NLR is for Parents Too—The Dance of Mutual Development

In the Natural Learning Relationships approach to parenting, consciously responding to the development stages of our child allows us to not only raise the child in a healthy way but also to revisit and heal our development as needed. 

How mutual development happens

When we go through our own development as a child, the environment has certain limits, such as our parents’ abilities, circumstances, and consciousness. These limits inhibit our full access to our inner capacities, thus limiting our total well-being. As a parent attending to the development of our children, we inevitably come face to face with those unresolved childhood issues.

The reflective self-inquiry and subsequent self-knowledge that are central to the Natural Learning Relationships program are key to adult growth and development. What’s more, reflection and integration of the past create a deeper, fuller, and more connected relationship to the present. In this way, unresolved childhood issues in the adult are resolved in the context of parenting the child.

The interaction always affects both adult and child. As the adult meets the developmental needs of the child, they and the child connect to increased well-being and a deeper, more loving relationship.

An adult can go through the dance of mutual development many times. We can develop with a child as parent and then as grandparent. What’s more, any adult motivated to care for a child can learn how to nurture the child’s developmental needs: step-parent, teacher, counselor, physician.

Example: Sharon, a Summa client, spent the first three months of her life in an incubator followed by a series of respiratory operations during her first year. As she reflected during a consultation, Sharon realized she’d never bonded with her parents. It wasn’t until the birth of her two sons that Sharon experienced attachment-bonding and the mutual nourishment of loving-touch during nursing. The experiences that had been lacking in her family of origin were repaired as she nurtured her own children.
 

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