Being a modern parent is very challenging. We do our best to teach them to be caring and responsible. However, in today’s world, we are expected to teach them to be emotionally and socially healthy as well. Balancing home and work life can be overwhelming. Not only do we have to worry about covering our children’s basic needs; in addition, we have to now manage their relationship with technology. Between browsing the internet, social media, and the situations that it places our children in; it places parents in a very difficult place.
A lot of parents wonder if they are failing at properly educating their adolescents. They feel ashamed for not knowing what they are supposed to do. We could be very good at being hard on ourselves when talking about parenting. Therefore, I will address the subject of compassion.
When we feel compassion for others, we feel kindness towards them, empathy and desire to reduce their suffering. So being compassionate to ourselves would be being the same towards us. Self-compassion creates a space within us that is free of judgment. It is a place that recognizes hurt and failure that softens to allow those experiences with kindness and caring (Emmel, B. n.d).
Dr.Seppala, PH.D, Science Director of Standford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, states that based on research, self-compassion is the source of resilience, empowerment, learning and inner strength. On the other side, self -criticism makes us weaker in the face of failure, more emotional, and less likely to assimilate lessons from our failures.
Some other scientific benefits that can accompany compassion are; reduced suffering, opening your heart, enlarging your perspective and identity, increasing your happiness and improving your health ( Tremaine, n.d.). All of which adds to the greater goal of giving you peace.
How can We Apply Self-Compassion to Us?
Be kind to yourself
Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend. Let’s remember that we have the responsibility to raise our children and we haven’t been trained for it, times have changed, what worked in the past might not work in the present because we were not like our children and their environment now is totally different in every sense. We are doing the best we can with what we know and technology and social media are evolving faster than we can process the changes in our minds
Be considerate to yourself
Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend
Release the Blame from Yourself
Our experience of having a particular type of parents or not having parents at all, can somehow give us or not insight of how to be a parent, but still we don’t get to choose our circumstances or our parents. Therefore it is unfair to blame ourselves for what we are lacking or we don’t know because it was never taught to us. Let’s remember also that even the positive experiences one had as children may not provide the knowledge needed to raise children in today’s world.
Do not Judge Yourself
Life is getting busier and if you have different roles in your life you can only do so much. But remember, you decided to live this way because based on your values and experiences you think it is the best for your family or simply because you don’t see any other option or don’t know how to do it differently. But you are doing what it makes sense for you and you are using the best of your abilities to make that decision.
Accept your Humanity
We are all imperfect and we all suffer, this is what makes us human. We are not supposed to be perfect, that is an inaccurate idea that we create in our minds and becomes a burden throughout our lives. A lot of societal expectations are based on the idea of “the perfect parent” which is unreal. Don’t let yourself fall into that trick.
2. Be a Healthy Parent Instead of a Perfect Parent
One of the many benefits of being compassionate to ourselves is that it allows us to accept our lack of knowledge and makes us aware of the complexity of being a parent, without judgment. This acknowledgement will allow us to take responsibility and move on.
3. Don’t be Afraid of Getting Help if you Need it
Moving on as a parent in this case could mean looking for help from other parents or professionals, reading books or looking for other resources and tools that will help us to be better parents without feeling guilty.
Being compassionate will also allow us to be compassionate to our children and others, allowing us to improve our relationships and getting the best out of everyone
by Cristina Deneve, MA, AMFT
Supervised by Michael Uram, MA, LMFT, LPCC
Emmel, B. (n.d.). Developing Self-compassion and Learning to be Nicer to Ourselves. Retrieved from; https://tinybuddha.com/blog/self-compassion-learning-to-be-nicer-to-ourselves/
Sepala E., Ph.D. (2014 ). The Science of Happines Health and Success, The Scientific Benefits of Self-compassion. Retrieved from: http/emmaseppala.com
Tremaine, Leigh (n.d.). Health and Wellbeing, Finding Inner Wellness, 9 Powerful Benefits of Compassion. Retrieved from: https://leightremaine.com/9-powerful-benefits-of-compassion/