I’m similar in my parenting style.  I’m easy going when it comes to allowing my son to pursue his interests, even if those interests aren’t what I had in mind for him.  This has required some willpower and ego wrestling on my part, but I’m pretty good at it now.  We both come up with interesting questions and we find new answers together.  I rarely ever tell him to do something simply because I said so and I’m the boss, and if I do it’s because I’m personally overwhelmed or stressed, so apologies follow.  Reasons for my requests that seem impractical to him in the moment are discussed, and if he comes up with a better way, we try it out.

In witnessing my internal process about whether I’m doing a good enough job as a mother, I’ve noticed this hidden voice emerging that tells me I’m falling behind, not good enough, that because of me my child won’t be a well-rounded and independent adult.  I’m realizing that the ensuing worry is such a waste of energy, now that I can see myself  doing it.  So instead, I’ve started handing my son’s well being over to his Higher Power and affirming clear guidance in supporting him, and for wonderful outcomes for his highest good.

Last night I received some great confirmation that it’s working.  Usually, because there’s only the three of us entrepreneurial spirits, we rarely eat at the kitchen table for meals.  If we’re home together, we sit on the couch and watch a show together.  I desired more face time with hubby and son, so I requested we turn off the tv and just eat together, expecting my son to be upset and sulk over missing a favorite show.  Surprisingly, he ran over and promptly shut off the tv while exclaiming, “Oh good!!!”.  We proceeded to have a great time catching up on his interests and enjoying our meal.  What I realized is that my lack of authoritarian parenting has actually produced a child who genuinely appreciates the time we spend together, and that he’s not only all right, he’s awesome.

Goddess Oceana

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3 Responses to “Parenting from the Heart”

  1. Angie Hottentots-Laurel Says:

    Ah, yet another post that I can relate to! My parents raised us (my brothers and I) in a free spirit sort of way, allowing us to find ourselves instead of imposing their will. It worked out swell!

    As far as I’m concerned, your style of parenting is the best style. Impressionable minds learn and develop a lot better when they’re not smacked down by an iron fist.


  2. Oceana Says:

    I love your metaphor of the iron fist, Angie, because that’s what I think authoritarian parenting really does feel like to the emotional body of a child. I think it ends up backfiring and creating the same backlash in the other direction, encouraging children to rebel with the same amount of force. Even as a kid, I didn’t feel the need to do the things my classmates were doing because there was nothing to oppose. Instead I was busy enjoying my hobbies, pursuing my interests and following my passions…


  3. Renee Sullivan Says:

    My way of parenting now is so different than what it used to be. I used to feel like I had to be the boss or my kids would walk all over me. As I have evolved into a far less anxious person and my kids are more self-sufficient (they are now 17 and 13), I have found that talking things out works very well. The more calm I am about situations that arise, the easier it is to assess things and deal with whatever comes up.

    I now trust that the values we have taught them which stem from our belief in God and making choices based on the “what would Jesus do” philosophy are going to help them make good choices. Understanding that they will make mistakes because…hey they are still children and have to learn by trial/error and testing boundaries, what I hope they realize is that overall, they are empowered to make these decisions on their own and learn from the choices they make. It’s so much easier said than done, but overall my kids do make good choices and they are good kids. Thank goodness.


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