From my stance as a wholistic wellness practitioner I see more and more the crumbling of the family dynamics in many areas.
More and more synthetic foods, supposedly to preserve longer shelf life, to add more convenience, with the pretence of offering busy families back some quality time.
Well that would have to be one of the biggest marketing scams that we have ever bought into.
The foods are not only causing our children to have behavioural problems and learning difficulties, but many allergies and auto immune diseases are resulting from this ‘quick fix food’.
So why is the promise of more time so appealing? Why have we become so time poor that we would prefer to feed our families chemical laden shortcut meals over real food?
Enter in problem number two. We have lost the art of family time because we have overextended our wants over our needs and our priorities are misguided in our definition of success.
Children have too much freedom, less respect for elders and property and are less articulate and socially unaware because of the huge influence of social media being their mentors instead of us.
I believe the most precious gift we can offer our children is our time and our boundaries, not our wallets.
No one said parenting was an easy task but like anything that is worthwhile, it takes consistency, patience and time, remembering that our biggest job in this world is to help guide and encourage another precious member of the next generation to find their place in this world.
Obviously from my standpoint, natural is the way to go, but not just in food. Natural parenting that comes from the heart and not a text book or being peer pressured into what everyone else is doing.
One of the hardest lessons I learnt as a mother was that it was not my job to be my child’s best friend. So many people have problems playing the bad guy or not having people like them, especially their own child, or is it just easier to give in and save an argument? Consistency isn’t always easy to adopt no matter what we are doing but in something this important, I believe it is imperative.
As parents, we are the most influential people in our child’s lives so the job requires more from us than feeding and clothing them. They watch us constantly, they may not always listen to us, but they certainly absorb all that we are doing. They will role model all our behaviours, positive and negative.
Some of the old fashioned values I believe need to come back into play to encourage respect are family values, art of communication and boundaries.
Family rituals and traditions, eating meals together, restricting technology, encouraging healthy sports (but not so many after school activities that the family never sees one another), playing games and having family outings are all conducive to setting up good foundations that can be passed down from generation to generation.
Giving our kids responsibility and the ability to earn ‘pocket money’ is a good first step in teaching this. Instant gratification and over consumption is a major dysfunction in today’s families.
A few years ago I wrote an article on Parenting Adult Children which discusses how the parenting role changes when our children become adults. It talks about how we can enable them because we feel anxious of them not being happy. Without our interference they would learn to adjust, self-correct, and take responsibility for the choices they make. That is our role, to teach them how to survive in this world when we are no longer there to support them.
Plant the seeds today and we will reap the rewards of our family trees growing and flourishing for years to come.
This is a poem I wrote my daughter when she was testing the boundaries of teenage independence and to this day I know it was a turning point in my life to be her parent first and foremost. Now I get to be her friend.
The Angels were smiling on the day you were born
A gift of their own, so precious and warm
My auburn haired beauty with her masses of curls
A bond everlasting, my sweet baby girl
A knew you were special from very first sight
I knew you’d be stubborn, from this we would fight
From words will come wisdom, a lesson for each
From listening comes knowledge
That no one can teach
There’s a spirit in you that I know I don’t own
But please have some patience for it feels so alone
To care and to nurture and protect you from all
Then to take a step back is a really hard call.
Please know what I do comes straight from my heart
For I know nothing else,
I was your Mum from the start.
I know now you can’t see what I’m trying to do
But maybe someday you’ll have a daughter too
And when you come to me with head in your hands
I’ll smile and remember, it wasn’t so bad.