My Parenting Wake Up Call

For all intents and purposes I thought I was a good parent to my five and seven year old girls, and in many ways I was. My now ex wife and I had created a great work life balance to ensure we were around in those all so important formative years. They had a safe and loving environment, with good boundaries and routine for them to grow and I regularly played with them, read to them and was mostly patient, warm and loving. We also aimed to give them greater independence by giving them opportunities to feel in control through choice making. In response the children, for the most part, were pretty easy to manage and were a joy to be around.

There is a saying, by Socrates I believe, that says “you don’t know, what you don’t know”. Well, I was about to find out. One day I found my eldest crying in her room because her sister had taken something of hers. Sitting her on my lap I told her, with good loving intentions, that she shouldn’t be crying over something so small. But as I was looking into her eyes I was overcome with deep sadness. Tears began rolling down my cheeks. The sadness then gave way to guilt. What was going on?

Then it dawned on me. I realised at that moment I had not validated her emotional experience and as such I had not validated her. How many times had I unknowingly done this in the past? My guess was lots. Much later I wondered how many times had this been done to me growing up and even more interesting how often was I doing it to myself now. This was a wake up call, a step up call, if you will, to learn how to be my best parent self.

Searching For Clarity

Because what subsequent research showed me was that although this good intentioned approach may only have been a one off and as such have no lasting impact, it can have massive implications for her self worth as well as to the quality of our relationship if done regularly over time. I am so grateful for this experience, because without it I would have continued an unhealthy generational parenting pattern of emotional neglect, not only towards Sophie, but also towards myself.

As I searched for greater clarity on this experience through books and courses, what I discovered is that there is a whole new paradigm of parenting taking place, a whole new way of perceiving parenting and relating to our children.

Although I had been unknowingly applying one or two of its principles, for the most part I was parenting as part of the old paradigm. I mean, why wouldn’t I have been, as that is exactly how I was raised. Not that that was bad in itself, it’s more a question of what serves the child the best.

This experience humbled me and over the next three years I continued studying and applying new paradigm parenting principles with my girls to great effect. In the process I figured there must be many other parents like me out there. People who have just assumed the role of parenting with no training whatsoever. Who may think they are parenting well but perhaps are instead unconsciously doing their child harm. Folks who perhaps haven’t been fortunate enough to have the wake up call I received.

So now as I continually work on being my best parent self I help others do the same, for the benefit of us as parents, our children and society as a whole.

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The Power Of Transformative Travel Experiences

It is often said that one should go on a solo trip at some point in their life. A journey, a rite of passage where you leave behind the known and step into the unknown will be the scariest, most liberating, life changing experience of your life.

It certainly has been my experience. After 7 years working in the banking world as a currency trader, trading hundreds of millions of dollars a year and immersed in a culture of happiness is an outside job, I was ticking the boxes of what it meant to be happy and successful in Sydney Australia in the Nineties. Good paying job, mortgage. Next comes the wife, nice car, better house, etc. The world of materialism. Then one day I got retrenched.

I decided I wanted to continue my career but do so in London. On a stopover in New York, I got cold feet, figuratively and literally. I changed course and headed south to Mexico. The next 4 months we’re the scariest, most liberating and life changing experience of my life.

The next 4 months in Mexico transformed the way I looked at the world in the same way that my experience with Sophie transformed the way in which I parented. My time in Central America and the positive and so called negative experiences I had changed the way I looked at myself and life. Here my spiritual seed germinated.

Many years later before I moved to Tirol and started a family, I worked as a remote Tour Guide in The Northern Territory of Australia. I had the honour and pleasure of taking people from all round the world on 3 to 10 day camping trips of the Aussie Outback.

Apart from the awesome places we visited I loved cooking on an open fire and then falling asleep in a swag on Mother Earth under a blanket of stars. I particularly enjoyed the trips where families were on board. The energy was infused with fun.

When leaving this job I promised myself that whenever and wherever I settled down I would run my own travel experience with the vision to connect children with their parents and parents with their children, through adventure learning and play.

Fast forward 12 years, I now offer a specially curated parent child experiences in Tirol Austria that is like a massive outdoor adventure game and Father Son Rite of Passage Adventure Quests in the Aussie outback.

Both amazing contexts for you to engage and connect with your 12 year old, away from your normal roles at home and make awesome lifetime memories in the process.