Thursday, March 7, 2013

Spiritual Parenting

Feeling isolated, my teen needed a centered parent who understood.
This week tensions ran higher than usual with my kids. I have three daughters: a teen, a preteen and a preschooler. The developmental stage for all  of these ages focuses on detaching from parents, finding individuality and hanging out with friends. Ugh! It creates a family life with everyone wanting to go in different directions.

As a parent, it's challenging sometimes to peacefully manage every one's needs and expectations. Often, I feel overwhelmed, frustrated and misunderstood. For example, the other day my teen accused me of favoritism and being too permissive with her younger sister. Initially, I felt hurt and checked in with myself to see if her accusations had merit. When I got quiet and released my defensiveness, I realized her outburst wasn't about me. She was feeling unhappy and disconnected from her friends. I didn't quite see it at first, then I realized she wanted a different life experience and was expressing it. I was the safe place to voice her discontent.  

Mimi Doe, one of my favorite New Thought parenting experts and author of 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting, writes in the chapter called Release the Struggle:

Next time you are locked in conflict or can't find your way out of a problem, take a deep breath and say, "I let go of my struggle to make things happen and I surrender to the intuitive voice within me to reveal the answers for my greatest good." Then wait with faith that divine order is at work and answers will come. Let's admit to ourselves that we are not perfect parents and allow God in to help.

Those beautiful words perfectly expressed what happened for me in that interaction. Instead of trying to fix myself or my daughter's unhappiness, I simply opened up to God's grace and received clarity. For me, seeing the conversation clearly allowed me to release my emotional attachment to our heated discussion and find peace, love and understanding. From that place, I smiled and nodded with wisdom. I could now know for my daughter that she would find abundant opportunities to connect with friends outside of the classroom. 

Two days later, a friend called and invited her to attend the high school's afternoon soccer game. My teen's joy and enthusiasm after the soccer game made me smile. Happiness returned. She was in alignment with her good.

This demonstration reminds me why I meditate in the morning. Meditating keeps me open and receptive to God's grace, so when the teenage, preteen and preschool emotions overflow, I can be the wise, centered parent who is ready and willing to hold a safe and loving space.

If you are looking for spiritual parenting insight and support, join Rev. Pattie Mercado and other spiritually enlightened parents today, 11:30 a.m., at the Center for the monthly Parent Forum. The Parent Forum meets on the first Thursday of every month from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Center. Email Rev. Pattie at pattiem@cslcv.org for more information.