I promised to write more on this topic this week, so here it is. :-)
If I had to pick only one thing to convey and be able to completely convince Continuum Concept parents of, it would be that IT DOES WORK! And I’d like to then somehow be able to inject you with the unshakable determination to find a way to implement its approach in your family.
Did you really get this? I’ll say it again because I really want you to hear it:
It does work!
It's worth doing whatever it takes to implement it in your family!
You and your children will experience its rewards for the rest of your lives!
I truly believe that the key to the incredible success that I've experienced in my family, with each of my three daughters, stems from the fact that I absolutely refused to accept what was considered ‘normal.’
I steadfastly held on to the ideals of which Jean convinced me. I didn't stop my search for an approach and attitude that felt completely right in every cell of my body and could inform every aspect of my parenting until I found it.
(If you haven't read The Continuum Concept, click here for a description of one of the two books which completely changed my life.)
Because the approach I pursued was dramatically different from what my family members and others around me had previously been exposed to, I was called many names over the years: idealistic, unrealistic, weird, an extremist, a zealot. And though some of them could be, they were rarely meant in the positive sense.
I’m guessing you may have heard them as well…?
But I was blessed to somehow have an inner knowing which kept me on track, and to be supported by outside conditions which kept me focused in my quest. I will share next week what I did to create and cultivate those conditions, as well as other ideas I have to also support YOU in implementing The Continuum Concept in YOUR family.
MAJOR DISCLAIMER HERE!!!
I'm not saying that I was a perfect mother.
Far from it.
In fact, one of the reasons I so value The Continuum Concept is the results it’s yielded with my daughters IN SPITE of how often I fell short of my ideals as a parent.
In spite of (and I’m taking a more than slightly uncomfortable stretch in the vulnerability department here)
… how emotionally messed up I can be
… depressions I've experienced throughout the years
… divorce and subsequent failed relationships
… all the times and ways in which I was emotionally absent to my daughters
In fact it feels a little strange to find myself in a parenting expert role, considering some of the things I know I've done. Yet when I look at my daughters, I am amazed and moved to tears at what I allowed to happen through embodying this incredibly loving and effective way of parenting.
As my mom has always said about my kids, especially to those who criticized my parenting approach “You can’t argue with success!”
My daughters are NOT perfect! I’m reluctant to give much detail here, as I want to respect them and honor their privacy. But there are definitely times when you could see evidence that they are not perfect. And there are traits in some of them with which I sometimes struggle and wish were different.
Though it’s not the topic of this blog post, I’ll say a little more about this subject before moving on.
I sometimes think those traits might come from the places where they didn't get all their needs met at an early age. But they could also just be how they are. There are two things I want to share about this which I’ll expand upon in future posts:
- I don’t feel like I have any right to judge how my daughters should and shouldn't be. An unexpected outcome of my intense personal and spiritual growth focus, as well as of the decades piling on, has been the realization of how little I can actually know. Whereas I used to be very cocky and sure of my opinions even just a few years ago. This may seem contradictory to my claim that TCC works, but I still feel they are both true. And…
- It’s completely useless to focus on the past, EXCEPT for dealing with the ways in which it’s still playing out in our lives now. I’ll be expanding A LOT MORE on this one in the future.
There wasn’t ALWAYS complete harmony in my house, nor in my daughters’ relationships together.
So given all of that, what’s making me say that IT DOES WORK?
I could write a whole book chapter on what I've experienced (and continue to) and see in my daughters which I attribute to my application of The Continuum Concept, but I’ll only highlight a few significant ones here:
How well behaved they were as young children
Though I absolutely REFUSED to use the word obedience up until a few weeks ago, I now recognize that it’s exactly what they were. I could easily take my three little ones anywhere, whether to a restaurant, a non-childproofed home or travel alone with them. They always knew to check with my husband or I to have guidance as to what was appropriate on not in new situations, from a much younger age than child development books might suggest. We were therefore free to focus on what was needed and what we were interested in instead of having to supervise our children. It made our life, though very busy, very easy!
The harmony in my house
Except for occasional and easily resolved conflicts, life in my house has always been extremely pleasant. I've had house guests comment on how peaceful my home was, which seemed contradictory because it was filled with three spirited, active, loud and sometimes rambunctious children. But what was absent was an adversarial attitude, and any hint of trying to control each other.
I have a friend who claims that I've ruined all other children for him, because he expects them all to be like mine.
Having met my parenting goals
When my first daughter was about two, my husband and I created a parenting missions statement. We dug deep and determined our core goals for our children. I pulled it out a few years ago and was both impressed by what we’d stated as it still rang completely true more than ten years later, and a little shocked and awed to see how COMPLETELY they were met!
(Incidentally, because of the power of this process in our family, I've designed a Creating Your Parenting Mission Statement Workshop which I’ll be offering soon. Make sure that you're on one of my email list if you want to receive information on it once it's scheduled.)
Part of why this is so significant to me is that those qualities are often elusive in myself and the members of my family of origin, yet I was able to cultivate them in my daughters, thanks to a completely different parenting approach.
Here’s what I see that my daughters have in spades, and which I’d love for all children (and eventually all adults) to have: an unshakable sense of self, self-confidence, inner motivation, self-sufficiency and the ability to find their own happiness in the world.
Being done parenting early on
I truly feel that I was done parenting, in the traditional sense, somewhere between the ages of 12 and 14. By that point they made all of their own decisions, and I would only offer my opinion and experience. Because I’d encouraged them to do for themselves what they could and allowed them to make their own decisions from a very early age, they were very mature and competent in navigating their lives. I believe they would have been able to live on their own by age 14 and even been able to be responsible and caring mothers. But I haven’t had to test that theory. :-)
Their success in school
Though I also attribute their success in school to their genes (traditional schooling tends to be easy in my family) and to their being unschooled for many years, my approach to their education was also informed by the Continuum Concept.
They each chose to go to public school at ages 9 and 10 and experienced no pressure from their father nor I to have high grades. Yet they all excelled of their own volition. They took complete charge of their education as I never expected them to do homework nor attend school.
And I can’t help but share a funny story here:
My daughter Gaby used to skip LOTS of days of school. One day, I received in the mail two letters from her school: one congratulated her on making the dean’s list for her academic excellence and the other stated that her high rate of 'truancy' might lead to academic failure.
(June 2014 update: Audrey, 18, just graduated high school as valedictorian and will be attending NYU, one of the most prestigious schools in the US, and Cassandra, 21, will be graduating from college this summer in 3 years instead of the usual 4, with honors.)
If you know in your bones that the Continuum Concept approach to parenting is the way to go, I urge you to do what it takes to align yourself with it, so that you can also experience in your family what I have in mine: ease, joy, harmony, connection, absence of worry and the knowing that your children are fully equipped to find their happiness in the world.
I will share with you next week what I did to support myself in implementing this approach in my family, as well as other ideas I have that could help you do it as well.
For many more Continuum Concept resources, click here. Though my programs don't specifically cater to Continuum Concept parents, the basis of everything I teach is grounded in the principles from the book.
And for practical Continuum Concept support, request my FREE report, 'The Almost Magical Formula For Surprising EASE and HARMONY In Your Family, While Fully Honoring Your Children's SPIRIT.' It describes the four essential elements (the first three being based on The Continuum Concept) which when used together create almost magical ease and harmony in families.
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