Week 1 and Week 2 will start with the most fundamental parenting concepts. It will outline a framework from which we should base our decisions, language, discipline, etc. Honestly, I have yet to find research or literature to specifically address this perspective but as a parent and therapist I know it to be true. Parents, the primary figures, in a child’s life become an unconscious representation of the greater world. There are many conscious and deliberate objectives in parenting but there is a more subtle and most profound role that can not be ignored.

A parent’s interaction with their child becomes a representation of what a child expects of the world at large. If a child grows up in a loving, supportive, safe, accepting, positive household they will begin to interact with the world accordingly. They will have an expectation of friends, coworkers or partners to be accepting, supporting, kind, positive. That does not mean they go into the world with rose colored glasses but that they seek out those positive relationship, expect them and are familiar with them. When they encounter hurtful, negative, painful relationship (and they will) those relationship do not fit their expectations of the world. Those relationships will feel uncomfortable, conflicting and then easily rejected. In contrast, if as parents we are critical, negative, degrading, or neglectful those children will expect the world treat them accordingly.

Most basically, your present interactions with your child will determine how they expect be are treated for the rest of their lives. That is an awesome responsibility. Be thoughtful about your interactions with your child. Be conscious about how your present interactions may affect their future expectations of the world.

Task: Engage with your child the way you would want their friends, partners or spouses to treat them.