Something that's been really interesting that I've noticed in my clients over the years, is that the people who didn't have kids and did this integration work, and then went on to have children afterwards, felt really prepared as a parent. At least as much as you can ever feel prepared for being a parent! They felt like because they've done this work, that they had actually had a lot better understanding of self care around being a parent, as well as respecting their child as the individual person that they are because they as the parent know and respect that they themselves are their own person.
There are 2 main keys to parent in a more integrated way:
1) make sure you look after yourself
2) make sure that you treat your child as the individual person that they are, because we all have four people within ourselves.
The four people develop in the imprint period of the child's life, so between three to seven years of age. But that doesn't mean that it's strictly within the ages of three to seven, it could be 18 months to 10 years old. There's a bit of a sliding scale as far as the imprint period.
If you're a parent, you know this, there's no perfect parenting and you can't be a perfect parent, like it's just not ever going to happen, you can be a great parent, you can be a supportive parent, you can appreciate your child as the person that they are and encourage them to be their own, you know, their own person, but our children's personality develops depending on what imprint they get about themselves in that specific period of time.
If you have a child that is growing up in a loving household with great communication and a lot of external activities, the person is likely to be extroverted and a good communicator, like a feeler type.
But if the child is growing up in an environment where they have to really look after themselves a lot or they might be left alone a lot. They might feel like they need to understand something in order to feel safe, like they try to figure stuff out real quick to try and keep everything safe. So if a child is growing up in a disrupted environment, then they will turn out that way. So they might turn out to be an introvert. I'm not saying every person who comes from a disrupted space is an introvert, I'm just saying that's a likely outcome.
What affects our lives when we're growing up is what makes our personality type. I remember one person who is INFJ and she had a very traumatic childhood. And they did personality testing with her children as well. And one of the sons turned out to be INFJ as well. And the mother first was like, “How wonderful we are the same type!” Then “Oh my gosh, it means that I've really ruined my child.” But that’s not true, you can become an INFJ, even from a good family and from a good environment. It’s not that cut and dried.
Your patterns as a parent will affect your children if you're not conscious of your patterns. The best thing that you can parent in an integrated in a more integrated way is to do your own integration work. Be the person that influences the child to embrace themselves, because you're embracing yourself. Be the parent that inspires the child, through example, to meet their own needs, because you're meeting your own needs.
It comes down to the basics: look after your own needs, understand yourself, learn to communicate your values and your value to other people. Make sure that you have meaningful relationships. And that's what the child will learn. The child will learn those integrated ways of doing those things. Do your own integration work and understand that your child is a different person and a special person. That's pretty much all you ever have to do to parent in a more integrated way.
Do you want to learn more? Check out our popular Four People Within course and start your own integration journey.
Woman and child: Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash
Happy woman: Photo by Guilherme Stecanella on UnsplashCopy