Respectful parenting : Healing the hurts from our own childhood

Healing the hurts from our childhood can be a messy business.

So many feelings.

But it’s okay to feel what we feel.

It’s what we do with those feelings that matters.

It’s okay to feel sad. To wonder why, why weren’t we important enough for them to try harder, to step out of the patterns of their past.

It’s okay to feel angry. To wonder why, why couldn’t they be bothered to learn more, to act differently, to pass on a new legacy.

It’s okay to feel resentment. To wonder why, why weren’t they strong enough. Why couldn’t and why didn’t they choose a different path, to lean into the love they felt for us and let that guide them.

It’s okay to feel fear.

Fear that we’re not doing enough.

Fear that we might not be the parents our children need, the parents they deserve.

Fear that we’re bound by our birth, bound by the patterns of our past to repeat the cycle of hurt, and anger, and frustration, and fear that went before us.

Yep, so many feelings.

Bubbling up, sometimes when we least expect them. And we can give those feelings some space in our lives, to accept and to appreciate what we’ve faced, and survived.

But the past has gone, we live in a happier home now.

Those feelings don’t define us. They have no power over us. We’re choosing our own destiny, driven by determination and by love, to dig deep and do better.

Finding our strength and resilience.

Finding the courage to face our feelings. To tend to those wounds but not be beaten by them anymore.

Finding compassion for our parents, knowing that whatever pain they inflicted on us, it’s likely they suffered much greater.

Finding peace in our hearts and hope for the future. Working hard, harder than we ever thought possible to make sure our children don’t suffer those same wounds, that they don’t have to face the fear that went before.

I believe in respectful parenting. And no surprise given the name of this blog, I believe in kindness.

Kindness for our children and for our future. And kindness for ourselves.

Respectfully parenting our children helps us heal the hurts from our own childhood.

But it doesn’t always come easy. It’s not the model that’s imprinted on our hearts and it’s not what drives so many of our first thoughts, our instinctive reactions. Sadly the model laid down for us was far removed from what we needed.

And it takes a whole lot of effort, diligent attention and conscious intention for us to overcome some of those deeply entrenched patterns.

And we’re putting in that effort, focussing our attention and standing by our intention, every single day. Sure, we slip up and we regret, but we apologise and we reset, we keep on moving onwards and upwards. For our children and with our children.

We wish sometimes it was easier, that we didn’t have so much to overcome. But that clarity and that contrast fuels us.

We know what happened to us wasn’t right and it wasn’t fair. But it’s a part of who we are, just one small part of what went before.

Today is a new day and we’re going a new way, forging a new path, a kinder path.

And it helps to know there are so many others out there travelling that same path.

So today I’m sharing with you some of my favourite bloggers. And some of their most soothing words. Words that have inspired, supported and encouraged me. Words that have touched my heart and that I am ever grateful for 🙂

A Letter to the Cycle Breakers

Being child-respecting parents is a gift to the world


Not only do we face the challenges of our own childhood but we’re living in a world where children’s rights are routinely disrespected. And that can be tough to bear. And when we’re trying our best and we make mistakes, it can help to remember…

It’s not about perfection, it’s about intention


Emotional Memory – Explaining a child’s and a parent’s raw reactions

Our bodies and minds can hold on to trauma from many years ago and, without us even being able to recall the incident, we can have a huge reaction when something stirs that body memory within us. 


Back to that messiness again. We can’t always know in the moment what’s behind our emotions. And sometimes we’ll never know, at least not in any way we can meaningfully articulate. But whatever the reason, accepting and validating those feelings softens and soothes and helps us move on.

I think awareness about the concept of “emotional memory” could be an incredible tool in enabling us to support our children through their emotional explosiveness and in stopping the baton of childhood trauma being passed from one generation to the next.


What Made Me Question My Parenting

I’m right to question this. And so are you.

You’re right to challenge the norm and consider the road less taken.


More support and reassurance from Rachel…

I promise you that you’re not going to regret connecting with your children. You’re not going to regret taking that deep breath and meeting big emotions with compassion and guidance. You’re not going to regret respecting your child.


The Shaming Things People Say

Have you ever thought about how shame controls?…

…I hate feeling ashamed. I don’t want my kids to feel this way. I don’t want them to live with this burden. So I watch what I say. And I thought I was doing okay. Until the other day.

Sue tells the most wonderful stories. And in this post she reflects on the stories we tell ourselves about how we’re not quite right. And how we don’t have to pass these on to our children. How we can write our own stories, messages of self-acceptance, kindness and compassion to ourselves and others.

Everyday Parenting: Overwriting Autopilot

Another story, this time from Sara at Happiness is Here. Reflecting on how…

…even with the best of intentions, mistakes happen. All I can do is try my hardest to remain conscious, mindful, and intentional and I think the best way to do that is to be aware of everyone’s feelings and needs moment to moment.

How It’s Okay if We’re Not Perfect Parents

And back to the lovely Sue, sharing more stories from her latest book Radical Unschool Love.

We don’t expect our kids to be perfect. We understand when they’re tired or impatient to dive into their work or reluctant to leave something that’s absorbing them. We help them out when they’re struggling. We empathise. We don’t criticise.

I try and be a good example for my kids. Sometimes I fail. But that’s okay. When I’m not the person I would like to be, I’m still providing my kids with an example. And it’s not a bad one.

I’m showing my children that it’s quite okay when we fail to do the right thing. As long as we get back up again and keep trying.

Respectfully parenting our children helps us heal the wounds from our own childhoods. So important for us, for our children, and for the future of us all x

All the bloggers linked in this post have masses of wonderful resources supporting respectful parenting. A truly fantastic four and I hope you’ll check them all out.

And for more respectful parenting posts on this blog, click here. Don’t forget to subscribe to make sure you get notified of all new posts as soon as they’re published 🙂

Wishing you all a wonderful week x


  1. Hayley,

    Thank you so much for including links to my stories in your blog post! As you can tell, I’ve had to deal with childhood hurts as well. You are so right: we can forge a new path, a kinder path. A path that starts with changing the way we think about ourselves. That can be hard at times. Those old false stories still sometimes echo in my head! Thank you for your very kind words!

    1. Hayley says:

      You are so welcome, Sue. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. You know I’m a big fan of your stories 🙂

      Re-reading Curious Unschoolers and Radical Unschool Love again. Although to be honest I’m always dipping in and out of them both. Must get on with those reviews x

  2. Sally Lloyd says:

    That felt very comforting ❤️

    1. Hayley says:

      Thanks Sally, so glad you found it comforting, am touched 🙂

      Hope you have a chance to check out all the linked blogs, they’re an inspiring bunch. Really appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment x

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