Parenting the whole child implies that we honor our children’s wholeness while we dissect and discuss the parts of the whole—physical body, mind, emotions and spirit. It may indeed be paradoxical, but it’s our way of understanding how the parts contribute to the whole and our job if we work with parents, families, and children.
We consider our children’s wholeness when we:
- Bear in mind the emotional and mental factors that contribute to strep throat.
- Look to a biochemical problem associated with a child’s temper
- Consider the negative self-talk and thoughts that can float around in the head of a depressed teen.
- Regard childhood patterns from a holistic perspective. These can include a child who falls down all the time, one who has allergies, one who is shy and sensitive, one who doesn’t want to be touched, and so on. We want to help, but do we help their biochemistry, their behavior or their spirit?
- Think about how children spend their time, and if their activities are balanced between stimulation and quiet.
Bundles of Energy
The foundation of whole-child parenting is understanding that our children are bundles of energy in the form of thoughts, physical activity, emotional expression and spirit. Rather than thinking about managing our children, think about managing their energy.
The energy of the body needs food, touch, air and water. The energy of the emotions needs positive input like optimism, smiles and support. The energy of thought needs inspiration and imagination, or it gets bored. The energy of the spirit needs connection, faith, compassion and quiet. It needs calm moments of awareness.
Most of us know these things and have our own intuitive ways of mothering and fathering our children. In fact, the joy of parenting the whole child is discovering how much you already know and do. The ease of whole-child parenting is that when one avenue doesn’t work, there is always another way. For example, because we know that the nature of emotional energy can be chaotic, we can find several ways to structure and channel positive emotional energy with our child. We might follow schedules, share meals, read books or see a heart-warming movie.
A Soul Living in a Child’s Body
Thinking of a child as an “energy bundle” helps us take our parenting less personally when a child screams, “I hate you.” What we want to take to heart is that this soul is living with us in a child’s body. We are responsible for helping this child to develop in the best, most fulfilling way possible.
Parenting is really about educating the mind and body so our children are happy, successful and healthy in body and soul. Working with the mind-body connection is the foundation for parenting the whole child.
If you read this post till the end, you probably are kind of person who wants to help folks live to their maximum potential. Your hunger for having an influence on people forced you to read this article and much more that you already read. It’s just the right time to take a step further and become a certified parent coach and give your purpose a meaning. Have a look at our coaching certification and decide which one suits your talents best..
See also Coaching Whole-Parent and Whole Child 1 and Coaching Whole-Parent and Whole Child 2
Parent-Family Coaching Programs
Parents should also thoroughly examine themselves to see if they are getting all of their needs met. All too often parents neglect their own needs for the sake of their children.
BY KRISTY DIXON
While this seems like an honorable sacrifice, parents may not be doing the best parenting they could be doing if they are feeling physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially unhealthy. The whole-parent parenting coach should inquire about the parent’s needs and which ones if any are being met and which ones are not. I can identify with this personally. When my daughter was born I was so exhausted and overwhelmed not only from round the clock feedings, but also from visitors. I literally forgot to eat. When I took her to the pediatrician for her 2 week check up she had not gained much weight. Immediately after taking her off the scale the pediatrician told me to stand on the scale. This did not make any sense to me at the time, but looking back now I see why it was important and how gaining information about the mother gave him information about the child. He said that I was loosing too much weight too fast and that my milk was probably too low in fat for her to gain enough weight. He ordered me to eat spinach dip, a rib eye steak, and a glass of red wine. He also told me to pump milk for a bottle for my husband to feed her at least once in the night to give me a little extra sleep and to allow him some bonding time. She started gaining weight so fast after I did that. As a parent who forgot to eat because I was too busy taking care of everyone else and trying to be the perfect hostess, I cried a lot those first few weeks. I have learned a great lesson from this experience and plan to do things differently with the next baby. I also plan to share this experience of what-not- to- do with my future, overextended clients.
Many parents try to do everything on their own. They try to control it all and be in control of everyone. However, parenting never used to be and was never intended to be a one or two person job. Pam Leo tells us that the key to Connection Parenting, not Controlling Parenting, is support. Children’s needs are best met by parents who’s needs are met. Parents need to learn that it is ok to date their spouse and to relinquish control of their kids to friends and family members once in while in order help each other become a parent and spouse.
See also Coaching Whole-Parent and Whole Child 1
When coaching whole parent, child or family member, the best coaching model is the wholistic viewpoint: involving the physical, mental, emotional, intuitive, spiritual, and social intelligences affecting each person.
It can be of no benefit to simply examine one or two of these intelligences. This would not give you a holistically complete and thorough view of the child and parent. Coaching whole parents and whole children is more beneficial when you look beyond the surface level of behavior and symptoms. What is truly influencing or causing the reaction or behavior?
- Emotional frustration?
- Lack of Understanding?
- Need or more information?
- Need for more experience?
For example, if a child gets an ear ache or undefined tummy ache, do you check in with the doctor? Are medications enough? Not likely. It would be in everyone’s best interest to look at what is going on with that child from a whole perspective. Determine what is going emotionally, mentally and/or socially. A child may also be having trouble with a peer at daycare or in school or maybe even with the teacher. Emotional and social problems can show up as physical symptoms.
ACPI Coach and parent Kristy Dixon explains why:
"In coaching whole parent and whole-child, the parent is guided to self-discovery of their internal and external influences. They envision their parenting goal and feeling baby steps of success along the way. When looking at the whole child, the parent is better able to help rather than punish that child. For example ,if a child is having a fit. the parents would allow that child time to release their anger, frustration, disappointment, whatever it may be that needs to be released rather than labeling that child as ADHD, Oppositional Defiant, challenging, or out of control. If looking at the whole child one may find that the true culprit of this fit may be the result of the child “using up all of his good” (self-control and restraint) at school, or again of too much sugar in the diet or reaction to a food allergy, or of not feeling heard by his or her parents. Children struggle to learn how to express their feelings and needs appropriately. It is our job to investigate the mystery of what is causing this type of behavior. Then help the child express in a more effective and safer way. However, we cannot do that if we do not thoroughly look at all influencing factors in the child’s life."
See also Coaching Whole-Parent and Whole Child 2