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Create Memories and Make Disciples

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

I hear people talking about how wonderful they felt when they had their children, when they first held them in their arms and what not. I hear them say things like they are rightfully mine. I hear them claim ownership of their children. I hear them describe these feelings of intense love like they’ve never felt before and connection and overwhelming sense of being loved. And that’s... oh so cute. But...let me tell you a secret, I didn’t feel any of that. I mean...don’t take me wrong, I love my children dearly and unconditionally, but, that’s some fairytale stuff I’ll address another time. On this blog I just want to talk about making sure you’re not the catalyst for your child’s mental health problems. That You are not the reason your child has some kind of personality disorder. Because bad parenting is the catalyst of many personality disorders. Anyway. I digress.

When I had my children I had an incredible sense of relief that my child was physically perfect and an overwhelming indescribable sense of fear that this little life was solely dependent on me. Not only for nutrition but for nurture. Dependent on me Not only to nourish their body but also and perhaps more importantly to nourish their soul. Dependent on the way I would conduct myself, and take care of them. And, in the back of my mind I kept thinking, ‘ I cannot mess this up’ , my child will not be a narcissist or a sociopath or a psychopath. A tad dramatic you may think but I have my reasons. Granted, you can argue that psychopaths are born and not raised but still I have my doubts and always had. Anyway, moving on. I never thought about who my child was going to look like or how tall they would be, or how slim or...fat. I did think about not having a sickly child because I never thought I could cope with that so I set out to learn as much as I could about nutrition.

In fact, my fear started sometime before my first child was born because I often looked after other people’s children and thus I decided to study Puericulture. And what does puericulture mean? Well, it means The rearing of young children, conceived of as an art or science. In other words bring up and care for a child until they are fully grown. I have to confess that sometimes I feel like I raised my kids like a science project. Many times I regret not giving them that extra free pass on something but hey, you live and you learn. I tried to pick my battles, I lost some, but I won many wars.

I never thought of my children as my possession, I mean they are my children but they do not belong to me. I never thought of them as a continuation of my person and never thought of them in a way of getting them to somehow fulfil my own dreams. They’ve been put in my care and it’s my responsibility to guide them to be the best people they can be. It’s my responsibility to help them find their skills and talents and to help them develop those same skills and talents.

A lot of times I asked my kids what should their reprimand be. Something along the line you did this now what should I do, what should your reprimand be? And often times they’d come up with something that I thought ok I’ll drop it down a notch and that worked. The aim of reprimandind a child is to teach them that actions have consequences and also because if you don't teach them as a parent, the world will teach them but only without the love part that only a parent can have for them.

I’ve tried to guide them by example. I tried to make them disciples and not simply disciplined. Don't take me wrong I've always maintained my authority as their parent, however having autority does not mean being authoritarian. These are 2 very different concepts. Authority because I was in charge but not authoritarian because I didn't impose a strict obidience at the expense of personal freedom.

Did I do it right? I. Am. Not entirely sure. I am certain that I have made a lot of mistakes along the way. Some of which I have apologised for. Some of which I deeply regret. However, my children appear to be ok. They seem to manage to pick themselves up, they have positive attachment dynamics and they have goals and aspirations but most importantly they care about the next person and most of all they are their brothers keepers.

See, the point is...parents, authority without understanding, love and trust makes you an authoritarian and you cannot just be authoritarian because then children will become resistant to you and either do the opposite you tell them or be completely defiant.

If you wish to discipline your kids you need to make them disciples first. Because a disciple is someone who wants to be connected to you, someone who loves you and will follow you, will follow your guidance.

The power of parenting does not depend on your wisdom, or skill or experience and expertise. The power of parenting, your authority as a parent derives from the willingness of the child to belong to you. To be your disciple. Without the child’s willingness nothing you say or do will work.

And how do you get that you ask. Well, you need to get the first years right. The First 3 years are crucial for attachment and for the child to feel secure and know that they are loved unconditionally and the next 4 are imperative for the development of relationships, to thoroughly feel your presence and energy and just learn to be. If you get these first years right then the rest will flow. If not, you will spend the rest of your life trying to remedy the situation and neither you or your child will be able to just be.

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