Parenting: the most stretching, vulnerable journey we will ever walk.
Why? Because it involves all of us. It’s not something we can give some of ourselves to. It positions us to see ourselves in ways we never imagined. It stretches and changes us. It’s an emotional roller-coaster full of joy and pleasure, triumph, tragedy and pain.
We read books and ask others for advice, grasping for understanding and the way forward out of the uncomfortable and unknown. Research says it’s the area that most people look back on with regret for the little focus they gave raising their children.
It’s often the place where worth is least cultivated and many families, although they live in the same space, don’t know how to truly be together.
Human beings are social beings. We have the largest brains of all the mammals for a reason and that is our ability to connect and collaborate with one another. This process is founded in a need for, and compassion for, one another. When hearts are connected together we see ourselves as part of something bigger than ourselves – we become a family.
But what happens on the way? Pain, discomfort, disappointment, the unknown, comparison, doubt and fear all become very real. Often we withdraw or we reach for another, one who can sympathise and agree with us.
Judgements of one another create an atmosphere of anxiety that is managed by staying at a distance and grasping for control of the environment.
The truth is neurologically living in our emotions is detrimental for us. A sense of lack (in our skill set, our available time, another’s love for us, finances etc) drives us to function in a part of our brain where our connection to one another is compromised, where our creativity, our executive functioning (problem solving, flexibility, self-regulation) are all operating at levels below who we are.
This also means that in the emotional part of our brain, our relationships become benefit based (“What can I get? What will you do for me?”). Most importantly, a sense of together is missing. Meeting these needs in the short term can make us feel better, but we have been created to feel better through our connection to one another.
The reward system in the brain releases natural opioids when we reconnect. The stress system in the brain releases cortisol which drives us to control and stay at a distance from one another.
Understanding how our brains work, the stress/reward system, as well as the amygdala and hippocampus help us understand who we are and how we create a compassionate, connected, collaborating family.
I’ve been dreaming into training around this topic in a relaxed, connected learning environment. I’m so excited to say that we’re launching small workshops for “Unveiling Parenting Neurologically” where you’ll be empowered with practical tips to walk out powerful connection in your family. Contact us for more info.