What we are not aware of is hurting our children.

My first great love was my dad. 

(I’ll come back to that in a moment – we’re gonna Tarantino the hell out of this story)

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Every child loves their parents, and is loved by their parents in a whole special way.
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The love, the relationship you have with your parents is important because it sets you up for all the other relationships you have in life. The love your parents give you becomes the way you see the world. The lens you see the world through.

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If you had neglectful parents that put their own needs first, not tending to yours, you may grow up to believe that you are not important. Or that the world can’t be relied on to fulfil your needs. That the world and the people in it are unreliable. That they can’t be trusted. This isn’t necessarily a conscious thought, just a deep underlying belief that you hold.

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How do you think a person who believes the world is mostly a good place, with reliable people in it, will behave compared to a person who believes the world and its people are unreliable or dishonest?
What kind of relationships will these two different people attract and get into?
How will they treat others?
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Think of how open and honest you are when you trust someone fully, and how closed off and guarded you are with someone you are unsure if you can trust.

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I had a big realisation recently.
I have attached my self-worth to something that happened years ago, and all this time it wasn’t even an accurate belief.
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I loved my dad, I was a daddy’s girl. He was my hero. I’d run excitedly to the front door when he came home from work. I’d climb on his shoulders, and we’d galop around the living room. I will never forget a day when he bought home a Barbie toy for me – just because. There was no birthday, no special reason. Just because.
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I got older, I hit those teenage years, my mom got sick with cancer. She died.
It was devastating. My world was turned upside down and everything that made me feel safe and secure went out the window.
My dad threw himself into work as his coping mechanism. There was an added pressure on him to be both parents to my brother and I – but who can fill two pairs of shoes? You set yourself up for failure trying to be two people at once. It’s just not doable.
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We moved to Saudi Arabia shortly afterwards and after living there for two years I was at an age where I couldn’t carry on going to school there. My dad’s career was in the middle east so he believed that boarding school was the best option. At the same time I was “shipped off” to boarding school in England, my dad met his new wife, and they were starting their lives together.
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I hated boarding school. People were really racist to outsiders at that school and I only had 3 friends. After a year one of my friends got expelled for stealing some headphones, and then I was down to 2.

My grandmother died while I was at boarding school. I lost a friend to suicide while I was there. It was a really shitty time in my life.
I didn’t want to be there and had a calendar on the wall where I would put massive X’s, crossing out and counting down the days to when I could go home.

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When I went home in the holidays, nothing felt the same. My step mom had literally taken my seat at the dining table, and I cried feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere: not at boarding school, not at home. Once part of a team, now alone.

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At boarding school we had a shared phone, and you’d have to arrange a time for your parents to call you. My dad is intrinsically a disorganised person who can’t stick to a schedule. So when we’d arranged to have a phone call at 8pm, and he didn’t call within a few minutes of that time slot, the time would get given to the next girl waiting in line to use the phone. When he’d try to call at 9.20pm, or whenever, he’d get a busy signal because someone else was using the phone. This would happen ALL THE TIME.

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I felt so let down.
Like he didn’t love me enough to stick to the time he’d said. 

Like I wasn’t important enough to him.
Which I took to mean that I wasn’t important or good enough. Not just to him, but generally. That became my new belief. It’s easy to see why that happened being surrounded by people who weren’t my friends and with a dad who wasn’t shopwing up in the way I needed him to.
I carried that belief with me into life.

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Looking back, I think of all the times I’ve limited myself by having that underlying belief. The jobs I haven’t gone for, the relationships I’ve sabotaged, the people I’ve allowed into my life because I didn’t think I deserved better.

But hey, life carries on. 

I steeled myself, I got a bit tougher, a bit more closed off.

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My dad recently moved back to Denmark and came to my house with a bunch of old letters, photos and report cards from school. In amongst them were all the correspondence between him and I while I was at boarding school.
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I sat down and read them, and then bawled my eyes out.
I could see now, as an adult, as a parent myself, that he hadn’t pushed me away to start a new life. He was actually doing what he thought was best for me. He had offered sound advice when I’d turned to him with problems, and he’d struggled with the physical distance between us. It was so clear from his letters.
He is a disorganised person. He cannot be relied on to turn up at an agreed upon time.
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Does that make him a less loving parent? No. He loved me with all his heart.
I have carried an inaccurate belief with me, and it has become part of my identity, when it never needed to be.
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I have realised three VERY IMPORTANT things from this.
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The first is that our memories are notoriously unreliable. Our memories are tainted by the emotions we felt at the time. What I remembered as abandonment was in fact not. But I was only looking at it from MY perspective. Not from his. Not from both.
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The second is what we do as parents really really matters. We may think that us being a bit disorganised might not matter to our parenting, but it does. It is not what we do, or don’t do – it is HOW IT IS PERCEIVED by our child that matters. Awareness is needed.
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The third is, our thoughts and beliefs are POWERFUL.
A thought repeated many times becomes a belief. A belief will shape our actions – what we do, and also what we hold back from doing.
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We as parents are shaping our children’s beliefs about themselves, and as result – the rest of their lives. 

What they believe about themselves will determine what profession they choose – or do not.

It will determine what relationships and friendships they have. What they tolerate from others, and whether they form healthy or unhealthy habits. 

Self-worth is the root of all our decisions.

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If we raise children with low self-worth, where will they end up? 75% of young girls with low self-worth engage in cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, and disordered eating. They end up engaging in sex before they are ready for it.
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We need to do the inner work on ourselves, so we can be better parents to our children. When we are conscious parents we raise healthy, resilient children with good self-worth.
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If we don’t we are sentencing our children to go out into the world with beliefs that don’t belong to them. That we are unconsciously passing on without being aware of it.

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Send me a message to book a FREE parenting blind spot session with me, so together we can look at how you might become an even more amazing parent to your children than you already are now. Because it’s ultimately the things we are unaware of that cause us the most hurt.

One thought on “What we are not aware of is hurting our children.

  1. shereen_sobia@outlook.com

    This made me cry 😢 , so much and my heart felt heavy reading it. But every single thing is true.

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