Note before you start reading:
- You can use this post as a sign pole to discover more about your own femininity and what/how it has been harmed in your childhood.
- You can also see this post as a parent and learn how to avoid some of the mistakes that hurt the feminine in your child.
Signs that you have a femininity wound:
- You don’t feel beautiful, creative, sexy, intelligent, young… enough
- You are a perfectionist
- You feel the need to prove yourself
- You are very critical of yourself
- You are afraid to be vulnerable. Most of the time you are hiding behind the mask of “I can do everything” or “You can’t hurt me”
- With your partner, you don’t have multiple/deep orgasms. You are staying in control and if you have an orgasm, you are getting yourself there (instead of allowing your partner to give it to you)
- Having difficulties with trusting, relaxing, receiving, expressing authentically
- Feeling guilty when resting and not being productive
Feminine and masculine
We all have feminine and masculine which we are manifesting and exploring since our earliest childhood.
Both these energies can be easily enhanced or diminished in the young children, which can have a long-term effect on how the energy is manifested later in adulthood.
The healthy manifestation of the feminine in children
Both boys and girls express their healthy feminine energy in the following ways:
- Expressing feelings (positive and negative)
- The need to feel beautiful, to be seen, to be recognized as beautiful
- Creativity and artistic expression
- Asking for/receiving help
- Asking for/receiving gifts
- The trust the children feel for their caregivers
- The challenging of the boundaries to test the leadership and trustworthiness of the caregivers
Certain parenting approaches, but also innocent and often well-intended remarks of the adults, harm the feminine energy in the children (also the masculine, but I am focusing now on the feminine), create scars and protective shells, which the child carries in her adult life and which later impedes her to open up, to love and enjoy fully, to be vulnerable, to feel worthy, to receive etc...
What hurts the feminine in young children?
Expressing feelings: positive or negative
An important principle of the "Respectful parenting" is to correct the behavior, not the feelings. What this means is that as parents we want to welcome all the feelings of our children, show them that it is OK to have such feelings, to respect these feelings as valid, to allow them to express them, to give them space and time to experience the feeling and let go of it (instead of pushing it down or ignore it) Of course, we want our children to always be happy, but this is not how life is.
Try to avoid:
- "Don't cry you are a big girl" (The beginning of suppressing her feelings)
- "I will slap you so that at least I know why you are crying" (=I am not comfortable with your emotions. I don't understand them and I don't want you to express them)
- "Boys don't cry" (Future difficulties with expressing feelings)
- "Why are you upset, it's not that big deal?" (Creating mistrust in and disconnection from her own feelings)
- When the child is sad or angry to try to distract her with something (Shows that we are not comfortable with the feeling. The message this sends is that the feeling is bad, too big, we cannot handle it. The child is confused and feels guilty for the feeling she has. This is a recipe for huge tantrums in the toddler years)
The need to feel beautiful, to be seen, to be recognized as beautiful
Both boys and girls want to feel seen and are attracted to sparkling accessories, because they multiply the feminine light. Try not to push your own beauty/gender preferences and instead, allow your child to explore and discover what is it that she likes, how to dress, how to feel beautiful. Of course this doesn't mean to be permissive. Provocative, disrespectful or not safe clothes/accessories should be off limit.
Try to avoid:
- "With this lipstick, you look like a monkey" (direct hit on the feminine need to feel beautiful)
- "This ... doesn't make you look beautiful/is not flattering/doesn't fit you...(the feminine is diminished and because the child was feeling beautiful when she was putting on... the feedback she gets, makes her doubt her own feeling of light and beauty. She will have hard times creating her own style and expressing authentically her beauty. She is more likely to copy what others do.)
- "Boys don't wear hair clips" (direct hit on the feminine of the boy. Boys need to feel beautiful as well. Later he will find his own way for this. The fact that you allow him to wear a hair clip when he finds one, doesn't mean that he will start choosing girls' clothes and accessories)
- "That's too shiny, let's get you the simple green dress" (the message is "you are too much")
- "I know that you like the sparkling tiara your sister got, but for you I have this children's encyclopedia! Your sister is beautiful, but you are smart and you will achieve a lot." (1)you are hurting her feminine, because you didn't put her in the "beautiful" category and 2) you are sending a signal that the masculine is superior)
Creativity and artistic expression
Try to create an environment where your child can build, create and practice her artistic skills. Creativity is freedom and it is liberating, as long as it is expressed authentically and as it comes.
Try to avoid:
- Not allowing or pushing her to create or to do something with art (creativity cannot be forced or stopped. You are not seeing your child as is. She feels not accepted for her (lack of) urge to do art)
- Giving her ideas what/how to do (You are saying "I am not trusting you and your creative flow. I know better. Let me show you". You work against her confidence)
- Correcting her work "There are no houses with wings". (In the imagination of the child (or maybe in another world) there is. Correcting the work is making the little artist doubting herself and her creativity.
- Assessing her work, even if it is "this is beautiful". (You are teaching your child that you are the judge on how she did. You don't this. Instead, ask "how do you like what you have created?", "what does it mean for you?, "Did you enjoy working on it?". This way, she learns to not need other people's approval, but to trust her own flow)
Asking for/receiving help
The kids look at the adults with admiration for all the things we can do. When they struggle, they naturally turn to us for help.
Be there for the kid if she asks for help, but provide the minimum help possible. A good example is with a jar the kid cannot open. Just loosen up the lid a little bit, so that it is more manageable and suggest to the kid to give it a try once more. Allow her to put effort and to "win" herself. This way you are helping her build her confidence and learn to put effort into what she wants.
Try to avoid:
- Mock the child for the fact that she needs help (This makes her feel uncomfortable and will make asking for help very difficult in the future)
- "You are a big girl, you need to be able to do this by yourself" (assuming she is somewhere, she is not yet = she doesn't feel seen. Also, she feels the need to work harder to impress her parent and deserve her love)
- "Why Ana can do it and you cannot?" (comparing with other kids makes her feel like she is not good enough)
- "If you cannot open it, you won't play with it" (punishing her for not being able to open the jar, for example. This will make hide the things she is not good at and to give up quickly)
Asking for/receiving gifts
Look how happy young kids are when they receive a gift. They will not say "are you sure?" "this is too much!"
Also, they are very comfortable asking for toys in the store. They don't think "do I deserve it", "am I too much for my parents".
This changes when we sow the seed of good/bad child.
Try to avoid:
- Letting your child think that she is/was a bad one. This is how she starts doubting her worthiness for the gift, but deeper it translates to worthiness for the love and attention of my parents/my friends/the world.
- Saying "no" all the time. If the child knows that she never gets the toy she wants, she will stop asking. Later this will translate to not stating her wishes, desires and needs)
- Saying "yes" all the time. It should not be a given that the child gets what she wants. Then she gets spoiled. A gift is something special and it needs to be appreciated.
The trust the children feel for their caregivers
Trust is very fragile and while the young children need the adults for their survival, the lack of trust in the relationship later on manifests as disrespect toward the parent, stronger attachment to the peer group (which can have a very bad influence) and difficulty with building relationships.
Try to avoid:
- Lying to your child. Stay honest and kind. Be an example for her. Even a small lie can harm her trust in you.
- Doubting her good intentions. The parents are really important for the children and how the parent sees the child is crucial for how she will see herself later on. Children don't want to disappoint their parents, but it is part of the journey of learning and growing to do naughty/bad things. Actually, more safe she feels and more she trusts the parent, more she will experiment and test the boundaries. This is healthy and normal. It is important that the child feels understood and her goodness is never questioned. The bahaviour is judged, not whether the child is good or not. She needs to feel loved and accepted, even when the behaviour is disapproved.
The challenging of the boundaries to test the leadership and trustworthiness of the caregivers
This is a very healthy behavior. In the toddler and teenage years the children say a lot of "no" to find their autonomy. Sometimes it looks like they want to lead, but the truth is that they are testing our leadership. Stay confident, respectful and calm. Your child needs you to lead her, to feel safe, loved and accepted. But also, to set boundaries.
Try to avoid:
- Punishment/rewards (This approach kills the intrinsic motivation)
- Time out (The message you are sending is that you love and connect with your child only when she is feeling/behaving the way you want. When she doesn't, you withdrawal your love. This way you are teaching her that love is conditional, only to when she complies.)
- Attaching ANY labels to your child, event positive ones (brave, helpful, smart...). Try to see her in her complexity, instead of limiting her to one label and allow her to build acceptance and love for all her sides (also the darker ones)
- Labeling or thinking of your child as a good or a bad one. What she does, the action, the behavior is good or bad, not the child. She needs to feel and know that she is loved even when you don't approve the behaviour.
Disclaimer and recommendations:
I am an expert when it comes to the feminine energy. My views and suggestions for the parenting approaches are based on Respectful parenting and Attachment parenting, which I've studied as part of my parenting journey and which resonate with my own personal values.
If you want to know more about these types of parenting, I can recommend:
- Janet Lansbury with her books "Elevating child care" and "No bad kids. Toddler discipline without shame", as well as her podcast "Unruffled".
- Dr. Gabor Maté and his book "Hold on to your kids"
You have a femininity wound?
If any of this sounds familiar and you want to work on healing your femininity, consider an individual coaching with me.
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