“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi
I have discovered something that really changed me as a parent.
It turns out that what you see in your child is also what is inside of you.
Maybe it is something you have buried deep, or perhaps it’s right there on the surface, but either way, if you see it in your child, it is because it is part of who you too.
When I first heard this idea, it took me a little time to realise the truth for what it was. I thought ‘Oh no, don’t you go blaming me for my child’s potty mouth, or low self-worth.
I’m always telling my children not to use bad language, and to believe in themselves, so it can’t possibly be my fault when they display these behaviours. Well I was right it wasn’t my fault, and that’s something as parents we need to stop doing. No more blaming ourselves for our children’s behaviours. But it is something we need to realise in order to make a change within our children, we need to make a change within ourselves first.
If I had been handed a magical guidebook for how to raise my children when they were born, it would have told me this very critical piece of information.
Life is a mirror.
Our children mirror back to us what we are. So before we go diving into changing our child’s behaviour we may as well just make ourselves a cup of tea, and sit down on the couch for a while and look within ourselves.
Remember we are not blaming ourselves, we are all a little flawed, no one’s perfect, and we are here on this earth to learn, and to extend ourselves.
Our children actually help us through this process and help bring to light those things we thought we had buried for good years ago.
After I heard this, I began to see it every day in my family, in both good ways and in ways that challenged me to the core.
Even the things that I thought I had ‘gotten over,’ or covered over so very deeply that they were now in a place I can only describe as ‘no man’s land’ were being waved in front of me on a daily basis. I guess I had been a little blind, as I had been on a journey to change my children, and change their behaviours to meet my expectations.
It really was getting me nowhere fast and was using my energy, and patience up faster than I could muster it.
I soon realized I needed to work on myself.
So I took a break from being a reactive parent to simply observing what I was seeing and hearing.
This is what I saw…
The same loving heart that I witnessed in my children was the loving heart I have. The times when I saw my daughter pick up an insect and put it on the grass so it wouldn’t get stepped on, was the empathy and compassion for the world that was in me as well. When I was sad and full of self-doubt, and my son patted me on the back and said ‘Mum, you are amazing, never doubt yourself, everything going to be O.K.” was the same love and understanding that was in me. When my daughter cried, “No one loves me, I’m all alone”. I knew that feeling too.
And when my son yelled, “Everyone is against me, I can’t do anything right, life isn’t fair!” I knew that one well too.
Once I opened my eyes, and just began to observe my family, how clearly I could now see the truth reflected in the mirror.
My son upset one day, said, “Mum, I don’t think I am meant to be here with this family. I think there was a mistake, and I got born, but there isn’t actually a place for me here”. Now I could have spent the next few weeks working on allowing my son to feel he has a place in our family by loving him more, praising him more and so on, but I knew I already did all of that every day. I also knew where I had heard this before. I said the exact same thing to my mum many years ago. I felt the same thing as he felt right then.
I thought I had gotten over it, not having a place within my family, but I had actually buried that feeling of not being enough, down deep within myself. And now here it was looking me in the face. In fact, it’s a belief I have carried for many years, a feeling of not being able to fit in anywhere, because I think and feel differently to other people.
I remember growing up thinking God had made a mistake when I was born, he was having an off day and placed me somewhere where I had no place value. It led to a life of suffering and to me almost not being here to write these words today.
I worked on some of it over the years and obviously buried the rest. But when it’s looking me right in the face disguised as my 10-year-old son, there is no more hiding it.
What I couldn’t do for myself all those years ago, I now had to do for my son.
I had to let go of that feeling I wasn’t good enough and wasn’t meant for this world, and I had to see that standing there right then and there I was everything I was meant to be, in the perfect place at the perfect time. I was meant to be born, meant to go through what I went through, and I was meant for this world, just as my son is meant for this world, as you and your precious child are meant for this world.
The universe doesn’t make mistakes.
We are all born for a reason, everything that happens to us happens for a reason.
We are not mistakes, we are miracles.
Affirmation: ‘Today I take MY place in the world. The place that was meant for me and me alone. The unique path and life purpose that was created for me with love. I rise up, I stand tall, and I accept that I am meant for this world’.
Children are far more prone to anxiety than ever before and suffer from stress, depression, and behavioural issues that effect their quality of life.
I know what that feels like, as my son suffered terrible anxiety until we made some significant changes in his life. We decided not to give him medication, and instead supported him to heal naturally.
As a parent it can be heart breaking to watch our child suffer.
If it was a cut knee they had, you can put a bandaid on it, or if they suffer a cold we can tuck them up in bed, keep them warm and know they will soon be ok, but with anxiety it can hard to know what to do to help and can be an ongoing and debilitating problem .
As parents we don’t have to feel helpless, in fact as the most important people in the lives of our children we are in the best position to make a difference.
3 ways to reduce anxiety in children naturally.
1 – Feed them foods that fuel the mind.
Every cell in the body is made from the food that children eat, including the brain cells. Additives such as artificial colours, flavours and preservatives can cross the blood brain barrier and effect the way the brain processes information, how they behave, how they feel and how they think.
Clean foods create a clean mind. After taking my son off processed foods such as sausages, and ice blocks his debilitating anxiety reduce within just two weeks and he was able to have such a better quality of life. I also recommend using a few drops of lavender essential oil on a tissue under their pillow at night, and my family uses Weleda’s stress & tension relief tablets as an additional support during stressful times.
2 – Let kids be kids.
Leave children to be little, to grow and to play in their own way and in their own time. Play is one of the greatest healers and NOT the time waster that some think it is.
It allows children to process their thoughts in the real world, and is very therapeutic. Too often children are thrown into the adult world of news stories, drama, and adult problems too soon. The adult world can cause havoc on a young mind that isn’t prepared for dealing with such problems yet. Letting children be little for as long as possible will enable them to grow a strong and capable mind.
3 – Let them draw out their feelings.
Drawing at any age is therapeutic and a great way of taking blocked feelings and emotions and getting them out on paper. For children who may not have the words to tell us what is wrong, or even know what is wrong themselves, drawing can be very beneficial. Give them plenty of paper, and crayons and pencils and get them drawing. Let them draw what ever they want, but if they are having trouble getting started, or don’t know what to draw try this:
Ask them to draw a house and their family. The colours used in their drawings all have a significant meaning, as do the people they draw. The drawing of a child can tell a parent a lot about what is going on in their mind.
I have worked for more than 12 years with young children and have studied children and their art work. If you would like to understand your child’s drawing a little better, get them to draw their house and family, post it below, and I can help you understand it.
If you feel like your child’s anxiety is getting out of control remember to talk to your doctor or natural health professional.
We have all heard that kids shouldn’t watch so much T.V, but it’s not just T.V that’s taken our kids over, it’s all forms of electronic technology, such as iPhone, tablets, toys and home computers. It’s turning bright, creative and energetic kids into uncreative, sedate zombies.
You have noticed this already right?
It’s frightening. Kids everywhere are walking out of school with their heads down steering into their iPhones instead of looking at the people that are all around them. I see kids who are desperately trying to get mum or dads attention, as their parents fixate on an iPhone. And kids are often given a screen of their own, to ‘keep them busy’, or ‘calm them down’ during outings, or when visitors arrive.
But we shouldn’t be medicating our children with screens, because in doing so they aren’t learning the skills they need to succeed on all levels of their life.
It’s not just the kids who have been taken over by electronic technology. What about driving past the bus stop, and there waiting for the bus are people glued to their phones. You have seen this at the doctors office, or in the supermarket checkout line. The worst are those people who sit right across from you at dinner, or out for coffee, who constantly pick up and check their phone.
It’s taking people over, and in doing so they are missing out on being in the present moment.
To limit the screen time our kids have means limiting our own screen time. But are we ready for that?
What if I told you it would actually benefit your whole family? It sure has mine!
Here are just 3 of the many benefits of limiting our kid’s screen time
1 – Boredom:
Without a screen to rely on children are able to become bored. ‘Oh No!’ you cry, you can’t possibly deal with a bored child all weekend right? The good news is you don’t have to. Screen time’ is actually what’s making children bored. Screen time is over stimulating and unchallenging to children. This means that when they are off their screens, they expect the rest of the world to be just as interactive, bright and stimulating. Time away from the screen, is ‘BOOOORRRRING!’. However, this is where creativity and imagination REALLY grow. Out in the real world, with real people, real space, and real things. Boredom leads to the use of the imagination.
2 – Movement:
Children move more when they are not fixated on a flashing screen. It’s not just that over 50% of NZ kids are overweight, it’s also that they are unfit, have low muscle tone, and lack hand and eye coordination, and essential gross motor skills. All these things are easily fixed by getting outside and overcoming boredom. I guarantee that kid who has the tantrum over the T.V being turned off, and tells you for 20 minutes straight they are so bored they might die, will soon be found bouncing on the tramp, riding their bike, or heavens forbid climbing a tree! Boredom is uncomfortable, BUT necessary because it pushes children to be creative with their time.
They WILL eventually draw on those creative skills to fill their non-screen time.
3 – Communication:
If you have spoken to a teenager lately (I mean actually in person and not via an electronic device) you will see the effects of the generation of children who rely on screen time as their main source of communication, connections, and information. While it is now normal that most people live their lives this way, it doesn’t mean it’s right, or even that it’s healthy.
The main source of communication, connection and information SHOULD come from real people in the real world. This is how children learn about relationships, love, kindness, compassion, body language, eye contact, manners and so much more.
The screen has its place, but be limited to around 3-4, 30-minute slots of screen time a week, the rest of the time they are busy being the kids they were born to be…. Wild and Free!
If you want to grow mentally, emotionally and physically healthy children into well adjusted REAL adults, screen time needs to be used sparingly. Once they leave our homes and go out into the world then it is out of our hands, but while they are living under our roof it is our responsibility to reduce the amount of screen they have, and in turn we give them the gifts of, imagination, creativity and holistic wellness. And you should never feel guilty for wanting that for your kids, so never feel guilty for turning off the screens, unplugging, and restricting screen time.
As always I LOVE hearing your feedback on these controversial subjects.
Have your say below,
Supporting children to recognise and value their differences is a powerful part of holistic parenting. It empowers them to be who they were born to be.
We have to stop thinking of being different as a bad thing, being different is actually a good thing.
You might not feel this all of the time, but the truth is we are blessed to be the parents of children who are different.
It’s easy to get caught up in the expectations of society, of the education system and even of our friends, family and neighbours. Those expectations we have to raise a ‘normal’ child, that fits in with everyone else.
I can personally tell you how exhausting and stifling trying to be like everyone else is.
For a long time I tried so desperately to fit in, to fit in with my peers, my co-workers, my family, and to basically any group I thought would have me. I felt like I was different, even when I was changing myself so I appeared to be like others, so I would be accepted and fit in, deep down I felt like I was a fraud. I knew I didn’t fit, and I felt that if I didn’t fit in, then I wasn’t meant for this world.
This is a frighteningly common feeling among children, teens and adults. And it’s this feeling of loneliness and difference that can lead our precious young people to remove themselves from this world. I wish I had known then what I know now. How different I would have felt about myself, and my reasons for being born.
I have to check my parenting everyday, especially the words I use when talking to my children, because I grew up being told ‘Don’t rock the boat’,’Don’t think like that’, ‘Don’t upset anyone’, ‘Don’t do that’, ‘Don’t think like that’. I was raised to believe we should do what we are told, to please other people. I believed that I needed to make other people happy in order for me to be happy myself. I tried this for many years, doing what society told me to do and listening to others instead of my own intuition. That awful niggling feeling that I was wasting my life was making me feel depressed, and deep down my soul was crying out to be heard. It didn’t make me happy to live a life for others, it made me depressed, angry, sad and very lonely.
Deep down I knew I was different, but no one ever told me that it was o.k to be different. It wasn’t until I embraced my own differences, by seeing these as gifts to be shared with the world, that I began to live my purpose. I can tell you there is no other feeling like the feeling you get when you are living your purpose. The universe supports you, everything falls into place and the most important thing ever happens. You feel happy.
Now as a parent and a teacher, I want children to know this…..
It is our differences that make us shine.
It is our differences that make us stand out.
It is our differences that make us unique.
It is our differences that allow us to make a difference.
Our differences are our gifts from the universe, and it is up to us if and how we choose to use these to make the world a better place. It’s the meaning of life. To find our gifts, and to use these to make the world a better place.
You may think it will make life easier for our children if they are born looking, thinking, speaking, walking, behaving, and socialising normally. But normal people have normal lives, and who want’s that really…a normal life? Not me, and I don’t want normal lives for my children. I want greatness, uniqueness and sky high extraordinarily amazing lives, that stretch them, grow them, and teach them. I hope they will experience all the greatness that was meant for them, and them alone. That they will embrace their individual gifts of difference, in order to create a difference in the world. Almost anyone who has done something amazing did it because they thought differently. Just as you are not for everybody, so too your child won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, and why should they be.
Different people, lead different lives, and make all the difference in the world. Not everyone will value our child’s differences, so as a parent that’s our job to do for our children.
Sometimes it’s those things that prevent us from fitting in that turn out to be our gifts. Every single child deserves to be who they really are. Thisis why I LOVE the ‘Wild & Free’ approach to parenting.
We want to empower our children to think differently to the others, to step away from the flock and step up to their purpose. It can be one of the hardest things our children will ever face, or one of the most natural things that they ever face. How we view our children’s differences inside our own home, is one of the most important things. To believe in themselves, and their ideas when no one else does, takes courage and almighty self-belief. Empowering our children to embrace their differences, and share their gifts, will lead to an extraordinarily life, and who doesn’t want that?
Aromatherapy blend for strength, inner power and confidence.
As we already know, essential oils are very healing for both adults and children, and I don’t think a day goes by where we don’t use at least 3 essential oils in our home.
Yes i’m an essential oil addict!
Essential oils bring us back into the moment, and we can all do with a little more of that.
I love using essential oils with my children, it’s a big part of my Wild & Free Parenting Approach. Children in particular are very responsive to the therapeutic properties in essential oils and they can be used for all kinds of mental and physical aliments. They can be used for yoga practice, meditation or relaxation, but they can also be used for inspiration, to uplift and enlighten, and for clarity of mind.
I created this oil blend for my daughter who is very shy, and often gets anxious when when she has to step out of her comfort zone. She’s one of the incredible bright lights, who sometimes can’t see how incredible she is.
This is one of my FAVOURITE blends for increasing confidence and igniting my children’s inner strength. They also love the smell, and I often use it myself when I need a little extra confidence boost.
‘Inner Strength Blend’
Pink grapefruit essential oil x 20 drops, lime essential oil x 4 drops and jasmine essential oil x 4 drops, blended into a base oil of almond oil 90ml. Store in a dark bottle away from sunlight to ensure the therapeutic qualities of the oils are protected.
The best ways to use this oil blend:
- Rub a few drops of the oil onto your child’s pulse points. These are found on the inside of the wrists, or on their neck.
- Pop a few drops of the blend on a tissue and let them carry it in their pocket. They can pull out the tissue and smell it when needed throughout the day.
- Use as massage blend for an evening massage (even just rubbing onto children’s arms, or legs works really well.
- Add 10mls of the blend to a foot soak or warm bath with a tsp of sea salt at the end of a challenging day. (The bath will become slippery so sitting with them and reading a calming story while they soak may be best).
- Add 1 few drops to an oil burner (without the almond oil)
It can be used for preschool jitters, before a performance, or on those evenings when children are falling apart because ‘no one likes them’, or they are are having trouble remembering how incredible they really are.
This divine oil blend can also be burned in an oil burner, without the almond oil carrier.
A good set of pure essential oils makes up our holistic first aid kit, and are a must have for those of us wanting to avoid chemical nasties with our families.
I have been studying the therapeutic qualities for many years and LOVE creating new blends.
Comment below with what your family needs support with right now and I will reply with an essential oil blend that can help, or share your favourite blend with me. Jamie x
The ‘Wild & Free’ Approach To Raising Happy Kids:
After 16 years of working with young children, and 11 years of raising my own diverse ‘out of the box’ children, I have grown as a teacher and a mother, and most definitely as a human being. I have seen children achieve such greatness, and overcome some of the most challenging obstacles.
However I have also seen children suffering from a staggering increase of aliments, disease, and mental issues that were once only seen in adults 4x their age. I see the need for a NEW parenting and teaching approach, one that heals the past, allows children to feel safe in the present moment, and prepares children for the real world.
Never before have I seen so many anxious, worried and malnourished children.
Many children I have worked with are overweight, over-stimulated, worried, hurried and heading towards burnout.
They live in a chemical world, led by the advertising industry and the shallowness of the media. It’s become normal for children to be medicated by large drug industries, for lunch-boxes to look more like toy boxes, and for screen time to take over as playtime.
I would love to see a movement towards a new kind of parenting and teaching approach for our children. One that nurtures all the senses, and encompasses the diverse stages and dimensions of each individual child. It’s about parents taking back their power to parent, teach and raise children their way. It’s partly about stepping back in time and raising children like we used to, but times have changed so it’s also about raising children in turbulent times we are facing. It supports those who choose to send children to school, and those who choose to homeschool or unschool children. It supports all those parents and teachers who know their is a more natural and holistic approach to growing happy, and healthy children.
So here it is, my approach to parenting and teaching our youngest and our most precious.
The ‘Wild & Free’ approach:
- Based on unconditional love and acceptance
- Unhurried, follows the pace set by the child
- Allows children to unfold in their own time, and in their own way
- Supports ‘out of the box’ thinking
- Decreases stress and anxiety
- Increases responsibility and family and community contribution
- Children learn to step into their personal power
- Strong, clear boundaries are in place at all times
- Children are nourished with clean, additive free whole-foods
- Families work together as a team who build each other up
- Children have the freedom to express who they have come here to be
- Less consumerism (less store brought toys and resources)
- Natural approach to health and wellness
- Encourages more time in the nature world
- Based around children’s strengths and interests
Our children are our future, and for the healthy and successful, thriving human race, our future will need healers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and out of the box thinkers like never before.
Does this approach resonate with you? Let me know your thoughts below, and watch this space for more information regarding my ‘Wild & Free’ approach.
P.S I LOVE this post about raising young children and how they learn so much from their parents, and thought you might too ‘You Are Their Whole World’