Learning From Children

Parenting for many is the greatest challenge in life. There is a great irony that it is also often the source of the greatest joy. To navigate this time my thinking had to change. I began to realise that these children were actually here to teach me. They were and are my greatest coaches. I would like to say that this came easily but it took many years and much pain to gain this learning. In recent years I began to share my lessons and learnings with others. I found that this allowed others to feel better in their circumstances and through sharing from this vulnerability and pain,  healing occurred.   So the concept of Learning from Children was created. It is aprocess of opening our vulnerability to others to share our experiences, our challenges and our joys. In a time where we have so many ways to connect with others through media we have never been less connected in a sense of community. Something we see in practice is that many of our parents feel lost and alone in their journey. They are managing without the community or village to help them to raise their children.
 
Parents today are the first generation to have to reinvent parenting. In generations gone parents could rely on the methods that their parents used with them as a reference for how to manage their own children. While many chose to do things differently at times or in certain circumstances the basic ideas and concepts held true and were valid. This is no longer the case. Children today are different. They are plug and play, and technologically savvy. They challenge convention and norms. They have no ultimate authority figure that they conform to. They are being raised in an age where there is infinite possibility. They are adapting to a rate of change that is outstanding just to keep pace with the world they will inherit. So our rules from the past simply do not apply. I often use the example of technology and ask the parents the question: ‘How did your own mother or father prepare you for the use of social media?’ It seems like a ludicrous question as our childhoods were so far removed from this and it seems incomprehensible that we have arrived where we are today. This is only one area that bears no resemblance from our childhood. This has a significant effect on parents. They look forward into the world that they are supposed to be preparing their children for and hold great fear about it. About their ability to adequately prepare and handle the challenges ahead with their child, and their ability to keep their child safe. I have met very very few who do not share these fears, and yet also very few who have looked at them with honesty or dared to share them with others.
 
This fear can lead to many types of parenting. Two which are prevalent are the helicopter parent and the laissez-faire parent. Let’s reframe here that these are both borne out of care. That they are struggling to find support, so these parents just find their own pathway that makes sense to them.
 
The helicopter parent is the one that hovers constantly over their child. They are controlling of their every move. They have engaged their child in activity to account for every waking minute to ensure that they have no spare time for mischief. They are watching every step of their lives. They practically do their child's homework and read all the books that they read at school, just in case they are needed. The child in these cases often feels suffocated and dying to get out of the tightened grip. They hide their lives from their parents in an effort to feel they have some control or indeed some choice in their lives. The parent often feels very heavily the pulling away of their child from them. Feeling that they deserved better ‘after all they have done for them’.
 
The laissez-faire parent says that I cannot control the environment and the significant influences so I will just let go and not try to control anything. These parents say that because every child has a phone it does not matter that mine has one before they are 7 years old. They will allow underage drinking because ‘everyone does it’. They find it difficult to set boundaries for their child and look outside of themselves for the references as to how to manage situations.
 
Both of these styles are borne of fear and we see this and the manifestation of these styles in the health of our patients. The stress created is evident in the bodies and the minds of our clients. As chiropractors we see this daily. We are placed well in our positions of trust to address these issues. We see the effects of stress in the nervous systems of our families and can alert them to the effects.
 
By creating a network of support and a community of parents willing to share and support without judgement we can change this. We can learn from our best ever teachers in our own children and the children of others. We can adopt the methods of Learning from Children and the concept of holding the vision and doing the now. Creating a vision of the future with our children and allowing this to direct our behaviour in the now. This leads to an empowered parent and also a well held and empowered child. 

Written by Bettina Tornatora, Chiropractor

Learning From Children the book is available for purchase via the website. Workshops are run throughout the year with various themes to support parents to find a community. One hour complimentary workshops can also be arranged for your practice. For further information visit
Learning From Children or contact Bettina 0417 672 195.