There are few things that have moved me as much to be the parent I want to be, as Brené Brown’s Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto (read below).

I discovered it when reading Daring Greatly, and it has stayed with me in through every parenting challenge I’ve had. Brené has a lovely illustrated version of it here, which I have printed and stuck to the pinboard in our kitchen.

In this Huffington Post article, Brené writes that a crucial finding in her research changed the way she viewed parenting and so-called ‘parenting experts’:

Who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting. – Dr Brené Brown

Brené’s parenting manifesto is the baseline from which I stand in the world of parenting. It is the empathetic call to courage I need to show up imperfectly, vulnerably and lovingly my life and the lives of my children. I don’t believe there is a perfect parent or carer. Just one that is self-aware enough to know they don’t have all the answers, that curiosity and compassion are essential, and that sometimes just showing up and sitting side by side our kids is enough.


The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto by Brené Brown

Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and lovable. You will learn this from my words and actions–the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.

I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. You will learn that you are worthy of love, belonging, and joy every time you see me practice self-compassion and embrace my own imperfections.

We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.

We will teach you compassion by practicing compassion with ourselves first; then with each other. We will set and respect boundaries; we will honor hard work, hope, and perseverance. Rest and play will be family values, as well as family practices.

You will learn accountability and respect by watching me make mistakes and make amends, and by watching how I ask for what I need and talk about how I feel.

I want you to know joy, so together we will practice gratitude.

I want you to feel joy, so together we will learn how to be vulnerable.

When uncertainty and scarcity visit, you will be able to draw from the spirit that is a part of our everyday life.

Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.

We will laugh and sing and dance and create. We will always have permission to be ourselves with each other. No matter what, you will always belong here.

As you begin your Wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give to you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly.

I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply, seeing you.


Click over to to download an illustrated copy of this manifesto.