Across the years I’ve helped a lot of people with how to become better, more values aligned as a parent in those moments of challenge with kids who just don’t seem fit any of the regular solutions.
Whether we were brought up in gentle homes, or we were bought up in traditional parenting homes, chances are we may not appreciate that our children are not here to make us feel good or make us look good.
Traditional parent philosophy was based on false assumptions.
These included kids are just mini humans, that all we must do is teach them what to do and they’ll have the skills they need.
The problem is, what we know now is that children are NOT mini adults, so in the “olden days” there was a lot of frustration around why doesn’t my kid just do as they are told.
It’s where punishment came in, working on the assumption that if a child wasn’t following instructions they were deliberately going against us.
The reality is, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Kids want to please us.
They certainly want to keep us close. This is because their instinct knows that for them to survive, they need the care of bigger people.
This is where lots of contention happens in families, where one or both parents still hold the old-world belief that a child must be controlled.
This is where our own “shark music” (the warning signals of danger in our survival system) undermine any intention to be a more collaborative parent occur.
When we have a challenging child, it is easy to get caught in their whirlwind.
Whether it’s frustration that they don’t do what we ask, or they push back at every turn, or just seem to be an obstacle to every effort involving them.
The opportunity (and responsibility) is to seek the best intention of their behaviour. That’s not always easy, especially when our “shark music” is screaming in our head.
My own experience as a child was with a mother who would end up so mad at me (us) for just trying to cope. Despite her best intentions, she didn’t have the emotional master to be able to stay calm when things got out of hand. Her own upbringing had meant that she had frequently got into trouble for not meeting expectations. She held a lot of shame inside, that complicated her ability to stay calm.
I knew I didn’t want that for my child.
The problem is nature will always take the path of least resistance when under pressure. That means that our best intentions might not cut the mustard because our own “shark music” might trigger a less than desirable reaction. We end up becoming the problem our child has.
From when my son was old enough to express his views, in our case it was from a few months old, and he certainly made it clear when things were not going according to his plan. I had to figure out how to be more patient. It wasn’t easy.
I can’t say I always managed these situations well, though I found that by putting myself in their shoes, it helped.
For me, that included speaking as if for them. Talking through what was happening for them. It enabled me to detach from my own triggers and be present in the moment.
It’s important to appreciate that IF you find yourself triggered by your child’s behaviour, to be compassionate with yourself. You are learning new skills and haven’t achieved mastery yet.
When we are shifting from our conditioning/programming, it’s essential to be as kind to ourselves as it is to our child. Our responsibility is still bigger and stronger, though as the adult we must be wiser and kinder too (Raising a Secure Child – Hoffman, Cooper and Powell).
Being a conscious wholehearted parent means accepting we are on a learning journey WITH our child. Not our job to tell them what to do, the opportunity is to take the cues from their behaviour and support them with learning how to do better next time.
That does not mean telling them what to do. Kids are very kinaesthetic or experiential learners or in my world monkey see, monkey do learners. Therefore, we are better BEING how we want them to be. Modelling how to behave.
For some of us that might be a challenge in the beginning. It certainly has been for those I’ve served who did not have the modelling of how they want to be as parents growing up. This is not to disrespect our parents, it’s being real that they couldn’t have the knowledge that we have access to now, so they did the best they knew how.
It’s up to us to break the cycle rather than blame the previous generations.
If you’d like to learn how to become even better for your child/ren.
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Our mission is building the skills to enable our children to become the best version of themselves with the success predictors of emotional intelligence and resilience.
It starts with YOU, their leader/s.
Let’s set you up to be present and have a touch stone to return to when things go off track.
You are enough, they are worthy and we all belong.
Together we ARE Stronger.