The Empowered Parenting programme has been bobbing around in my head for at least ten years, maybe even fifteen. However, my children were of an age where they really needed me to be present and available for them; therefore, any ideas about doing anything more than my client work were shelved for the future.
In many ways, I'm so glad I waited until now to formulate what I feel so passionately about. I have learnt such a lot from being a mum (they are now 22 and 19) and having developed experience working with people who have had challenging childhoods and the ripple effect that has had on their lives.
I grew up in the '70s with parents who had very typical '70s parental views and parenting strategies. By age 3, I lived with my dad and stepmother, which was very unusual in the '70s; it still is, but not so unique.
My dad was very traditional, and my stepmother was completely unavailable. This made childhood very tricky at times as neither parent was available emotionally; however, it was my normal. It's only since I've grown older that I can see the pitfalls in how I was raised and the challenges this presented to me as an adolescent and young adult.
Little did we know that the world would evolve at warp speed, and here we are in the 21st century with way more knowledge, information and emotional intelligence than any generation before us. Therefore, parenting more consciously is even more crucial if we want to maintain a great relationship with our children.
We now know that a lot of previous-generation parenting has been far from adequate. Our children are becoming far more independent and intelligent, and previous generational parenting strategies are simply no longer fit for purpose... to be honest, I'm not sure they were ever fit for purpose. Still, in our parent's defence, they didn't know any better.
When I started my journey as a therapist, I had no specific ideas about why people struggled with their psychological health; I simply wanted to help.
20+ years on, my work has consistently reinforced that people experience life challenges differently, and their parenting and childhoods ALWAYS feature somewhere amongst it all.
This is not to say that people who have had difficult childhoods are the only ones who struggle... no, no, no. You would be surprised at how challenging life is for people who have been nurtured and had everything done for them. You would think that such parenting would be perfect, right? No. Parenting is a delicate balance; finding that balance is essential but not easy to find.
Parenting changes from generation to generation; however, a child's needs really don't change. They need consistency and predictability and to be taught how to navigate life.
Our primary teachers of how to be a parent are our parents; let's not forget they are drawing from their parents. Therefore, we find ourselves bouncing from one generation to another with the same or similar parenting strategies, even if we can see they weren't adequate for us (remember what I said, not fit for purpose)
I want to help people to change this! I want to help people see that with a bit of a deep dive into their belief system about what a parent is and how to parent, we can shape our parenting journey to what we want for our children, not steeped in how we were raised. This is not to say that we won't bring some traits forward; however, we will bring them forward with awareness and choice.
For our relationships with our children to thrive and for them to be able to make healthy decisions and have good mental health, we need to get alongside our children and parent them with their future in mind, not based on our own needs or experiences.
So there is my reason WHY.
I want to help parents and children alike to enjoy their journey and to have a healthier and happy society as a result.
I hope you have enjoyed a little insight into my thoughts and passions in life.