By Joanna Watters, Sustainable Parenting Practitioner.
“Global Transformation…. starts with us and how we parent” (Dr Shefali Tsabary – see http://www.rinf.tv/video/conscious-parenting)
In our privileged consumer culture, the reality of raising children can be more challenging than we expected.
In trying to explain what Sustainable Parenting is all about, I decided to quote from an email I received last week, as it expresses a typical scenario. It is from a mature, functional professional couple (names have been changed).
“We both feel very powerless in relation to dealing with James our 5 year old who is expressing a lot of anger, opposition, forcefulness, not responding to discipline etc. This is at least in part provoked by the birth of our second son Mark who was born 5 months ago.
We need guidance in how to parent from our hearts with skill and consciousness, to hold this little being with as much care and love as possible, in his anger and vulnerability”
“Sustainable Parenting” is about supporting parents like these – families who have their basic needs met, and who want to parent consciously so that the generation we are raising are emotionally intelligent, as well as functional.
The reasons that parenting is often more challenging than we thought it would be are complex.
Often its because in the demands of 24/7 care, often done by one adult alone for much or all of those 24 hours, we forget to resource ourselves.
And also because children are designed to be mirrors – they copy what they see, and reflect back what they’ve absorbed from us. We might be saying one thing and actually doing another. This is a wonderful opportunity to grow our own integrity and get real rather than idealistic about being human, if we are willing to look.
And because often there are still “young” aspects of ourselves, in which our parents/teachers were not able to support us to develop (as they themselves had not been supported by the previous generation) – many of us reach adulthood without, for example, having an integrated and responsible relationship with our own anger – so when we see anger in our child, we feel powerless/frightened/angry.
“Sustainable Parenting” aims to support parents to resource themselves, to bring their attention back to them for a moment, and relax. It aims to break the parent’s isolation, through the sense of sharing with a community of parents who can listen to each other and empathize. And by helping parents take time to notice what the little mirrors are reflecting, we can encourage them to welcome the opportunity to deepen; And we offer guidance and good listening to support parents to grow any apparent less evolved aspects (which happens very efficiently and effectively, however old we are, when we are really heard and received).
So – Sustainable Parenting exists so that parents, like the ones who wrote me that email, can feel empowered in raising their children consciously, with heart – so that we step up, as parents, and really participate in global transformation.
The 3rd ‘Grow the Grown Ups’ Summer Camp at Embercombe happens this August, for parents with children of all ages.
Every day there are “Sustainable Parenting” sessions for adults, facilitated by Joanna Watters, with parallel ‘Hand in Hand’ creche and age specific activities in nature for the children. And there is also time for families to spend time together and with other families in the afternoons, enjoying the environment at Embercombe with a variety of activities on offer.
This year there will be three certified Parenting by Connection/Hand in Hand practitioners on site, leading the child care and available to advise parents.
Embercombe Summer Camp Monday August 18th to Friday 22nd 2014
For more information on Parenting by Connection see http://www.handinhandparenting.org/article/overview/