How Self-Compassion Can Help You Parent

Laura Hans Therapy

What is Self-Compassion?

Self-compassion is the process of turning compassion inward. It’s about being kind and understanding rather than harshly self-critical. It’s acknowledging our own suffering and turning towards it, rather than away from it, to alleviate our distress. Doing this can help us grow and flourish into the people we really want to be.

What are the Benefits?

Some research shows, to protect ourselves from danger, we have evolved to be biased towards the negative. Our early life experiences can also affect how we view ourselves and create a tendency to be self-critical. These factors are not our fault – we didn't choose how our bodies have been designed, and we didn't choose to experience some of the things we’ve experienced. Despite this, we can still blame ourselves for our own emotional distress, which only creates more distress and suffering. Self-compassion rallies against these things, helping us tolerate our own distress with warmth and understanding, rather than criticism and judgement.

Self-compassion can also help us:

  • Build emotional resilience so we can get through difficult times and come out the other side.
  • Reduce anxiety and depression.
  • Learn to treat ourselves as we treat others, which is typically with more kindness and compassion than we give ourselves.

How Can Self-Compassion Help Parents and Children?

Children are like sponges and absorb a lot of what we say and do. If they witness us being unkind to ourselves, or putting ourselves or our efforts down, they are more likely to do this to themselves. In my experience, nothing brings your critical inner voice into focus quite like hearing similar harsh words and phrases from the mouths of your own children directed towards themselves.

Thankfully, the opposite is also true. When our children see us forgiving ourselves for making mistakes, when they see us allocating time for our own well-being and self-care, when they see us leaning into our own suffering, they are more likely to develop these habits themselves. Showing ourselves compassion also makes us more likely to show it to our children too, again modelling how we would like them to treat themselves.

Learning to Love Yourself

If you want to build more self-compassion, I’d recommend downloading my Learning to Love Yourself Guide which contains everything you need to get started. With time, you can learn to become your own cheerleader and move on from mistakes without blaming yourself too harshly. You can also increase your confidence and self-esteem, which you’ll likely pass on to your child too.

For some, the inner critic has been a part of their life for so long it will take a bit more work to fight back. During therapy we can look at what types of critical voice may be present and where this voice likely originated. More importantly, we can explore how to develop a kind, compassionate inner voice and how to fight back when your inner critic shows up. Over time, the critic will get quieter, and your self-compassion will develop and strengthen.

If you’re interested in working with me, you can book a free consultation here. I also share lots of tips and advice via Instagram.

Useful Links

Hold The Mother Podcast Episode7: Improving Self-Esteem In Motherhood

What is Reparenting and Where Do I start?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top