How to Grow as a Parent: Regulate, Re-parent, and Reflect

No matter who you are, you already hold the wisdom, intelligence, and insight to guide your child into adulthood. By healing and growing yourself,  you can remove the barriers that sometimes block you from parenting from your highest self. 

Here are a few ways to practice healthy growth.

Learn to regulate. Teach emotional regulation by demonstrating it.

Ask yourself: 

  1. When was the last time you became emotionally overwhelmed? (Whether it’s anger, withdrawal, or anxiety — any big feeling that disconnects you from what’s happening in the moment.) 
  2. Can you curiously and compassionately notice the root of the trigger? (Fear, unmet expectations, past wounds, etc.)
  3. Notice what comes up, welcome it, breathe, and then act intentionally.

Always connect to yourself first, before connecting to your child. When you are aware of your own inner state and regulated, you are able to connect deeply with the experience of your child and be with them in any experience. This is attunement, and it’s essential for relationship building and healthy attachment.

Ask yourself: “What emotional state am I in right now? How will that affect the way I treat my child?”

Reflect on your own upbringing. When you notice and reflect on what worked (and didn’t work) in your family of origin, you are more empowered to shape the way you parent.

Ask yourself: 

  • “What memories, experiences, rituals, and traditions from childhood were supportive and I want to integrate into my family?”
  • “What ways of being and experiences from my childhood were harmful, and I want to leave them behind?”

Practice re-parenting. Even if your parents were wonderful, they fell short in some way. Be aware of those shortcomings and work through them with gentleness and love to not repeat the same patterns.

Try this:

  • Imagine yourself as a child.
  • Imagine receiving perfect love and attention from a parent figure. 
  • Practice parenting from this place.

Find your own inner compass. When you parent from your own sense of inner knowing and guidance, you will know what advice, practices, and decisions are appropriate for your family.

Ask yourself:

  • “What am I naturally moving towards?” 
  • “When do I feel most alive and connected?”
  • “What thoughts and beliefs are keeping me stuck?” 
  • “What thoughts and beliefs are empowering me?”
  • “What is my heart telling me?”

Don’t forget your body! You are well aware of what your child’s body needs for healthy growth: the right balance of rest, play, movement, nourishment, stimulation, and connection. Your body needs all of that too. 

Ask yourself:

  • “Which of those things do I need more of?”
  • “What is one small thing I can do to make a shift toward more balance?”

To close, try this simple practice:

  • Sit quietly and breath steadily for about one minute, allowing the mind and body to settle.
  • Ask yourself, either silently or out loud: “What wants to heal and grow within myself today that has the potential to improve the trajectory of my family?” 
  • Drop this question into your heart. Repeat it if desired.
  • Sit quietly and notice any thoughts, images, ideas, or feelings that arise.

Write down what you notice. Now you have insight into the next step you can take.