lessons from our children
I am so happy to share with you today a guest post by the lovely and inspiring Karina Ladet of Karina’s Inner Space. Karina shares with us her thoughts on parenting from a multicultural perspective.
Tell us a little about your family
My name is Karina and I live with my husband Olivier and our two children, Gabriel (almost 6) and Lou Kalliste (almost 3) in a small village in the South of France. We’re a pretty multicultural family as I am a Cuban born Swede with a Swedish dad and a Romanian mom, and my husband is French. Being from different cultures means that my husband and I regularly “discuss” what is the “right” way to do things, ha, ha! I am pretty sure most couples deal with that but it seems like an extra challenge for us as we have been brought up in very different ways.
Describe as best you can what kind of parenting style you use.
Wow! My parenting style started out very influenced by attachment parenting and I love being physically close to my children. With the arrival of our second child I have become a little more detached and I now allow myself more time for myself and I respect my own space more too… My husband has been brought up in a more traditional way and we have talked for hours about how to balance a traditional style with a more hippie-inspired one ; ). When we became parents for the first time we realised just how opposite our views on education were but I am happy to say that we have now (almost 6 years later!) found a good balance that works for us and our family.
What do you see your role is as a parent?
To be fully present with my children as much as possible and to walk my talk. I try to let my children be as free and independent as they need to be and also respect my need for boundaries. I see children as perfect and whole human beings when they arrive in this world and my task is to be there next to them when they need me. I try to communicate with them in a respectful way and let them express any feelings that they need to let out. I also realise more and more that it is so important that I live my own life and do things that make me happy because my children also learn from that. My view of my role as a parent seems to evolve with time. Nothing is rigid, everything can change.
What has been the most difficult part of parenting for you and what helped you through this?
Oh! When my son was born he became the centre of our family and I was so in tune with his needs (or what I thought were his needs : ) that I completely forgot about myself. What helped me was to talk to other parents and to my husband. He is so much better at respecting his own boundaries and kept telling me it was ok for me to take care of myself too. I became so much more relaxed after that! Now I take it easy and try not to be too hard on myself
What has been the most rewarding part of parenting?
All the Love in my life! And getting to know two amazing young people. They have taught me so much about life and about myself. Going through pregnancies and giving birth has given me access to an incredible internal strength. After my son’s birth I felt like Superwoman! Anything was possible after going through that.
Twenty years from now, looking back at yourself as a younger parent, what helpful message would you share with yourself? What might you say to other parents?
• Take care of yourself too! You don’t have to do something big but give yourself some me-time every day.
• Ask for help when you need it! You don’t have to do everything on your own.
• Allow yourself to be human with good days and bad days. It’s ok not to be Supermom every day. Children don’t need perfect parents. They need loving and caring parents and then you can work your way from there.
is a channel and happy hippie-at-heart. She offers one on one readings, workshops and (soon!) e-courses where you can learn how to communicate with your guides and angels. Visit her on her blog Karina’s Inner Space or connect with her on facebook
If you like this post and think other parents would benefit from hearing different parenting voices please use the share buttons below! Be sure to join us next Thursday for another inspiring glimpse into parenting on the Listen to the Beat Within Guest Parenting Series!
A few years back, my sons made up a club between them that I have to remind myself of whenever there are sibling spats. They call their club “Super Heroes’ Club” and designate their stuffed animals as super heroes who earn powers every time they do something helpful or good amongst themselves. It seems to give them a sense of control over their lives as well as a feeling of being special and appreciated. They take the assignment of super hero powers seriously to the point that my youngest gets upset if his toys have not earned as many powers as his brother’s toys.
A few months back when my youngest was having difficulty following routines my eldest suggested that it may help him if we said that every time he did his routine one of his “guys” earned another super power. While my youngest didn’t go for it I thought it was a pretty innovative idea on the part of my son. I could tell he had really put some thought into coming up with a solution (this was during one of our family meetings). Likely my youngest wanted to maintain some sense of control over the the super hero rules not to mention that he probably wanted to keep the pretend and real stuff separate for simplicity sake of course.
This got me thinking about how kids aren’t the only ones who need some sort of recognition that they are doing well. Sometimes as parents we need some encouragement or a “prize” to feel appreciated and keep us going. After all aren”t we by the very definition of being a parent super heroes? Don’t we deserve some recognition of our hard work? Everyone needs to hear that they are doing well and that they are appreciated. The trick as parents is to read between the lines to hear the appreciation. But sometimes we need to hear it loud and clear. And like my sons’ super hero club where they basically toot their own horn about how great they are, there is no reason that as adults we shouldn’t sing our own praises, why wait for outside recognition when we are quite capable of giving it to ourselves. Yes its true you can praise yourself, you just may need a little practice since in this society we are socialized to wait for praise, even strive for praise outside of ourselves instead of giving ourselves what we need.
So today I invite you to announce to the world what you deserve recognition for as a parent. No need to be shy. What have you done well that you are proud of? I know its hard, perhaps even out of the ordinary for some of you to sing your own praises. To give you a little encouragement, I will send a special gift MP3 of The Inspired Parent Affirmation Meditation to your inbox to every parent who joins in and announces at least one thing to the world that makes you a superhero parent (note this is a one time thing, you will not be signed up for our monthly newsletter or list automatically, but you are welcome to do so by filling out the form in the top right corner if it calls to you!). Take the chance now and share with others your proud moments.
This weekend my son got an idea into his head to make something and he’s going with it full speed. He won’t stop. He is building a go cart from scratch. Despite my (unintentional) road blocks “No you can’t take apart your skateboard and use the wheels”. He perseveres; he manages to get the skateboard wheels from a friend’s skateboard which is old and worn.
He doesn’t give up. He has a vision and holds on to it.
He uses his dad’s power tools and enlists the help of his friends. “I don’t think it’s a good idea for your friends to use the power tools as they aren’t familiar with them.” Yet another road block from a limit setting adult. But he perseveres once again; he has his friends hold things in place as he works on them; has them help lift large pieces of wood from the back yard to use. He negotiates that they will share this go-cart in exchange for the wheels and the labour. He doesn’t give up. He has a vision and holds on to it. He knows instinctively that he must do this, hang on, keep his dream alive if it is to become reality. And so he does.
He won’t stop. Even so much that when I call him in for a late dinner he takes an extra 20 minutes. He cleans up the tools somewhat reluctantly (clean-up somehow is not part of his vision) and comes in to an annoyed mother. A torn mother, who wants to allow his creativity to unfold, who doesn’t want to discourage his dream from fruition, but who realizes that certain routines need to be upheld or chaos may unleash itself in our household…..or will it? Yes, its the delicate balance between letting go and steering clear. Always a challenge.
He eats and diligently heads back out to work on his project, with the determination that would earn him and A+ if it were for school.
The next morning his determination continues. “You have to do your chores first” I unwittingly say in my roadblock voice. “Okay” he says, after first trying to negotiate that he do half first and the other half after working on his go-cart. He does his chores in record time and is outside eager to create his dreams. He enlists his brother’s help this time, gets the nerve to ask our neighbour to borrow some tools he needs, and is off! He is so focused, that even on an empty stomach, calls of pancakes for brunch are not enticing enough for him to come in right away. But he eventually comes in, fuel is a necessity after all. He eats and diligently heads back out to work on his project, with the determination that would earn him and A+ if it were for school.
He inspires his brother to make a go-cart too, which he helps him get started. He’s a dream maker, an inspiration, a magnet attracting what he needs to get to where he wants to go. All because he has a vision so strong it drives his determination. A dream so important to him he is able to continue pursuing it despite detours and roadblocks.
As I write this I realize now that there is so much I can learn from his endeavours this weekend (and most days). I am truly honoured to be his unwitting student.