Updated: Jun 17, 2020
Create a safe Haven – Environment
Following on from week one Creating a Safe Haven from the inside out, this week is all about how we can create the best environment for our children as they grow and develop.
Last week we talked about how we can create a safe haven inside ourselves so that we can be the solid foundation for our children to feel safe within themselves.
Everything I have learned from our society growing up feels like a lot of the time adults expect children to be a certain way. If they are not this certain way then there must be something wrong with the child. It is an extremely toxic way of thinking. Children are often treated like mini-adults, they are expected to understand things which are far beyond their natural development which leaves them feeling confused and disconnected.
There have been so many moments growing up that I experienced shame within myself and saw this many times in other's lives too that children are shamed when they do not behave in the way the adult wants them too. They are often shamed for their emotions and actions when they are likely following their own natural urges and instincts that allow them to experience the world or they are imitating something around them. They could be feeling a deep sense of frustration or hurt and need us to connect to them not to disconnect from them. When this happens children learn they are not acceptable and they close off the parts of themselves that have been deemed unacceptable by the adult.
We have learned in our society to become disconnected from ourselves. In turn, this leads us to become disconnected adults who then are trying to parent from a disconnected perspective with our own hurts and unmet needs. With this lack of understanding in ourselves, how can we possibly create the best environment to allow ourselves to grow and in this our children to follow so that we are not repeating the same perpetual cycles that stop us from becoming truly connected to ourselves and our children.
I believe there is no one way. However, there are many ways that we can unlearn what society has taught us so that we can become more connected to ourselves, more intuitive to our own needs, more observant to notice the things happening within our children that help us get a feel into their real needs and how we can support them in the best way.
One thing I believe we need to unlearn the most is the need for a quick fix. I believe we create a beautiful world for ourselves and our children when we start looking inward and we start asking ourselves the deep questions that lead us to grow. How can I become more connected to my children? How can I let go of my hurts so I can be there fully for myself and my children emotionally? How can I be more patient and understanding? I believe to have strong, dedicated, and truly connected relationships we must take the time to always be willing to grow and learn and evolve. To be able to look at things from a different perspective, to be able to listen before we have the first say, and learn to understand how another is truly feeling.
The adult leads, the child follows. My idea is that if we don't like what the child is doing then we as the adults need to change ourselves. Be better examples and be worthy of imitation. We need to become aware of our own doings before reaching out and correcting our children.
One of the ways we can provide the best environment first and foremost is how we show up as parents.
We are the first experience in the world our children will have and they learn their most important things from us consciously and unconsciously. What you bring to them is what will be the foundation for the rest of their lives. They see, hear, and feel everything from you.
Children pick up everything from your mannerisms and expressions, the way you talk and communicate with others, how you speak to yourself, how you look after and take care of them, they notice when you enjoy things and when you don't, they notice when you are happy or sad, they notice everything.
When we understand that from 0-7 the child is imitating. We can suddenly be open to a whole new world of possibilities.
I know that when I understood this I started to slowly change some of the ways I did things as I wanted to instill a joyful and positive approach to life rather than the one I realised I currently had which was that of I can't be bothered, everything is too much effort. Everything is overwhelming.
For example, I used to hate cleaning and washing and generally getting things done around the house. I grew up with a role model who did these things but I was not often allowed to do them because I had a perfectionist parent who wouldn't accept things less than perfect which of course is impossible for a child to live up to when they are learning. What a way to discourage a child from their innate desire to learn from their surroundings.
I had to learn a lot of things when my Son was born, I was unlearning and relearning and it was an interesting mix of newness and discovery. When I gained this understanding that children can sense whether we find joy in things and it would likely pass over to them I learned to call what I had considered chores and housework to purposeful work, I learned each day to do it with joy, with a smile, and with a song, as I understood that as I show a joy to cleaning clothes so that we have fresh clothes to enjoy wearing as I cook a meal not with irritation and rushing so we can eat but mindfully thinking about nutrition and feeling grateful for all that went into growing and preparing these ingredients so that we might enjoy a meal together was a huge awakening into how to change things little by little and these things have made such a big difference to my life. My son is an integral part of everyday life and alongside me, he will cut the vegetables and do the stirring, he hangs out the washing and has his own way of folding the tea towels, I accept that everyone does things differently so as long as it is safe, then I allow him to do things alongside me and he enjoys real work, as children do. They want to learn, they are always learning. All the time.
I believe it is a way of life, it doesn't matter where you have come from it only matters where you are going. You can create new experiences and feelings in your home, it's possible to give your children a beautiful childhood even if you had a rubbish one.
The key is to never stop learning, keep learning and keep growing. Don't hold on to the past. Allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone and know that it is possible to make changes.
Here are 6 of the key factors in creating a strong environment for children to grow.
Providing warm and connected interactions
Honouring the innate need for movement and exploration
Creating quality language through stories, finger rhymes and songs
Crafting a strong, nourishing rhythm and using imitation, repetition, and limits to promote positive discipline
Valuing the child's feeling and inner life for imagination and creative play
Understanding your child's individual personal, emotional, physical, spiritual and mental requirements and their various stages of development
Together, I know that innately within us we wish to live in a calm and connected world. Where this is often not possible in the busy outside world, It is possible within the home. We can create this beautiful environment and space for our children to grow and thrive and to live connected lives that allow them the time and space to work things out, to grow and learn alongside us. So that when they do go into the big world they will have the most amazing inner life, they are so prepared for that world, but it all begins in childhood.
This is the best gift we can give our children.
I am going to empower you as a parent to look inside and to heal your hurts and understand that YOU are the change. Everything you need is already inside you and I want you to know that I am here to support you and nurture you as we find our way together along this journey of parenthood.
Never stop learning,
Never stop growing,
Never stop finding more awareness within yourself,
Never stop connecting,
Never stop loving so deeply
Never stop working on yourself
The calm connected world we seek is inside us.
As we connect in on this beautiful inner world of ourselves that we connect to you can bet your bottom dollar that this beautiful place, this feeling that you want to create will manifest in your reality. Without a doubt.