So here I am at last to tell you all about my new plans, to lift the suspense!
What led to this path? My emotional journey through life became especially significant when I became a parent. Before I hadn’t always been the happiest person but I muddled along; sometimes coping, sometimes not.
All of a sudden with two small people dependent on me they gave me a reason for wanting and needing to be a more content person. I am passionate about being the best parent for them; it was my reason for going though therapy, starting this blog, and now focusing my writing in this direction.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about ‘positive parenting’, and used the term freely without any particular thought to defining it. I suppose I made certain assumptions. I need to better describe, explain and evaluate, to be able to pinpoint the value and purpose of what I mean.
‘Positive parenting’ is a popular term but I need clarity about what is significant about my view, and how I want to share this with others. Positive psychology in a nutshell is the science of wellbeing.
Not about fixing something that is broken, (although I know there are a fair few of us out there who have experienced being broken). Not just getting through. But enabling people to live in a way that improves their experience of life in a meaningful way. Even the potential to prevent that experience of being broken.
Parenting must be the most perfect original application for this. Babies are born a blank canvas with which to work, something that we shape and develop as parent. But they definitely do have the power to break us with their demands, especially if we are already vulnerable for whatever reason.
Parenting is the act of raising children, of mentoring them, coaching them, teaching them. Sure, it is partly about knowledge but it is also about emotional status. To be positive means to be constructive, to be present, to be confident and to be sure. To be greater than zero.
It is hard to be positive if we always see the worst in something. It is hard to have kind words for our children if we always berate ourselves. It is hard to focus on our children if we are distracted with other things. It is hard to have faith and confidence in our parenting choices if we are unsure of our own lives.
Everywhere I look I see a massively neglected elephant in the room. Positive parenting cannot simply be about the outcome for the child. The other part is the tool with which to do the job – the parent. In fact I think this has to come first.
When we need tools to do a job properly, we look after them, why should it be any different for us? We cannot be only focused on our children without regard for ourselves. We are part of the equation. We need to do more than just get through these years, for them and for us.
This is not about a set of parenting actions, but the place in which we reside as parents. I have come to think of this not as positive, but empowered parenting – feeling authorised and able to fulfil our roles as parents, having power in ourselves to be the best parent.
The Filling Glass always has been about finding an emotional balance (as a parent) but it will be evolving. I will be sharing more ways in which we can fill our parenting glasses together and fill our children’s glasses, and to build a community around this.
I know that not everyone has been to that dark place. That not everyone has been down. But I also know that parenting is a minefield of information and decisions, a drain on our energy. With these factors in place, I think there is something for all parents here, and maybe others as well.
I am starting two different post series that will run through the year. The first will be about different ‘parenting tools’, things that can empower us to be the person we want to be for our children, and have that positive relationship with them. Things that help to make us confident, present, constructive and sure in our parenting.
The second series, called ‘What it feels like…’, based on this post, will help us look more internally to examine how we deal with issues that arise, or how we need to deal with issues with our children. I will also be producing a workbook on how to ‘create’ our own parenting style that works for us.
Finally, in a completely new avenue for me, having been pretty much just about writing for catharsis up until now, I have created a hashtag, #empa, that I want to be used for discussions around this idea, but I will be writing a more in-depth post on it very soon.
This is what I have been so excited about doing with my writing, it has given me such a sense of purpose driving me forwards. I won’t always be posting twice a week, so that I have time to focus on these projects, but I hope that won’t put you off joining me on this journey.
It is going to be interesting to see what happens as these things get off the ground and underway. If anyone reading this feels they have anything to contribute, I would love to hear from you, and I would of course love it if you could spread the word far and wide.
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