Hello world!

In the beginning, I had no idea how things would pan out. I knew how I’d like things to be, but life has an interesting way of teaching you to be more specific about the things you want in your life, family and home. Being granted the opportunity to experience being a parent is something I wasn’t prepared for because growing up, the concept of being responsible for a child’s life seemed like a daunting sure fire way to mess up another human being’s future, if one wasn’t careful. I didn’t plan on having any children simply because my experience was that no matter what, adults was always right, even when they were wrong, and somehow, it seemed that they forgot what it was like to be a child or a young person themselves, and to be honest, I wasn’t inspired by that. Instead, I wanted to take care of children who didn’t have their parents. Back then, I thought trauma was only when one had a physical injury. But I also knew that when someone has had an unpleasant experience, it’s likely to have an impact on the person’s life, even into adulthood. Sometimes, without them even being aware of the fact.

I began an unrealistic quest holding grown ups accountable for the unpleasant and unnecessary experiences children were forced to endure, such as correcting them when they weren’t wrong, accusing them of something they didn’t do or say or silencing them when they had something important to share. It didn’t matter how big or small the situation was, I reflected on ways to either best avoid certain things repeating themselves or at least a way to correct it. I felt strongly about protecting and speaking up for young people, especially since in African and Caribbean families, we were taught that children should be seen and not heard, a phrase that was often used to scold children, and sometimes their parents. Whilst this proverb was convenient for adults, for some children, this opened too many opportunities for traumas, insecurities and other similar casualties as a consequence and often gets passed on through generations. What’s interesting is that this expression is of European origin, was coined by a 15th century clergyman by the name of John Mirk and was most often referenced when children, particularly young women, were meant to stay silent unless spoken to or asked to speak. For whatever reason, we hold onto these ways of thinking whilst the culture this originated from move on from these rhetorics.

I never understood why adults found it so challenging to listen to or apologise to a child or young person. Of course they would encourage a child to apologise to an adult or another child, but I rarely was awarded the opportunity to see or hear of an adult apologising to a child. Nowadays, I’d like to think that adults don’t face the same challenges in not being able to apologise to someone young enough to be their child. For those of us that already do, you probably were fortunate enough to have been nurtured within a family who practices this, or maybe you knew how it feels and wanted to break the cycle. It can be challenging having to decipher the difference between discipline, education, boundaries, respect and manners, but I believe this is a path of growth and evolution for parents.

A friend of mine introduced me to a book almost twenty years ago by Louise L. Hay called You Can Heal Your Life and it changed everything for me. I learned that we have the power to change things around, we can heal from our pains and traumas and that it was actually possible to break inter and multi-generational traumatic cycles. Reading this book led me on to further studies into the concepts of self empowerment and healing, which led me onto sharing what I know while empowering and supporting parents and their families, specifically of the African Diaspora as materials for our community were limited, African American centred and or simply didn’t reflect our experiences and culture.

There’s a difference between sharing perspective and dictating, and my general focus is to share with those who would like to know and are passionate about evolving with their families. Those of us who already know, awesome! Those of us who don’t want to or feel there’s no need for them to know that’s fine too. Some information is recycled and repeated and some is unfamiliar to us but it’s still worth a reflection even if you feel that it’s not for you. You might find it useful for someone else you care about.

I look forward to sharing, growing and celebrating with you.

Debbie Field-Pellew A Black British Parent, Doula and Parent Empowerment Coach

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