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  • Cynthia Fortlage

Parenting and Acceptance



After my obligatory six hours of sleep, I seem to get these days, and I sat reflecting in a mindful moment on the balcony, watching & listening to nature awaken around me. Many things came to my mind that I quieted, but this idea flourished as I have never spoken about parenting and acceptance.

I am the parent of two amazing adults who live in another country from where I am at currently. They are 27 and 23 now, so I have been part of raising these two amazing adults from the moment they entered this world.

When I look at the reboot of my own life, I have reflected many times through this reboot on the impact to my children and where I maybe had it wrong as a parent and how can I help correct it going forward as I am no longer their caregiver but a parent and advisor hopefully. They are my children, and we are family, that differentiates them from the idea that my kids are my friends. I am blessed to have many amazing friends and acquaintances!!

What Did I Learn from My Past?

While I didn’t do anything fundamentally wrong, some things could be improved. Here are a few things that crossed my mind through this journey and my reflections so far.

- I needed to be a helicopter parent at times but not always

It’s OK to help when needed, but sometimes it’s OK to let them learn to fly on their own. By the time your children may go to university, you cannot be a helicopter parent, so if you’re still doing it by the time they are graduating, they may struggle without you.

- I did raise my children with socialized gender influences

I have gone through the challenging journey of relearning gender roles in society through a different lens. Through this process, I have realized how much of life is centred on men and how much more straightforward, although different, it is for them than women. If I had been more open with my own feminist beliefs, I could have provided a more holistic gender-neutral environment for my kids.

- I did raise my children not to see the colour of someone else

There is a colour and to see it is OK. By not acknowledging our differences, we weren’t making it an even playing field we were ignoring the diversity and othering people, treating everyone the same and not equitably ignores those that may start from a different place, and choosing the right people with privilege for the role ignores inclusion of all. #BLM

- I did raise my children to not see others as different than them

There is a variety of ways we are unique, and that is OK. Respecting others who may be different; Cognitively, Emotionally, Physically, Spiritually is OK. By not acknowledging our differences we weren’t making it an even playing field; we were ignoring the diversity and othering people, treating everyone the same and not equitably ignores those that may start from a different place, and choosing the right people with privilege for the role ignores inclusion of all.

How do I Live Acceptance in the Present?

I am human, so, therefore, I am imperfect, but I am me! Recognizing that others are just being themselves and we each bring a different view to the table based upon our lived experiences.

When I find others, who do not align with my life for any number of reasons, I always have to remember that I accept that they have those thoughts and feelings, but I do not have to have those thoughts and feelings in my life!

There is a short but fine line where they can have those thoughts and feelings, but they do not have the right to impose those thoughts and feelings upon me.

I make my children aware of this when we discuss tough subjects and the discussion gets heated as they react to another person’s thoughts and feelings, they also call me out when I am not living by my values.

The biggest lesson here is to learn empathy and turn hate or hurt into compassion. Easier said than done, in my life I go back to one key learning; I develop empathy by realizing that the person did not have the language or skills to know how to deal with me in that matter and as such I have compassion for the way they treated me due to their lacking. I continue to move forward and do not need to have them in my life, but if they do the work and approach me again genuinely remorseful for their lacking, I will welcome them.

Closing thoughts.

I use the analogue of living life as a clock, always going forward, but knowing time has gone by and is now your history.

The key is to follow the five (5) R pattern;

- Recognize you need to change

- Realize what needs to change

- Reflect on how you will change

- Renew and be the change

- The reality of living as a changed person, but also to review again

Have you recognized that you need to change but not sure how to move forward like that clock?

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