Inner child free

Inner child and love. The mistakes I’m trying to avoid to grow caring future adults

We all make mistakes, right? Especially as a parent.. But this is a somewhat different post than what I usually publish. I’m not going to list the 5 things you should do or the best practices, etc. I want to share with you some deep thoughts.. like, do you ever think about yourself as a child? Can you remember who you were? Do you still love your inner child? Now, it may seem a trip to the moon.. but if you follow me, I’ll show you how and why I’ve found that your child and.. your inner child may strive together if you let them.

inner child start
Inner child, where to start from

The first step : measure your mistakes

I’m just out of my second session of parenting class. Every time, I leave quite emotional. (Which is perfect to write an inspiring post a-ah!).

Empowered from what I think I’ve learnt, more connected to the other parents, and also, frustrated because of all the mistakes I realize I still make. As a parent, and as a person. Sometimes, it’s just things I knew inside me, but didn’t want to see or acknowledge..

So, here’s what I’ve learnt this week. I want to write it down and share it with you, hoping it will serve not only me, but others in the future.

Bell ringing number one

Mistake #1 – I don’t give my children enough rules. Or I don’t enforce the boundaries strong enough. And that is why we end up with a struggle for power with my daughter : she needs clearer limits.

Of course I knew this before; but I didn’t know how to fix those rules, where should I put my boundaries. Rationally, I know what is acceptable and what isn’t; but I haven’t made a plan to decide when and how to intervene..

So, I would realize that the boundaries were left loose, only when the consequent behavior of my child would get me angry or frustrated. When I was reacting emotionally. So then, my attempts of trying to restore order where useless, which made me even angrier, and it got on and on, on a vicious cycle.

Sometimes, it’s just little things that add up day after day.. Like, is it acceptable that I still dress my daughter myself, now that she’s 5 and perfectly capable of doing it alone? Or that I cook several dishes at dinner to accommodate everybody’s tastes? Or even, to give 5, 6 or more warnings before intervening?

My husband tends to react more than I do, or before I do, but he does so in a way I don’t necessarily approve. So it creates a tension between us, and also an automatic reaction in me : I try to protect my children, so instead of showing them I am with dad, as a parent, I act as their ally.

Bell ringing number 2

Mistake #2 – I don’t always give the right example. Oh boy, this is like basics of parenting right?! But so often, when I want my children to do something, I interrupt what they are doing. I call them loud and strong. I insist until they come to me and do what I ask.

Why am I so surprised when they do the same exact thing to me? Why do I get so irritated when they keep calling me and interrupting me, as I try to finish a conversation with somebody?

How can I expect them to be empathetic if I’m not empathetic with them when they need it?!

Bell ringing number 3

Mistake #3 – I don’t pay enough attention. I got home from the class, and found out that one of the other mothers, whose son is in class with mine, is a Syrian activist. She fights especially to empower women, to promote gender equality. (You can read her amazing story in this post).

And last year, she tried to contact me to take a coffee together, but I was always too busy with my own thoughts and problems, I never ever found the time to get to know her a little better and discover all that.

I mean, when I read such stories in the newspapers, I think it’s – wow!, amazing! And yet here she is, standing next to me every morning, and yet, I never knew before. It took me one whole year. What’s the point of sending messages to people all around the world on my phone, and then not noticing the one beside me? Great lesson for me.

The second step : consider your inner child

As  I signed-up to the French coach Christine Lewicki’s newsletter, a few months ago I received an invitation to join l’Académie du Féminin (French for Female Academy). They were offering a series of free web-conferences on the subject : “Choosing Love”.

Intrigued, I decided to watch a few of them. One of them concerned the Inner Child, and was presented by French psycho-practitioner Emmanuel Ballet. He has created a therapeutic method called “Child’s Heart” (Coeur d’Enfant in French).

I was deeply touched by his words. His way of talking didn’t appeal to me much, and yet..

The metaphor of the inner child

So according to what I captured, the inner child is a metaphor for our life as children, our experiences and feelings; but also our emotional, creative and sometimes irrational self. That part of us that is made of sensations and instinctive reactions.

Our inner child continues to exist even as we become adults; with its different ages, it keeps influencing us with its injuries and its spontaneous outbursts of life, and it is still affected by our adult life.

Therefore, in order to live a fully complete life, we owe it to ourselves to keep connecting with our inner child part. Which can be translated into keeping the contact with our emotions; learning how to welcome the feelings within us, without being submerged by them.

If we keep on following this metaphor, we also need to accept ourselves with all our experiences, bits of darker shades, with all the inner sides we want to hide and that were maybe those who weren’t accepted in us when we were children.

As the author said it, prove compassion and empathy for ourselves, and for the child that we once were.

Kinda like.. becoming our own parents. Ok I know it sounds a little weird, but trust me on this one, I’ll get to a point I promise!

inner child rebirth through doubts
The inner child’s rebirth through our doubts

Parenting my inner child..

It sounded strange to my own ears, maybe too psycho-analytic for me.. BUT, listening to him talking, I felt sad all of a sudden. Loving my inner child.. Of course I love me!

Then, I tried the exercise. I tried remembering myself as a child, pretending I wanted to cuddle me. As if I wanted to heal my own once-forgotten wounds. As if I was the parent of my inner child, truly loving me.

Well, let me tell you.. It wasn’t so easy. I couldn’t at first. In fact, I wasn’t even able to remember how I looked exactly. The only thing I remembered, was how I looked in pictures.

Little by little, flashes of my shame came up. For a very long time, I didn’t want to look at my pictures as a child, didn’t want to talk about it. I wanted to forget everything, to erase this part of me, because I was ashamed. Ashamed of my body, my looks (and of how my class mates used to call me names).

Ashamed of my clumsy spontaneity.

I was scared of recollecting who I once was. I thought it was all over, and yet, I feared my inner child. Didn’t want it back.. Still, I was conditioned by the same sentences and looks I felt on me then. Even now, becoming that inner child of mine again scares me a bit.

And yet. How can I raise and educate my own children; unconditionally love them when I can’t love the child I was? How can I be a good parent if I can’t parent my inner child?

Ok, it’s a metaphor, but in order to be a good parent, I should teach my children to accept and love who they are. Understand and explain to them the emotions they feel, and what to do with them. I should forgive their mistakes, firmly believing that they deserve my love no matter who they are, and what they do.

Inner child challenge
Inner child: the challenge

What does it mean, parenting my inner child?!

Since I have committed to writing on this blog, and have accumulated readings and videos on personal development, I have come across this expression, “giving birth to oneself”.

It began to resonate in me after the Inner Child lecture: there is a whole part of me that I kept for a long time hidden inside, that I ignored and did not want to see, and who on the other hand was very present in me when I was child ..

Maybe that’s why I love having children, why I feel so strongly this mothering desire? Don’t get me wrong. I love my children as unique human beings; and also, even if it was for a short time, as a part of me. I also like pregnancy and childbirth in itself, as a precious moment of discovery of myself through the creature who lived inside me.

Wake-up !

One day, I don’t remember how or why, but surely during a serendipity session, I downloaded the “wake-up kit”from Christine Lewicki’s website*.

It took me several weeks to read and fill it because at first I felt like I was empty, having nothing to write.

I will explain here briefly the principles, which are more widely discussed in Christine’s book “Wake-up” – it will be published in English during fall (I am now making the synthesis of the synthesis.)

The main assumption is that often, we live in a hurry, taken by our daily life, our errands, and that we forget ourselves, we don’t take the time to look inside and asking ourselves “Am I leading the life I wish to live?” A life filled by joy and enthusiasm and not by habit and duty.

Christine explores 3 limiting beliefs that often mislead us and which we should get rid of, and 4 fundamental principles that could inspire us to seek and live the changes we really want.

1st belief  : we feel the obligation of conform to other people’s expectations .

2nd belief : we were raised with a duty of modesty, being used to hide what isn’t normal, what doesn’t correspond to the average; our talents or brilliance.

3rd belief : we’ve learnt thatwe must be reasonable at all stakes, thus forgetting our desires.

The 4 principles :

  1. Dare be brilliant = free from these conditioning beliefs.
  2. take actions that correspond to our ambitions = begin to take action, even small steps, but every day, to bring the changes you wish for your life.
  3. Create our reality through the words we use = declaring in public, strong and clear, our goals will make them achievable.
  4. Take care of our inner source = every day, keep a moment of silence, re connection, to listen to our inner self.

And it goes further into suggesting a deeper reflection on which part of us do we want to let emerge? (Inner child.. does it ring a bell?!).What have we forgotten and we want to bring into the surface again? Which passions bring real pleasure into my life, that I want to experience on a daily basis?

Most importantly : what can I do from today to make all these thoughts a reality?

*Christine Lewicki is a Certified Business Coach, Speaker,Trainer, Bestselling Author and MasterMind Group Facilitator. She is committed to help Entrepreneurs claim their expertise and allow them to enroll more and more clients. You can subscribe to the O Coaching Newsletter published Monthly to share tools, tips, and advice to help you feel like a Ferrari on the Entrepreneurial Dirt Road and create  an {extra}ordinary life!  To sign up for your subscription visit O Coaching Inc. . LIKE  my  new US Facebook page! and  I Stop Complaining and {Bitching} ! 

Which connection between all this, my inner child and my children ?

If I started writing and creating myself this space of self-expression and sharing, it’s because I had, deep inside me, a strong desire of bringing some real change in my life. I didn’t know exactly what it should look like; nor where I should have gone to create it.

It’s only while walking that I’ve began noticing the path I was drawing. 

In order to write everyday, I need to nurture my inner child. I read, listen to myself, take the time to sit down and find the words. I let my creative part emerge.

While searching, I opened the door to a new universe, I discovered people who are in quest like me or who lived similar moments of doubts, and their stories; I started exploring a part of me that I had hidden, without realizing it at first.

I had to realize what dreams were in my head, but also ignore the voices telling me that it wasn’t for me to realize them.

Giving birth to myself is finding my inner self, in order to be able to find the others next to me.

Time is key

It’s astonishing, but it ends up being the same issue over and over again.

TIME.

Taking the time. Taking the time to breathe.

A moment to put the phone away and look at my children.

The courage to notice people next to me.

Taking the time to call friends.

Taking the time to think ahead about what I want my kids to learn, and reinforce it BEFORE it gets out of hand. BEFORE we are all “drunk on emotions”.

Of course I can’t do everything all the time! But I have recognize, deep down inside me,  what is the most important thing to me every day.

Love is the door

Love should always be there, right? We love our kids most than anything else. What about ourselves?

Do we need our children’s love? Or do we love ourselves enough, not to expect our children to compensate for our own lack of self-compassion ?

I’m being provocative here. But I’m afraid, that the reason why I didn’t give my children enough rules, or I didn’t enforce them to the end, was fear.

Fear of doing the wrong thing, for one thing. Fear of not being loved in return.

It just hit me. Strong and painful. Very often, I just want my kids to love me. I just want them to be happy.

But this is not helping them grow as loving, independent adults who are able to take decisions on their own.

This is only helping me, and in the very short run.

Parenting and goal setting

I’m a person who seeks control through organizing and planning. This is how my automatic self works. And one of the things that I’m trying to learn is to keep my focus on the present moment.

When I started thinking about blogging, and getting information on how to do it, one of the things I read repeatedly form experienced bloggers was : set goals.

Short, medium and long term goals, of what you want your blog to become. Then, you can list all you need to do in order to achieve these goals, and split them up into little steps that I can take every day, according to my time and needs. (Thank you Crystal for your great blog and advice, this blog wouldn’t exist without you).

This means basically juggling between visualizing big and great for your future, but keeping your focus on what I have to do NOW in order to get there.

I think parenting is the same thing. Set goals, split them into steps, and take action. Visualizing the goal helps me keep putting constant efforts every single day, regardless of how tired I am.

Fixing our mistakes

So the day after class, I didn’t get my daughter dressed. After eating her breakfast, she noticed she was still wearing her pajama and started yelling at me. “Mom! Why didn’t you dress me? You always do it!”

As calmly as I could, I explained to her that I decided it was now time for her to get dressed on her own. Of course, she didn’t take it in so easily.. After some complaining, I told her the same story the director had told us that day in parenting class:

“You know, last year in school, there was this one girl who never wanted to get ready to go to school. So her parents were always nervous and stressed, because they would come late for work.

One day, as the girl didn’t want to get dressed once more, her parents just took her clothes in a bag, lifted their daughter and put her in the car.

When they arrived to school though, the girl realized that the path leading to the school was covered in snow.

And there she was, in her pajama, no socks and no shoes, with her clothes in a bag. She had to walk like that until the director’s office, where she could discretely change so that no-one would see her. From the following day, you bet she was ready on time! Do you want to end up going to school in your pajama?”

Do I need to tell you? My daughter was indeed ready and on time too..

inner child and children future
Inner child, and my children towards the future

The future

So, children, here’s my vision of you in the future :

I see you as young adults who are not afraid of expressing who they are. Who are not afraid of the future, not afraid of showing they care for this world and the people and creatures who live in it.

I see you making choices with awareness, and taking responsibility for these choices. Feeling that you have a role to play. You have an impact. Your actions matter.

That day in the future, you will know that you can change the world. Not necessarily in a big scale; but you’ll know you can make a difference when you choose to.

Your love for life will shine.

And now, I’m going back to work harder, to help you draw your personal path on earth. Enjoying every tiny bit of this journey together.

Can you share with us what is the vision you have of your children in the future, as adults? What are the most important things to you? Let us know! And share this article with your friends if you’ve found it inspirational!

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