Our babies are totally dependent on us. Their vulnerability is obvious. We respond to it accordingly, by doing our best to protect them and provide for them.
As they grow, we witness their vulnerability in different contexts.
At school when there is a test.
In friendship groups when there is a falling out.
When they are physically hurt or unwell.
At all these times the good enough parent offers care, support, understanding, to help their child to see that this challenge will pass.
As will the emotions it brings.
The good enough parent helps the child to learn that the distress is transient.
A learning opportunity.
A chance to become wiser.
Not despite of vulnerability.
But because of vulnerability.
If we were to protect our children too much it denies them this chance to learn.
They can feel ill-equipped in later life to face tasks alone. They can learn that it is only safe to show their vulnerability to their parent and no one else. They can live a half-life; not experiencing its fullness.
Conversely, if we were not to provide enough care or understanding, then these children learn that they must face the world alone and also struggle later to navigate life’s ordeals.
They hide their vulnerability, seeing it as a weakness and become super independent.
So, what can be done?
The best thing we can do is show it as it is.
To be Authentically You!
Ditch the toxic positivity - nothing is ever all good, all of the time.
(Kids have a brilliant BS meter and don’t buy it for one minute!)
Be true to yourself about what you feel and be honest with your child(ren).
This doesn’t mean scaring the pants off them when you are scared.
It means talking to them calmly and explaining a situation in language that they will understand.
For example: ‘Mummy has a problem, it is making her a bit nervous, but she is working out a solution and it will all be sorted out by tomorrow.’
Or: ‘I am sad because I’ve heard some upsetting news. I’m having a cry and will be okay in a bit.’
It’s always OK to feel what you feel!
If we can model this to our children they can learn how to recognize, allow, and be with their emotions, without being frightened of them.
Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and to be seen, whatever emotion you are feeling, allows your child(ren) to grow up to do the same.
It reduces secrecy.
It reduces Shame.
It allows authenticity, trust, and connection.
Brene Brown wrote:
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
Parenting requires the courage to be seen.
This is how children become courageous, confident, emotionally intelligent adults themselves.
If you would like to know more about emotions, motherhood, mental health, and wellbeing how about joining me in the Good Enough Mum Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/goodenoughmum