decorative image of a mom and daughter

If you are a trauma survivor parenting can be healing but also difficult. If your child is also a survivor your journey as a parent can be even more complex. You may become triggered by things your children do or say.

Parenting with self-compassion helps you let go of trying to be the perfect parent and enjoy the journey of raising children. When you parent with self-compassion you help yourself heal from your past.

Decorative Image Parenting with self-compassion after trauma

Your Child’s Behavior Might Trigger You

If your child’s other parent is a cause of the trauma you are overcoming you may find yourself angry at your child for no particular reason. If you dig further into the situation you may realize your child used a similar mannerism, choice of words, or facial expression as their other parent. If you are used to seeing that behavior or hearing those words from someone who abused you it can trigger you and send you spiraling emotionally.

As you can see, raising children and healing from trauma at the same time can be difficult. It is worth the hard work. If you and your child have survived family trauma you can rebuild your relationship with your child to make it stronger than it was before.

Having compassion for yourself as you do the hard and rewarding work of raising your children will help you remember you are not perfect and that’s perfectly okay.

Letting Go of Being a Perfect Parent

There aren’t any perfect parents in this world. We are all imperfect people who make mistakes every day. Just admitting your imperfect humanity to yourself can remove some of the pressure and help you relax which will help you become a better parent. It’s pretty cool how being more relaxed naturally leads to a better relationship with others, especially your children.

Every child has hardships to overcome just like their parents do. Even if you were the perfect parent they would still have something that would challenge them. Our children aren’t perfect either. They need a role model who teaches them how to live with their imperfect humanity and to have realistic expectations for themselves and others.

Take a few deep breaths and acknowledge yourself as you let perfectionism go. If you feel led, imagine kicking perfectionism to the curb as a toxic mindset that hurts you and those around you. How does that feel? Better, yes!

decorative image of a mom and her son

Parenting With Self-Compassion

What does self-compassion have to do with being a parent? When you have self-compassion you set a good example for your children. If they see you demonstrating compassion for yourself they will learn to be kind to themselves.

Your parenting style is forming the parents of your grandchildren. That’s a lot of responsibility and inspiring. We can break generational trauma by how we choose to parent our children. It is well worth the effort to learn and do better.

Your children carry the promise of the next generation in them. They truly are our future.

How do you parent with self-compassion? You let go of the drive to be the “perfect” parent and admit that you are a flawed human. You acknowledge that you will make mistakes but you don’t let that stop you from doing your reasonable best. You forgive yourself when you make mistakes and keep moving forward as you learn to do a better job so you can be a trauma-Informed Parent.

decorative image of a mom and daughter

Self-Compassion Practice

Just like self-care, you can practice self-compassion skills. Here are some ideas to include in your practice.

Admit your mistakes. Admit them and move on. You just learned what not to do next time.

Admit the truth. You are just an imperfect human parenting imperfect children while trying to heal from a painful past. That’s a lot. Give yourself lots of credit for doing this hard work.

Have a quick conversation with your inner critic. Let the critic know you are doing the best you can and that is enough. You can thank that inner voice for the input and ask that it stand down because you can handle parenting your children just fine.

A hard day is just a hard day. Let it go. Do the least amount possible and survive the day. Letting your children know that sometimes you must let go of the plan and go with the flow is an important lesson in flexibility.

Take a time-out. Everyone can take a time out. You can even make a game of it with your kids by giving it a fun name, playing calming music, and letting everyone have their own space to recharge.

Be a friend to yourself. What would you tell a good friend about ….? Do that.

Self-care. Take care of your mental and emotional needs.

Take care of your health. Make time to get any check-ups you need. When was the last time you had an eye exam and got a new pair of glasses? Have you gotten a dental check-up and cleaning in the last six months? When you take care of your health needs you will feel better about yourself in body, mind, and spirit.

Remember you are setting an example for your children. The compassion you show yourself now will help them have compassion for themselves when they are struggling.

Deny negative self-talk. If you catch yourself in a downward spiral of negative thoughts tell those thoughts the truth. You are doing the best you can. Start listing off all the ways you succeed at parenting each day.

Hugs. Give and receive lots of hugs from your children.

Ask for forgiveness. When you make a mistake with your children ask them to forgive you. Acknowledge that you were wrong, make amends if possible, and ask for forgiveness. This models healthy behavior for your children and teaches them what to do when they hurt someone else.

Fall back on your faith. Pray for the mistakes you make and for the wisdom to know how parent your children.

Journal. Journaling is a good practice to help you work through your thoughts and feelings when you are struggling. Journal the good and bad about being a parent. Celebrate your wins in your journal too.

Use affirmations. Write some affirmations about the kind of parent you want to be.

Decorative image of a mom and daughter painting

Parent With Fierce Self-Compassion

Parenting with self-compassion can help you heal. Allowing yourself to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes while growing stronger with your children can help you heal from your past. You will realize how strong and resilient you are as you continue forward through the obstacles set before you as a trauma survivor.

It takes strength and bravery to choose a different path than the one those who went before you traveled. Part of living in self-compassion is acknowledging all that you must overcome to be the parent you want and choose to be. And that leads to a life of living in freedom and peace.

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