I am privileged to write this post on practising compassion in parenting for #1000Speak and Finish the Sentence Friday hosted by Kristi Rieger Campbell of Finding Ninee. Our prompt for FTSF today is “”Compassion is important because…..”
More about the 1000Speak movement at the end of the post.
Practising Parenting with Compassion
Compassion is important because compassion makes us happier individuals. I find it most relevant in the parenting context. Compassion actively promotes better relationships with our children, as we appreciate them and steer them in the right direction and of course – learn from them! I’ve noticed that compassion also cultivates cooperative children, building their self-esteem and confidence, while lowering their tendency towards negative behavior.
Best of all, children with compassionate parents become emotionally strong and happy.
Now if that is not a great outcome, I would love to know what is.
Now more than ever, I have to be at my compassionate best when my son’s on the threshold of his exams – exams that will determine his future. It is a stressful time for all concerned and the one thing we’ve pledged to practice is compassion. And lots of empathy, because – let’s face it – he’s the one who has to work hard and perform even though people constantly wish us luck. I feel lucky already, knowing that my son understands that the harder he works, the luckier he gets.
What I learned from Practising Parenting with Compassion
Practising compassion has taught me that compassion is not about allowing children to do whatever they want. It is certainly not about letting them get away with anything they do. What it does imply is getting deeper into the child’s behavior to understand what prompted a certain behavior. If the child is throwing a tantrum, it is about finding out why and enabling her to get a grip on her behavior so that she can control her impulses.
You probably think this is not the ideal parenting strategy, but then, there’s no such thing as a perfect parent, right?
Also, perfection is highly subjective. I’d be the first to admit I make mistakes in the things I say or do when it comes to my son. If I had a cent for every 20/20 hindsight experience- I’d be a zillionaire.
Then again, happily for parents, children are quite immune to the mistakes we make, because their love for us is unconditional. Talk about a crazy win-win for both!
I’ve also learned that when my words are positive, I get the outcome I desire. That definitely doesn’t mean I am a saint who does not get angry, annoyed, or mad – I am human, after all. But the point is – self-control.
In our family, when we get angry, we consciously calm down and control ourselves and start counting from 1. Regardless of how long we have to count to reach there.
Another thing is the way we express ourselves. We have pledged not to shout. We strive to show by example what we’d like to teach our son. We remind each other when we are on the verge of raising our voices. Yes, of course we feel like shouting. But we don’t. Now, we’ve made it a habit and are delighted to find a very major bonus – a side-benefit – less stress for all.
Being nasty does not achieve anything – except resistance. What is funny is – on the rare occasions we do have to pull up our son, he understands we have his best interests at heart and takes it in the best spirit. We are careful not to be negative or raise our voices as we definitely do not want him to learn that might is right.
I’d love to share five points for practising compassion here that work for me:
So important for good communication, especially with our children. It helps us understand them better, bond with them and appreciate them. We make it a point to share our days with each other, when we go out for our evening walk together and during and after meal times together.
Whenever my son comes with a problem (oh they do!) we talk it through. We explore possibilities and invariably, he is the one who finds the solution. After all, he’s the one who has to handle it. Airing our feelings and thoughts lightens the load most of the time. It helps look into the situation from the outside, objectively rather than subjectively. By the time we’re done with thrashing it out, he has also learned something from this that he can use later to deal with things.
School, yes. But that’s basic. When he transitioned from toddler we bought toys to help him learn something or develop skills. I remember he loved jigsaw puzzles and building blocks. He loved music, sketching and folklore. Now he enjoys pure science as his chosen subjects while continuing to relish music, culture studies and a number of other topics. We try to stay tuned to his interests and support him in whatever way he can.
Spending time together
As I mentioned earlier, we make it a point to spend an hour on our terrace every evening when we talk about our day, sharing the good and the not so good. By the time we’re done and return home, it sets a positive tone for the rest of the evening and ensures that all of us go to bed in peace.
I am blessed that my son is tactile and affectionate and this makes my mommy-heart brim with happiness. I am grateful for the wonderful relationship we share. Happy children are truly affectionate children. Happiness stems from being loved. Compassion facilitates this process.
Compassion in parenting is not all that hard. In fact, it is pretty much like smiling. You smile and people smile back at you, right? Most people. Compassion is like that. Showing kindness and love makes us more approachable as parents and individuals. The result? Strong, positive relationships that make life worth living.
The 1000 Voices for Compassion #1000Speak Campaign
Headed by Yvonne Spence and Lizzi Rogers, the 1000 Voices for Compassion #1000Speak movement is happening on February 20, Friday. Read Yvonne’s post to know more. She asked:
How cool would it be if we could get 1000 bloggers on the same day to write posts about compassion, kindness, support, caring for others, non-judgement etc.?
We could call it 1000 Voices For Compassion.
Participate in the 1000speak movement by writing your own post about Compassion. Here are 20 ideas to get you started
Then link up here and visit the others. Let’s flood the internet with love and compassion!
P.S. If you’ve signed up for the April A to Z Challenge 2015, sign up for the Theme Reveal Blogfest here