I often see people having children for the wrong reasons and raising them in a way which is detrimental to the child’s mental health. Some of them teach their children discipline through fear. A few others ask the child to stop crying and not express emotions. A few more don’t respect the boundaries of the child. While we have extensive courses for a lot of different things in life, not many consider taking classes on gentle parenting and trauma healing.
1.Children are not a must
I like the Malayalam movie Sarah. It portrays how the mother can conceive a career as her creation and not necessarily a human being. If you don’t like children, you don’t need to have one for the sake of society. After doing research on life purpose through astrology, I learned how different people have different attitudes, reasons and relationships with children. Your life purpose could range from – raising children is a life purpose to dedicating life to a humanitarian cause and hence can’t spare time for children. Everyone has their own purpose here on Earth. So don’t force yourself to go against your life purpose.
2.Children need a nurturing environment
Children need more than an observer. When I am in an argument on this topic, it is usually with another person who has already raised a child. Even though I don’t have first hand experience, I still have the right to make this statement as a mental health professional. You can’t give birth to a child and leave that child with a grandparent or baby sitter and get on with your life as if you hold no responsibility. Children need reassurance in the form of touch and mirroring from the mother to feel safe. When children don’t feel safe between 6-18 months, they grow up into insecure adults never really able to get a hang on their emotional lives. Your ignorance can damage the emotional health of a human being for a lifetime.
I have a workshop on attachment style and how to undo the limiting beliefs you picked up in your childhood due to the parenting style you were exposed to.
3.Expectations from the child
You don’t have a child so that you can receive the love you never had. Your child is not present to fulfill all your dreams. You have a child because you want to provide a human being a non judgemental space to discover themselves on this Earth.
When you don’t understand the above concept, you start to discipline the child through a carrot and stick method and then cry after a few years on “Why is my child not able to handle stress?”
I suggest that couples should enroll themselves in gentle parenting classes and not take it for granted that they know how to raise a child.
4.Healing your own trauma/ generational trauma
You don’t want to carry forward the trauma which you carry in your family to your children. It took me a year to actively work on the patterns which run in my family to come to a point where I feel more under control and not run in some unconscious patterns. I won’t say that I have completely healed because it is a lifelong process but I catch my thoughts much sooner than before. We are not aiming for perfection but awareness of the patterns which run in your family so that you don’t pass it to the next generation.
Overall, raising a child can be a full time job in the first few years. It will demand a lot of your physical, mental and financial energy. Have a child only when you are ready and when you know that you can be a good nurturing parent. It is okay if that is not a priority for you in life. You are still valuable as you are. Don’t attach your worth to your ability to conceive a child.
Happy child raising!