Strengthened through gentleness

My daughter and I were separated for seven weeks when she was three years old. I experienced severe complications giving birth to her premature baby brother. There was work I needed to do to help her feel safe depending on me again.  
Through each experience we have the opportunity to learn and to grow. I have been working for years on how to FEEL safe with all emotions and BE a safe space for each of my children to work through their feelings.  

I have learned not to take my children’s feelings personally. I now see it as an honor to be the person my child chooses to share their overwhelm with.  

Dr Deborah Macnamara says that emotions are not problems – they are trying to solve them. I understand that now.  
I am grateful to my greatest teachers: my four sons and two daughters who are currently 22, 20, 18, 15, 8 and 5 years old. Because of them and my love for children, I am always learning and sharing what works for me on this gentle empowering journey.   
Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” 

When we understand better we do better. When we relate better we do better. When we nurture and educate ourselves we do better. 

I was inspired to write this poem to create awareness of how meeting emotional needs through restful relationship cultivates resilience and overall well-being.  

Strengthened Through Gentleness 

Perhaps if angry little girls were heard instead of silenced, there wouldn’t be so many hurting women struggling to understand and love themselves. 
Perhaps if tearful little boys were comforted instead of shamed, there wouldn’t be so many angry men struggling to express and empathise with emotion.   
And vice versa.  
Perhaps if vulnerable children were protected instead of exploited, there wouldn’t be so many armoured people struggling to be connected and authentic.  
Children need to feel all their emotions -without fear of rejection or pressure to protect a parent – to mature into their healthiest true self.  
Being hard on children does not make them stronger. People are strengthened through compassion and understanding, regardless of gender or age. 

Lelia Schott is a grateful mother to four sons and two daughters aged 22, 20, 18, 15, 8 and 5 years old. She is the founder of the International child and gentle parent advocacy group Synergy Gentle Parenting. Lelia loves to write and coach parents online or from her practice in South Africa in between homeschooling and swimming in the ocean. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram.

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