When our children are anxious, worried, or sad, it is very often because they are picking up that their parent is sad, worried or anxious.

Here’s how this happens. You were once a baby that grew up in an environment where you either felt happy or you felt not happy, you felt safe or not safe, special or not special. You may have felt excited and relaxed or you may have felt some anxiety, fear, loneliness, sadness or anger.

The big question is this:

Were you able to speak about your feelings to your parents – the good ones as well as the not so good ones?

Most importantly, as a child what did you do with the uncomfortable feelings? Were you able to tell them how you felt on the inside? Were you able to tell them about the feelings that troubled you? Were you able to put a name to what you were feeling?

If the answer is ‘yes’ then you were truly blessed. And if today you are a parent, then your children will be blessed too, because you will most likely parent them in the way that you were parented and give them the safety to speak about their feelings.

How you were parented will plays such a huge role in the kind of parent you are.

Child with healthy parents

If the answer is ‘No, I was not able to express my feelings openly and safely’ then this can affect you as a parent today in two ways:

  1. On a physiological level – these feelings are still buried in your nervous system, affecting your physical and emotional health
  2. On an emotional level – these buried feelings can be triggered by your children and by others causing you to do and say things you regret later

Now, let’s move to the part of the story where you became an adult, fell in love, had a child and became a Mom or Dad.

Unless you have dealt with the feelings you had as a child, you are still carrying these feelings locked in your nervous system – you are still looking at life through the eyes of ‘the child in you.’ In other words, you may have become a parent who is hurting on the inside.

And now your inner hurt (which you may or may not even be aware of, or perhaps are avoiding) is passed on to the next generation. Now your beloved child begins to store negative feelings in his or her nervous system which can affect their learning, behavior and mood.

I know without a shadow of doubt that you would never want this to happen. But the reality is that it does happen for every one of us who have buried some childhood hurt. When we begin to heal our own inner hurt, this will transform not only our own lives, but the lives of our children.

Sad child sitting on floor

Here are 4 tell-tale signs that your child is hurting inside and is storing negative feelings in his or her nervous system:

  1. Your child is defiant, angry, has temper tantrums, easily triggered – this is the nervous system’s ‘fight’ response
  2. Your child is sad, perhaps depressed, withdrawn, uncommunicative – this is the ‘flight response’
  3. Your child is shut down and in their own space – this is known as the freeze response
  4. Your child is anxious a good deal of the time, has fears, is perfectionistic, can’t go with the flow, likes things done in a certain way

If you are seeing any of these tell-tale signs, please understand that this is message to you that some of your own ‘stuff’ may getting in the way of you being able to parent your child in the way that makes them feel good.

Most of us have some early wounds that impact how we see ourselves, how we put ourselves out there and how we parent our beloved children. As Moms and Dads, we need to know how to avoid handing down a generational program to our children that will hold them back from being the greatest version of themselves.

I know that it is a difficult thing to think about.  But the reality is that if we want to help our children, we need to start by fixing the source of the problem – which is our own inner hurt.

To help your children overcome any learning, behavior or mood challenges, I would ask you to seriously consider looking into your own past hurts and heal yourself first. You have all heard so many times that on an airplane you must always put your own oxygen mask on before helping others with theirs.  This is the same thing.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can help your children – of any age – feel good, behave positively, love life and be proud of who they are –  then watch out for my FREE upcoming webinar: Healing Myself; Healing My Child: How to avoid Passing My Inner Hurt to My Children.   If you want to receive information about this FREE webinar, be sure you are on my newsletter list by sending me an email with the subjectSend me an email.

Thank You.  And I’d love to know what you think about this blog!