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Learning to be Human – Embracing Vulnerability as Parents by Devon Kuntzman

 

Becoming a parent and caring for young children is one of the most humanizing experiences you will have in your lifetime. That great love, felt so deep in your heart, creates an immense amount of vulnerability.

Just because that vulnerability comes flooding in doesn’t mean you are ready to be open on that level. It can be scary! Oftentimes, vulnerability takes us far outside of our comfort zones. Well, just about everything in parenting take us outside of our comfort zone. The truth is, we are learning how to be human. To be human is to error. To make mistakes. The be imperfect. To experience a full spectrum of emotions.

In a society that repeatedly tells us do more and push harder, it’s no wonder it can be a challenge to connect to our humanness and vulnerability.

The do more, push harder motto eventually seeps into parenting. Perfection in parenting becomes the carrot dangling in front of us. The point of focus but just out of reach.

Setting the bar so high, we place an immense amount of pressure on ourselves as parents and caregivers. Pressure to have it all figured out. To know what to do in every situation. To not mess up. To do it on your own.

Trying to attain the impossible, we inevitably miss the mark of perfection. We get down on ourselves when we mess up. Have you ever noticed that you are your harshest critic? The judgment and shame we place on ourselves hardens our hearts and leads us away from our vulnerability. This cycle of not attaining the illusion of perfection that has been painted for us exponentially increases the pressure and the criticism (from our inner voice) that is stacked upon our shoulders.

It builds walls that cut you off from the heart of parenting – connecting with your authentic, vulnerable, imperfect self so you can connect with your child. It prevents you from being human.

Embracing your humanness allows you to slowly release the pressures of parenting. Vulnerability truly is the opposite of striving for perfection.

Letting your guard down and shifting out of your comfort zone can be scary.  It’s not easy to cultivate vulnerability with those you hold dear to your heart – especially your children.

You may feel over exposed or weak. You may fear judgment or that your child will get the upper hand on you.

If you feel this way, it’s ok. You are human! Acknowledge the feeling. Take a deep breath in and let it out slowly. Accepting where you are in this moment is the first step in creating a shift and embracing your vulnerability.

So what does vulnerability look like in parenting?

Vulnerability makes you relatable. It gives you permission to fall down and get back up. It allows you to grow as a parent by owning your mistakes and learning from them.

From this personal experience, you can teach your child to do the same. Children inherently strive to be like their parents. Seeing you make mistakes tells your child it’s ok to be human and makes the idea of failure less scary.

Vulnerability opens you to experiencing the full spectrum of human emotions. From this place, you can normalize your child’s experience. It allows you to really listen to what your child has to say and validates their experience. Imagine how your child will feel knowing all feelings and emotions are ok to experience.

You become your child’s ally as vulnerability deepens your connection and builds trust with your child.

Vulnerability gives you permission to not have it all figured out as a parent. It allows you to learn as you go, especially from your child. Children are extraordinary teachers. Yet, it’s easy to miss if you are caught up in the pressure and inner criticism of striving for perfection.

Vulnerability sets the stage for making amends with your child when you lose it. From time to time, you will lose your patience and react in way that is out of alignment with your parenting beliefs. The trust and connection you are building will open the door to make amends.

Sharing your vulnerability with your child is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. With vulnerability comes an open heart for love. An open mind for growth. The emotional capacity to fully experience all that life offers you including the easeful moments and the challenging moments.

It takes practice and A LOT of courage to step out of your comfort zone and embrace the deep amount of vulnerability that parenting requires.

As you go forward on this journey, I invite you to explore what vulnerability means to you and how it can enhance your parenting. Be kind to yourself as you embrace your imperfections. Use them as an invitation for growth.

Being human is a gift. Vulnerability allows us to embrace our humanness (imperfections and all) so we can connect with our authenticity, love ourselves and others more deeply and grow as parents and caregivers.

Remember: Vulnerability makes you stronger- not weaker. Cultivating vulnerability with yourself and your children creates deeper connections and builds trust that sets the stage for loving, authentic relationship with your child for years to come.

Let’s learn to be human together.

For more information, please email me at devon@transformingtoddlerhood.comor connect with me through my website www.transformingtoddlerhood.comor on Instagram @transformingtoddlerhood. As a parent coach, Devon empowers parents to transform their frustration, fear and self-doubt into confidence in their parenting while overcoming daily challenges with more ease. Remember each and every moment is an invitation to begin again.

Free gift: Cultivating Patience from Within Mini Guide. https://transformingtoddlerhood.com/patience/

About the Author

Devon Kuntzman, B.A. child development, RYT, is a toddler parenting coach on a mission to transform the myth that toddlerhood is terrible. Devon teaches parents it’s possible to embrace this sensitive developmental period and uncover the magic of toddlerhood while overcoming everyday challenges and keeping their sanity. As a coach, Devon empowers parents to transform their frustration, fear and self-doubt into confidence in their parenting. Over the last 15 years, Devon has dedicated her life to working with children and families.  She has worked with hundreds of parents and children across three continents as a coach, former high-profile nanny and director of an orphanage in Rwanda.

Devon is a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, a graduate of the Wonder Weeks Academy Infant Mental Health and Development Program, a registered yoga teacher and the Founder of the Transforming Toddlerhood. Devon is passionate about toddlerhood, green juice, reading, traveling and holistic living. When she isn’t working with parents and toddlers, Devon can be found on her yoga mat, riding her bicycle or drinking a kombucha (not all at the same time).