The Most Important Part of Parenting
Parenting means weaving together so many different skills.
You keep your child warm, well fed, and safe. You care for their physical health, their emotional well-being, and their spiritual center.
You’re their cook, their chauffeur, their landlord, and their friend. You juggle housekeeping, paying the bills, and repairing the car.
Somewhere in there you try to teach a thing or two and have a little fun. Maybe you even safe-guard some personal time and private interests of your own.
You have so many priorities. How do figure out what is most important and what you can let slide?
What is the most important part of parenting?
Your Core Connection
The core connection of your relationship with your child is the strongest feelings you share between you. It is the mutual emotional space that you share. It is the constant sense you have about one another no matter what is going on.
Your core connection with your child is the most important part of your parenting.
This core connection is the foundation of your relationship. When the foundation is solid, everything else becomes a little easier.
Your core connection is your compass. Your anchor. Your light in the darkness.
The most important part of parenting is your core emotional connection.
Troubleshooting Your Core Connection
In a tough situation ask yourself how you feel right now. If you can’t find the positive feelings of connection, you know you have lost your way. If you are able to tap into your connection even during big emotions, you are on the right path.[pullquote]Your core connection is your compass. Your anchor. Your light in the darkness.[/pullquote]Check in with your child about this, too. Do they doubt the connection between you? If so, you’ll need to set aside other priorities to focus on building your core connection. If they have fear or uncertainty about you, you’re both in trouble.
Disconnection comes from many angles. It can come from not taking the time to nurture your relationship. It can come from trying to be the kind of parent someone else says you should be. It can come from prioritizing things you “have to” or “should” do instead of the things that make your heart sing. It can come from dishonesty and disrespect.
Enjoy Your Connection
Connection is the thread that allows for unconditional acceptance of your child. Your connection lets you truly see them, understand them, and “get” where they are right now.
Connection lets you share good times and bad times as a team. You can share both positive emotions and negative emotions without damaging your relationship.
Connection allows you to share with your child the messages that are important to you. And you can hear from your child the messages important to them.
Yes, sometimes you’ll be mad at each other. Sometimes you will each think the other is messing up. Sometimes you will not understand each other.
But if your core connection is strong, you will always feel strong together.
The Most Important Thing
For many years, your child’s connection with you will be the most important thing in their lives. Make your core connection the most important thing in your parenting, too.
Try taking a mental inventory right now. What does your relationship feel like? What sits at the core of your connection with your child?
Additional Reading: I recommend the book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids for supporting your parenting connection (affiliate link).
When you are unsure if you’re doing the right thing, check on your core connection. What feelings underlie the entire encounter? How does this moment make you feel about your relationship?
At any time during any day you can ask yourself, “How do I feel about my relationship with my child?” If the answer to that question is a feeling that lifts you up, nurtures you, and caretakes your soul, you have found a connection. If the answer makes you feel uncertain, resentful, or defensive, you’ve found a disconnection.
Remember that connection is always possible, even if you feel disconnected right now. You can always stop, take a big breath, and start over right here, in this very moment.