After two months of weekly sessions with a group of deeply invested parents, we finally celebrated all that we have learned during the eight sessions of the Circle of Security Parenting Series. More importantly, these parents were equipped with the mindset to continue growing into this parenting approach that focuses on your child's development, and discipline from a relationship-based approach.
Together, we learned to conceptualise our children's inner and outer world of emotional needs as a process of travelling on a circle of going out to explore, and coming in to fill up their emotional cups. Parents realised their role as always being bigger, stronger, wiser and kind to their children, and how this is practiced. We reflected on the importance of our own ability to "be with" certain emotions as a means to assist them to organise their feelings. This is sometimes easier said that done, as certain emotions were more acceptable (usually the easier, "positive" emotions) than others as we grew up in our own homes as children. We also spent some time specifically looking at how these phenomena manifest in infancy, and not only toddlerhood.
Once the basics have been laid out, we turned more towards personal reflection, and how our own childhoods influence the way we parent. Most of our psychological life is unconscious (about 90%!) and understandably, we mostly parent automatically. Unfortunately, this means not only the good experiences from childhood, but also the ones that we found limiting or sometimes even damaging. We unknowingly repeat our own parents' practices that did not accommodate with us (despite their good intentions!). Furthermore, even our parents' practices that we found helpful might not be the right way to parent your unique baby or toddler, and limit their psychological development. Becoming aware of how our own past influences our parenting behaviour today allows us to choose more consciously how we parent.
We continued to learn about what is beneath the surface of that dreaded problem behaviour. Although a slower learning process, a relationship-based approach, as opposed to a behaviour modification or punishment approach, has much more lasting and growthful benefits for your child and your relationship.
Lastly, we learned that despite our best attempts, the relationship with your child sometimes ruptures. We came to understand why repair is key, and how repair can be done. Importantly, we acknowledged that the intention is not to create a utopia for your child, but rather to create a meaningful world, where we are able to learn from our mistakes! Our motto throughout was that we try to be 'good enough' parents who are 100% present 30% of the time!
This six-minute video gives a simple introduction to Donald Winnicott, the psychoanalyst who introduced the idea of being a "good enough" parent. He also advocated the stance that ultimately global human welfare depended much more on the way we raise our children, than on political wrangles.
We are in our second week of running our first Circle of Security Parenting Series for 2016 in Centurion, Gauteng. After the first week of introducing the basics of attachment theory and main principles of Circle of Security, this week honed in on developing our parents' observation ('Seeing') and inferential ('Guessing') skills in order to better determine children's needs. It also introduced the importance of organising your children's feelings at such a young age.
Next week we continue into a very special chapter that focus on shared feelings between you and your infant or toddler. The workshop will be all about cultivating a state of mind of 'being with" your child and her/his emotions.
To find out more about the Circle of Security Parenting Series or other services offered by MindSprouts Family Centre, please feel free to contact us. Our new program starts 24 March 2016 (date to be confirmed).