In her book Positive Parenthood , Carla Muijsert takes as a starting point: look at what is present in your child and not at what is missing.
Three questions are central to this: who are you, what are you here to do and what can I do for you? “If you have a structurally sad, cranky or busy child, you should take a look at yourself…”
“There are always reports in the media about young people doing all kinds of things wrong, who indulge in vandalism and abuse.
But the chance that your child will do something very positive, for example that he or she is involved in voluntary work, is ten times greater than the other way around,” says Carla Muijsert. “In our society we always look at what is missing instead of what is there and that is a real shame.”
Until recently, Carla Muijsert was a board member of the New Age Children’s Foundation and has her own coaching practice. She also wrote several books about new age children and children with intuitive insight. Her latest book Positive Parenting was recently published.
“I wrote this book because I see so many people in a negative spiral,” she says. Mutual misunderstanding plays a major role in this. “Children know very well who their parents are, but they cannot reach them. On the other hand, parents see their child, but they do not recognize that child. ‘
My child is so different from me when I was your age. I just don’t understand him,’ they sigh. I wanted to make the consciousness processes visible to ensure that parent and child do understand each other again. I think it’s such a shame that we focus on what’s missing and that parents don’t recognize and acknowledge the wonderful qualities of their children.”
Children challenge you
When parents indicate that they have a problem with their child, Carla Muijsert first asks them to name ten qualities of the child. “That way they are forced to look at the child in a different way. They are often so busy with the problems, with the hectic pace of everyday life, that it is difficult to see the positive.”
That got her thinking. “Apparently it is difficult to look at the qualities of your child. I looked for opportunities to clarify those qualities of your child.”
In Positive Parenting she therefore included a list of more than two hundred qualities, such as adaptability, imaginativeness, musicality, steadfastness and caring.
Such a list of qualities may be very basic, but it works very well to see and name the positive sides of your child. Moreover, the result of naming is measurable. Just say to your child: ‘John, you are doing well!’ Then you can immediately see how it grows.”
The basic principle of positive parenting is: look at what is present in your child and not at what is missing. There are three central questions about your child: who are you, what are you here on earth to do and what can I do for you?
There is a lot behind these seemingly simple questions. “It is quite something to be so open with your child… It means that you have to be able to look and listen well, that you have to dare to follow your intuition.
You must have sufficient self-awareness, know why you react in that particular way to an action of your child. You have to be able to let go of what you take with you and look through the actions of the child for the intention: why is my child reacting in this way?”
And so it is important to first know who you are. If you don’t know who you are and why you react in a certain way, there is a noise in the communication between you and your child. “It therefore becomes more difficult to answer the three questions and to see and accept your child in his total ‘being’.”
Children challenge you in this, says Carla Muijsert. There is a generation of children growing up who react differently than you might think. For example, these new-age children (see box) always make different choices than is expected from society and they can mercilessly mirror your behavior. “If you structurally have a sad, busy or grumpy child, you should take a look at yourself. Children mirror the environment more often than the environment thinks.”
Regularity and limits
In positive parenting, parents must therefore immerse themselves in the child and in themselves. In addition, Carla Muijsert points out the importance of regularity. “I see many families with young children in my practice.
There I have to deal with children who are given far too little structure, clarity and boundaries. You can see it in the way parents treat children. Just think of the children who moan in the supermarket because they are used to getting their way…”
On the other hand, she also sees parents who give their children too much structure to protect them from the ‘dangerous outside world’ or parents who compete with their child. But with both too much and too little structure and regularity, you do children a disservice, believes Muijsert.
In both cases, parental upbringing leads to children who do not take responsibility; they become egocentric children, who take only themselves as their starting point.”
However, the need for regularity and boundaries differs per child and so you have to start from what suits your child. “If you keep a close eye on your child for a while, you will automatically see what he needs. With one child you may have to keep the brakes on a bit more, while with another child that is not necessary.”
In addition, children need substantial attention, says Muijsert. “And that is sometimes difficult to combine with a full-time job, a heavy mortgage or the fact that you also want to have time for yourself.” However, Carla Muijsert is not opposed to out-of-school care and crèches.
Again: you have to start from the child! If your child thrives in daycare, then that’s what you should do. However, another child benefits from the presence of one of the parents. But now you often see that it is the other way around: the development of the parent comes first and the child has to adapt to this. Then you are failing your child.”
Her own children needed a mother who would sit at home with a cup of tea and ask how school had been. So Carla Muijsert chose to be home when the children came home from school.
Of course there are consequences: we live in an ordinary residential area and not on a gigantic farm. While a farm would have been nice, it just wasn’t in it – but I haven’t regretted it for a second.”
However, her choice didn’t cause her to sidetrack herself. “I also had the need to develop myself, but I was able to fill it in in such a way that I could combine it with giving essential attention to my children. For example, I chose to have a practice at home and organized my work so that I was ready when the children came home from school. That also had funny consequences. If you asked my children if their mother worked, they always said ‘no’…”
Harmony inside and out
Positive parenting is the third book by Carla Muijsert. Her first book was about new age children and the second book also focused on children with an intuitive awareness. Carla Muijsert: “We had three children and I was able to experience for myself that a wonderful world opens up, in which you can learn a lot from each other. My children helped me develop my intuitive side: as a responsible parent, I became aware of my own processes.”
From that perspective, Muijsert went in search of information “I thought: my children are no different from other children. If they react in a certain way and show some kind of inner wisdom, that may be the case with many more children.”
She linked up with national and international research and eventually came to the conclusion: “We are dealing with a change in consciousness here. We are all on our way to the intuitive and spiritual man. Kids today show us that path.”
The research led to Muijsert being one of the founders of the New Age Children’s Foundation. The term ‘new age children’ has been coined to refer to the new, more intuitive generation. This new generation of children lives from an intuitive consciousness; they follow their own development path. This sometimes causes problems with the parents or the environment, because the children no longer fit into the familiar boxes.
I am always shocked by the ease with which a child is labeled: difficult to educate, difficult to learn, ADHD… It seems as if the child has to adapt to society, while we as educators have to think: ‘What can we do for this child? ‘ There are children of four years old who receive Ritalin, while the long-term effects of this drug are not even known yet.
Incidentally, the term new age child does not mean at all that the child is also psychic; sometimes the intuitive aspect is only in the fact that they indicate which school they want to attend. “For me that also has to do with intuition and spirituality: it is in the here and now.
Spirituality is not outside yourself, high in the air – it is being with yourself. And then I come back to giving structure and setting rules: that too has to do with spirituality. Spirituality means that you stand in your own power – but in relation to your environment. You have to be able to say both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to your child from the heart.”
“For this generation of children, life is about connection. They look for harmony inside and out. They have an insight into what they are and what they come here to do, and they want to shape who they are. They can lose their contact with it through the environment, just as it has happened to many adults.
But today’s children grow if you give them the space to grow from their feelings and positive parenting can help with that. Parents then fulfill a ‘coaching’ role, by supporting the children in naming and developing their individual qualities.”
Potency in children
But don’t you miss the connection with society with positive upbringing? What happens if you pay attention to, for example, the creative qualities of your child, while in society it is still about knowledge, power, money, status… Carla Muijsert: “You can go two ways: we become aware of what children ask us and need us and we give it to them.
That way you get self-conscious spiritual people, who are connected to the world around them. The other possibility is that we block our children in their development and then you get more and more children with learning and behavioral problems.”
“What I especially see is an enormous potential in the current generation, children who will soon be beautiful adults, who do their ‘own thing’ and have no problem with consequences. That will have an impact on our world. The children need their parents in order to realize the potential.
I see so many examples of children who are very steadfast, who live by their own choices. I also see so many young people who, from their own field, are trying to do things ‘differently’: people in education, psychology students… you name it. For example, the PABO theses are flying around my head.
The students themselves express their feelings and show new insights. They help with the positive upbringing of our children from their own qualities. I have a good feeling about that…”