Breaking family Cycles and Building Bonds - Why should I explore my family cycles, and where do I start? (3/3)

May 27, 2024

We have learned and are still learning so much about childhood emotional development. Most parents want the absolute best for their children, yet due to our family cycles, we often find that we are not the parents we dreamed of being.

I, for one, was adamant that I wouldn't shout at my children, yet I found myself shouting. 

As a person in my mid-twenties, I couldn't understand why a parent would let their child throw a complete tantrum in the supermarket. Of course, my child wouldn't do that 😬.

We form such judgements before we become parents based on our experiences and what we thought we knew. But the question is, at that time of my life, why did I have these hard and fast rules in my mind about what my children would or would not do……. Well, fundamentally, it was because I wanted to be a good parent. Somehow, in my young and inexperienced mind and at a time when there was very little information out there about children's emotional development, I was simply drawing from my parent's expectations of me as a child and assumed that the ‘children should be seen and not heard’ analogy was the right one. Little did I know, at the time, that I was simply repeating my parents' beliefs despite every part of me wanting to raise my children differently.

Twenty-plus years ago, family cycles and generational trauma were not being discussed, and I felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants as a parent because I knew what I didn't want to do, but I didn't know what the alternative looked like. I had to dig deep and find the answers to how I wanted to raise my family MY WAYThis is why I am here sharing my pearls of wisdom from my own lived experience, together with years of supporting hundreds of clients, so that you can find YOUR WAY.

When we embark on becoming parents, we must appreciate that this is likely the most complex and challenging role of our lives and not take this journey lightly.

I think it is also fair to say that nobody can really understand what being a parent is like until they are in the thick of it. Historically, being a parent has often been all about who is in control, and this is where the battles ensue and relationships whither as a result.

What are the benefits of exploring our family cycles?

  • We develop a deeper understanding of who we are and why we think, feel and behave as we do.
  • We open up the opportunity to heal from the challenges that we experienced in childhood.
  • It can help us to understand our parents and why they raised us as they did, from a place of compassion. 
  • It allows us to understand ourselves better, our parents and our children.
  • It helps build our overall confidence and self-esteem and enables us to be the parents we want to be.
  • It provides us with the opportunity to decide what we want to bring forward from how we were parented and what we want to leave behind.
  • We can then shed outdated beliefs, behaviours, and strategies to help build a healthy and happy relationship with our children.
  • Exploring and re-creating your parenting beliefs will enable you to confidently support your child at every stage.
  • Adapting our beliefs makes changing our behaviour effortless.
  • Improves our mental health.
  • Reduces anxiety, stress and that feeling of being out of control.
  • Reduces the day-to-day battles by taking control without being controlling
  • It highlights the power of ‘modelling’ and how teaching is far more powerful than telling.
  • Creates a solid relationship with your child in the early years, enabling you to sail through those pesky teenage years.
  • Supports your child's future decision-making and mental health.

Where do I start?

Exploring family cycles in-depth can be complex. However, I do want to give you a few key tips to be thinking about to start that journey of being the parent that you want to be

  1. Until your child is independent and can care for themselves, your life will largely be and needs to be about them.
  2. Take care of yourself when possible. This is not always easy with a young family, but our basic overall well-being is important for us to be the best versions of ourselves.
  3. Remember that your emotions are yours, and their emotions are theirs. Try not to get caught up in their little dysregulated worlds; help them navigate their emotions by managing your emotions.
  4. Explore your family cycles in-depth—the good, the bad, and the ugly. This will only take you on an incredible journey of empowerment. I’m not saying it will be easy, but it will enable you to be the parent you want to be, not the parent that has been gifted to you.
  5. Remember that you will make mistakes, but with awareness, you have the capacity to learn from such mistakes. 
  6. Learn the art of saying sorry. Apologising to our children provides incredible opportunities for your child to learn that getting things wrong is a way of life, but apologising and learning from that mishap is the way forward.
  7. Remember, your child is a little human who doesn't want to feel controlled. This is not the army. We are here to provide boundaries and stability for our children and help them explore opportunities, some of which will go well and some not so well, but with the knowledge that they have a soft place to land if something goes wrong.
  8. Teaching rather than telling - The GREATEST gift you can offer your children is modelling. In everything you do, your child is watching and listening and, as a result, copying. Bearing this in mind will likely support you in ensuring that you are the best version of yourself most of the time and that teaching them is far better than telling them. If you tell a child not to shout, yet you shout, this is simply confusing for them, and they will likely copy you rather than listen to your command.
  9. Your child does not want full control over their lives, yet they do want age-appropriate control, so let them have it. Sometimes, this can mean things can take a little longer, but by giving them time, you empower them and enable them to learn.
  10. Imagine how you want your child to describe their childhood and how they were parented in twenty or thirty years. Ask yourself how you are harvesting that, and if you're not sure, then reach out for help. 

Finally, remember that you are not alone. You won't get it right 100% of the time, but never feel that nobody is out there to support you. If you are reading this, I believe you are already a great parent because it matters to you, and you care.

Being a parent is the most rewarding role you will ever have. Harvest the relationship and treat it with the respect, care, and compassion you may have wanted or had with your parents. Parent them your way, which supports them in today's world.  

When your children are older, you will reap the rewards of their successes when you see them thriving and living their lives their way, and you will know that you played the part you wanted to play in getting them to their destination.

If ever you want to dive deeper into your family cycles, don't hesitate to schedule a free 30-minute call with me. We can explore whether the Empowered Parenting Programme is for you.