‘An emotionally healthy child experiences the full range of human emotions with love, support, and guidance from their loved ones.’
Cathy Domoney is a world-renowned Parenting Expert, Author, Mentor, and CEO of Parenting Evolution – an exclusive online network for modern parents who are committed to raising the next generation of world-changing leaders. In her Pillars of Leadership Blueprint, Cathy’s remarkable system enables parents to tap into their own genius so they can empower their child’s greatness. Her parenting authority stems from extensive experience working with and raising her own children, 5 of which have neurodivergent abilities. Cathy Domoney is on a mission to revolutionize parenting, empowering parents to embrace their unique genius in order to raise epic future leaders, unlocking their children’s infinite potential so they can grow into the world-shaping leaders that humanity demands. This is my interview with her.
Can you tell us more about yourself?
I grew up among the picturesque rolling hills of the English countryside and was subjected to narcissistic siblings more than a decade older than me. Due to these challenging experiences from birth, I became fascinated by human behavior and consequently pursued teaching, psychology, sociology, hypnotherapy, counseling, coaching and trauma work. Little did I know that this professional pathway was preparing me to be a mother to five extraordinarily gorgeous souls (ranging from age nineteen down to age five) who are a combination of ASD and ADHD. I am very heart centered and loving, but I am not a pushover. I have a wickedly delicious sense of humor and parent from a place of connection, intuition, discipline, love, and joy. My hobbies are singing in an opera style when tensions are rising in the house to disrupt the atmosphere, making unexpected (and hilarious) jokes, and regularly attempting to shower alone.
What makes you an authority in the parenting space?
Many people think it is my qualifications that make me an authority. These are an important part of my expertise, however, in honesty I became much better at my professional role as I gained experience of parenthood myself. My children have been the most amazingly inspirational teachers I could have ever hoped for, and it has been in the application of my professional expertise to my personal experience that magic was created. I have navigated through times that I never thought I would ever have as a parent; some of those times steeped in fear, uncertainty, darkness, and overwhelm. It has been the successful navigation through these chapters, and the rawness of my honesty when sharing my journey in raising children, that has made me so accessible and relevant to parents. If I want to visit Greece, then I want to hear from someone who has felt the sun on their face, experienced the scenery, eaten the food, met the people and absorbed the deliciousness of the culture in Greece. I don’t want to hear from someone who has merely read the guidebook. The same can be true in work; my clients trust me as I have extensively experienced all that comes with parenthood firsthand.
What values and principles guide the work that you do and the advice you offer to parents?
I believe in raising whole souls, who are connected to, and yet separate from us as parents. I believe that we have all been gifted a sacred intuition that was given to us, steeped in ancient wisdom that makes us the perfect parents to the precious individuals who were sent to us as our children. I believe that there is not only one way to parent, or that a ‘good’ parent looks and behaves only one way. I encourage every parent to trust their own intuition and unique parenting style, filtering through foundational pieces such as honesty, integrity, kindness, love, individuality, respect and so on. Humanity is crying out for a generation of heart-centered, fiercely unique, loving and connected leaders, and we have the privilege of raising them.
Can you tell us more about Parenting Evolution and what inspired it?
Parenting Evolution is a sacred space where every single parent can come and be seen, heard, supported, and cared for. There are too many experts out there selling the message that we are lacking, we are not enough, and we are failing our kids. My heart became weary with these undermining messages, as if we are not already worried that we are doing something wrong and will mess up our kids without others maximizing and capitalizing on our insecurities and making us feel bad. The more I began to share my message of love, support, and non-judgemental guidance to other parents courageous enough to reach out for support, the more I realized that parents are in more need now than ever before to have a place where they can feel nourished and celebrated. If we want happy, healthy, whole children then we as parents must make sure that we are gifting that to ourselves first.
How does your Pillars blueprint help parents raise the next generation of leaders?
The Pillars of Leadership Blueprint is designed to highlight the characteristics of some of the greatest leaders of our history, as well as how they were parented. It highlights attributes such as honesty, service, kindness, resilience and not only provides examples of these as characteristics of amazing leaders, but also gives easy and practical ways in which we can encourage and provide opportunities for our own children to develop these attributes in day-to-day life. It is designed to support any parent who accesses it – amplifying these leadership qualities in their own children.
What was the single best bit of advice you’ve ever received regarding parenting and who was the source? What was the worst?
It wasn’t so much the content of the advice, but rather the intention behind it. I discovered as a new parent that everyone felt superior to me and felt that they ‘knew better.’ I soon discovered that trying to implement all of the (often conflicting) advice was disastrous, ineffective, and stressful. It was when I tuned into my own intuition that I finally got into a natural rhythm with my child and things began to settle. I discovered that a lot of advice had come from a place of wanting redemption. They had failed in that area with their own child and therefore felt qualified to tell me how to do it. This is of course ridiculous as every set of circumstances are entirely unique and should be approached in unique ways. I could always tell if the advice had a chance of being useful just by observing the intention. If the intention was to prove something, it was doomed to failure. If it was anchored in an energy of educating and informing, with space for me to take from it (or not) what was relevant (or not) and follow my own intuition with my own child, then it had a chance of being valuable.
You’ve mentioned that you have 5 children with neurodivergent abilities. Can you share any insights you’ve garnered from parenting them that might help one of our readers with a neurodivergent child in their journey?
Parenting these incredible children of ours has been the most life-altering experience of my life. I had to do a LOT of inner work to become the parent that my kids so richly deserve. They have pushed me, pulled me, challenged me, and forced me to grow and evolve in ways that I thought I was incapable. There have been moments of exquisite joy, and moments of darkness where I have literally fallen to my knees in overwhelm and wept in prayer asking for the strength to go on. My love and dedication to my children has forced me to grow and evolve. My children are not their diagnoses, their diagnoses are a small part of who they are. I see who they are, their beauty, their love, their greatness, and I have held them to it. Others have expected less of them which is a travesty. We all want to be fulfilled and become the fullness of who we are, and my children are no different. One is a creative, one is an academic, one is an empath, one is an inspirer, and one is a disrupter! My mission has been to connect them deeply and powerfully to themselves, and to claim, unapologetically, their place in this world and to courageously forge out the path that is only meant to make sense to them.
My daughter (ADHD, now nineteen) was around fifteen when she had a recurring dream that she had the most magnificent wings and when she went to school, she had to hide them in a straitjacket. In her dream, when she would come home from school, I would take her to wide open spaces where she could release her wings and fly. We continued, through the bullying and rejection she received, to encourage her to stay true to and loving herself above all else. She was brave enough to do this and is now the most gorgeous, generous, wise, loving, and fierce person you could ever be lucky enough to meet. She is fully and unapologetically herself; she has found love; she is studying at university and has started her own business and she takes up as much space as she wants to because she knows that she is enough and that she matters. She doesn’t have that recurring dream anymore.
You know the extraordinariness of your child. Take the time to share that with them, always. The way you think about them, and the way you speak about and to them matters. Reflect to them their unique brilliance, connect them to that, and watch them fly.
From your perspective, what does an emotionally healthy child look like and what can parents do to ensure that they raise emotionally healthy kids?
An emotionally healthy child experiences the full range of human emotions with love, support, and guidance from their loved ones. Every emotion, thought, or conversation is acceptable, even when it is hard, even when at times it is excruciatingly uncomfortable for us as parents to receive. It is so important to receive the information that our children share with us in a neutral and supportive way. If we respond excessively emotionally, they may begin to hide things from us to spare us from feeling big emotions or from having big reactions.
The best thing we can do is create a calm, non-judgemental environment where absolutely no thought, feeling, or topic is off limits. Holding space for and validating every emotion, thought, and feeling is such a gift. Helping them to navigate through these big emotions (within firm boundaries) will provide a strong foundation from which they will begin to build their lives and relationships when they emerge from under our wing.
A note on boundaries: For example, yes…it is okay to feel angry, but no it is not okay to express that anger through hurting another person either physically, mentally, or emotionally.
How To Prepare Children Emotionally For Back To School – top tips
Role playing is so great in preparing our kids for new chapters. Talking through the routines, the possible conversations, the organization, the social dynamics, and the age-appropriate skills of independence they will need is a great way to get them prepared.
A tick list of morning and after school jobs or tasks (packing your bag, preparing your lunch box, putting your uniform in for washing, feeding the dog, completing homework, etc) is a great way to keep them focused and set them up for success. This also lets them know the expectations of what needs to be done before free time, helping them to be organized and getting to free time more quickly.
Listening and chatting in relaxed settings, such as while washing-up or when driving to places, is often a great way to get insights as to their thoughts and feelings on things without the directness of an across-the-table conversation, for example. Often things are revealed when in a relaxed chat whilst doing something else, as there is less pressure and things tend to just tumble out. Back when I used to work with young people in person, our sessions were spent baking, cooking, walking the dogs, or some other activity where it just felt natural to talk freely. It was outstandingly effective.
Early bedtimes help with a young person’s ability to cope. There are some gorgeous meditations online for all ages of kids to listen to as they fall asleep which can support their mental wellbeing.
If your child is a little shy, you can have a ‘Message Box’ which can be checked at the end of each day where your child can write little notes or concerns for you to discover in a gentle way, allowing opportunity for you to respond as you see fit. Only you are allowed to open this box, nobody else. It is a sacred and safe place for them to express any worries or concerns they may be having.
A celebration poster is a gorgeous way to prepare our children for what is to come. Featuring their name or photo at the center, and then writing all their strengths, skills, accomplishments, and successes around their name with colors, stickers, photos, etc. can be a lovely way to remind them of who they are as they enter their new term.
Pillow mail is another lovely way to remind your children of who they are. I have done this with my children all the way to adulthood and they still cherish the words contained in their surprise, secret messages. I’d highlight to them all the reasons that I am proud of them and why I am so lucky to be their parent – very few of the reasons had to do with their academic achievements. It is so important that we remind them that they are so much more than grades on paper.
How can our readers connect with you further?
If you are a parent ready to embrace your unique genius in order to raise epic future leaders, unlocking your children’s infinite potential so they can grow into the world-shaping leaders that humanity demands, please visit: www.parentingevolution.com