A guest post by Vivien Sabel – “In the words of Nikki Graham of Big Brother fame I hear you cry, “Who is she?” Well I’m Vivien Sabel, a mother, stepmother and at 42 a grandmother to the wonderful Z. In addition, I am a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, researcher, writer and at present wannabe author. I have penned a mini parenting book that outlines some ground-breaking research and findings in relation to infant communication. It’s currently being edited in the hope that it will be published in the not so distant future by a major publishing house and will be sold in the millions across the globe. I know that sounds like a big ask but to be fair my book has already been tipped to be a bestseller! I am so very excited!”
What do we bring with us to our parenting? I bring myself, my mother, my father, my upbringing, my personality, my everything from both the ‘here and now’ and the ‘there and then.’ This is what we all do isn’t it?
In bringing so much I feel it’s important to recognise this, ideally before we become Parents, but if not, when we are able. I often hear my father (and his sometimes anxious and controlling ways) in my parenting with my daughter. As soon as I realise my father is in the ‘room’, I politely look up to the sky and remind myself I am not father and I do not have to be him in my parenting.
We automatically bring our own experiences of being parented to our own children. Now, this is fantastic if our parents were, or are, fantastic at parenting, but if they weren’t always the best, then this is something we may struggle with. We firstly have to recognise these patterns and if it is a repetition of parenting that wasn’t great, then we can then choose not to repeat the negative and try something more positive.
Interestingly enough, as well as hearing my father (who passed away over 2 years ago) I occasionally see my mother. My mother is deaf and for me my memories of her parenting were based around not what she said but how she looked at me or how she moved her body. The power of her non-verbal communication was (and still is) immense.
Being raised by a deaf mother and a hearing father has gifted me with so much but it has heightened my sensitivity to both verbal and non-verbal language. The power of words and indeed the power of non-verbal language are incredible.
As parents, please be aware of all that you bring and all that you say. The words and body language will remain with us for better or for worse for a very long time.
What do you catch yourself doing that you swore you would never do?