7 Ways Our Children Teach Us About Ourselves


The path of raising children has taught me so much about myself and I know I am not alone. All of the women I interviewed recognised that they had learnt about who they were through their children. In fact, I would be as bold as to say that bringing up little ones forces us to learn faster than if we had continued with our pre-kids lives.

Here are seven areas where our children help us to grow and learn about ourselves.

1. They open us up to love and pleasure

Our children help us experience unconditional love. We get to love another person with no limits. No matter what they do, we love them. In this there is great growth and also great healing, particularly for those of us who did not receive it as a child.

We are released from our adult world of tasks and responsibilities

The love we have for our children is a gift and it opens us up to pleasure also. When we see them enjoying life the way they do, it so often releases us from the adult world of tasks and responsibilities and puts us firmly back in connection with our fun loving side. How many people without kids let to role around on the floor tickling each other, crying with laughter?

2. They make us notice the world again

Our children notice everything. They are interested in the world and through their own exploration and questions we begin to see the world through their eyes. For moments in time we are transported away from the ‘Seen it all before’ and ‘I’m busy right now’ mindset and back into that open and curious place that children inhabit. We learn about being in the moment and being okay to be ourselves.

3. They copy what we do

At first it starts off small. Babies copy our actions and facial expressions. But as they grow the copying gets more noticeable. We find them doing and saying things that we do and say. We get to hear how we sound and see what we do. Sometimes it is lovely and sometimes it is really uncomfortable. I am sure all of us with kids have thought to ourselves ‘Am I really like that?’.

When our children copy us it can be both funny and really uncomfortable. 'Do I really sound like that?' Click To Tweet

Of course, there are times when they show us something that we don’t even recognise in ourselves. One of my sons kept getting exasperated with the computer, throwing his hands up and shouting. I asked my husband where he learnt that from only to be told that I do it. I scoffed, knowing that I would never behave that way until the next time the computer failed me and lo and behold, I found my hands in the air, shouting. It was me all along.

4. They copy how we feel

Children copy us emotionally too. We teach our kids how to feel about the world and about themselves. This is the scary bit of parenting. We are emotional role models for them and it is not what we tell them but how we are, that they pick up on. They most often reflect what we are or they do the opposite. There are messages in they way our children feel that tells us about ourselves.

We are emotional role models for our children Click To Tweet

5. They push us to our limits

Children can push us to our limits in so many ways. Let’s not pretend it is all love and light. They can drive us mad, make us exhausted, use up every bit of patience and still need more. The most obvious time that this is true is when they are very young but it continues in various forms throughout their lives.

The way we react under stress tells us so much about ourselves

The thing about being stretched is that it really teaches us more about ourselves than any other time. The way we react under stress teaches us about ourselves and about life in general. But more than that, being challenged is a bit like climbing a mountain. We get exhausted, don’t always enjoy it but all the time we are building new muscles, often without noticing. We come away from it stronger and more resilient.

6. They pull us back to experience childhood from another angle

For all of us being a mother brings up the emotions of childhood at times. For a number of the women I interviewed with very dysfunctional upbringings, becoming a mum brought up a whole heap of emotions that they had to address. For many of us it is more subtle but still profound. We get to experience a childhood from an adults perspective. From this, we can see so many things about ourselves. For me personally, watching my sons journey through life has helped me understand my own. It helped me realise how tough it is at times to be a child, allowing me to view myself much more kindly then I ever did before.

7. Change our perspective on our parents

As parents we begin to see our own parents with new eyes. We now know the love that they felt and how hard they had to work. Children have no idea how much work is involved in raising them and even as an adult without children, we cannot know what our parents did for us. It is only when we experience parenting ourselves that we can really understand what is involved, both emotionally and physically, in raising kids.

For many of us this means that we feel a greater regard and respect for our parents, understanding their choices and decisions more than before. For some of us however, it can add a painful clarity to the lack of care received. Experiencing the love and vulnerability of our own children can bring into sharp focus poor parenting in our childhood.

So these are the seven areas I have come up with. It is not an exhaustive list. I would love feedback on what your children taught you the most about yourself or if there is something you would add to my list. Please leave your comment below. Thanks

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20 thoughts on “7 Ways Our Children Teach Us About Ourselves

  1. So very true! Especially the part about children copying what we do and what we feel. I once heard it said that a mother sets the tone and spirit in the home, and it is so true. If I am happy and having a good time, usually everyone else it too, but if I am cranky, it seems like everyone is having melt-downs. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Thank you for your comment. What you said rings true for me too. There have been days when the children seem grumpy all the time and I have wondered what is going on, only to realise that it is me that is the grumpy one and I am rubbing off. I guess it goes around in families. We all have an impact on each other.

  2. Such a powerful post and so true! I have also had an experience where my bad mood has rubbed off on my children, it’s not nice to see!

    Thank you for linking up with the #WeekendBlogHop

    Laura x x x

    1. Hi Talya. Yes we are taught to be more mindful by our children. They are a bit of a conundrum because they add to the work load we have which can have using running round like mad things but they truly can show us the way to being more in the moment. I wrote about the ways that children teach us to be more mindful in one of my posts called ‘Our children:Personal Mindfulness Teachers’. Thanks for your comment.

    1. I am glad you find that your children have taught you too. I am still amazed at what they show me about myself. Thanks for the comment.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I love the fact that we all learn from our kids. It is one of the surprises of parenting and as you said seeing the simple things again is such a great lesson.

    1. you are right. none of us can guess what our children will show us about ourselves. I enjoyed the linky and will be back. thank you for hosting it.

    1. Thanks for your comment and hosting the linky #brilliantblogposts. It is genuinely good to think of how much we learn from our kids as the focus is more often the other way round.

  3. I am not a Mum but have had the privilege of being a teacher and a children’s sports coach, looking to get young people confident in their bodies and enjoying sport for health and fun. Taking charge and nurturing other peoples children has shown me pretty much these learnings too (in short bursts!) but not full on like you all!

    I admire all you Mum’s as it is indeed a very personal journey of self discovery and a tough and yet wonderful job. Kirstens post simply confirms that as a parent there is no hiding from yourself. Mums you are amazing 🙂 keep doing the great job that you are.

    1. Amazing supportive words Sandra. Thank you. I agree with all you have said there. We all need to value ourselves as mothers.

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