A Psychological Parent
Many of us had custodial parents who attended to our basic physical needs for food, shelter and clothing. However, many of us did not have psychological parents and it serves us to know what it means to have psychological parents. This is especially true when we consider that we typically parent ourselves the way we were parented. Psychological parenting involves 4 basic skill. The first is the Employment of Effective Boundaries. Physical boundaries support safety for a child. A parent exercising restraint in order to not be physically abusive is an example of a physical boundary in honor of the dignity of the child’s body. A good emotional boundary could happen in two ways. One would be where the parent does not solicit the child’s emotional support and the other being the parent’s willingness to permit the child to express a wide range of emotions.
The second psychological parenting skill is Encouragement, with the word’s original meaning being “to inspire with courage”. Here, the parent reinforces the child’s abilities, strengths and resolve to take on age appropriate task. Encouragement expresses an essential faith in the child’s ability to be him or herself and to get personal needs met. The third skill is Discipline, with the word coming from “discipleship”. I like to think of this skill as the ability to model and teach a child to maximize resources or allies in order to remain focused upon some desire or purpose. The fourth skill is Nurturance which is a capacity to comfort, sooth and allow a child to pause or lean into being held physically and emotionally.
Were you psychologically parented as a child? Do you psychologically parent yourself? Do you allow yourself to be physically held? Do you know what it means to be emotionally held? How do you feel about your understanding of good boundaries? Do you adequately employ your allies? Do you have allies?