Inspired by Jen Tidwell’s post in Positive Parenting Village by AFineParent.com

I love this analogy!

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.

Why did you spill the coffee?

“Because someone bumped into me!!!”

Wrong answer.

You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.

Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.

*Whatever is inside the cup is what will spill out.*

Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled.

*So we have to ask ourselves… “what’s in my cup?”*

When life gets tough, what spills over?

Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?

Anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?

Life provides the cup, YOU choose how to fill it.

Today let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation; and kindness, gentleness and love for others.

 

Spills – seeking to allocate blame. 

Yes we tend to look for something external to blame.

We do it as parents because we are human.  We can blame our child for their behaviour when we get frustrated at them..

Cause v Effect

It may seem logical to go for the problem being what you can see, and this is quite normal.  Where the challenge begins is that by looking at the issue as the child and their behaviour there is the trap of making that the cause of the issue,  ie there is something wrong with my child and go looking only at the behaviour.

Looking at what is happening overall is an excellent starting point.

 

 

There is ALWAYS a choice.

Actually, as frustrating as it is to hear, we ALWAYS have a choice.

We can be mad at the kid for breaking down, however what is really the problem. In that moment of breakdown, it’s our wishes and expectations, rubbing up against their wishes and expectations, and we are generally frustrated because we want our needs to be met FIRST

The problem is, kids, even great kids, don’t understand that their behaviour is causing your issue, they just know they can’t cope, and they don’t have the skills to fix the problem.

As is written in Raising A Secure Child, it’s our job not just to be bigger and stronger (ie force compliance to have our needs met while overriding our child’s), we are also supposed to be wiser (appreciating it’s not our child’s responsibility to take care of us, be aware of our concerns), and kinder (showing compassion for their distress, even when we might feel distressed ourselves – children need us to adult for them, not join them in their chaos).

 

 

 

 

ALL Feelings Are OK

As a recovering controller, who had tendencies towards sometimes wanting things with my kids to be easier .It’s appreciating that it’s ok for us to have the FEELINGS of Frustration, Annoyance, even Anger, what isn’t ok is taking it out on our kids, because they have no capacity to understand that we aren’t mad at them, it’s our own issue.

It’s acknowledging we are human.

If we have those moments of overflow and react to our child, it’s having the willingness to apologise for loosing it. Even if we did walk away so that we didn’t do “something” we don’t want to do.

If we don’t apologise to our child, without judgment, justification of defensiveness, we leave our child in shame, even if that isn’t our intention.

Their little immature brain, that has no reasoning or logic skills takes the experience and processes it literally. Meaning they are most likely to accept the blame, though not in a healthy way of momentary guilt, they take on the identity of being something shameful. 

It’s why so many adults have poor self perception.

 

Sure we might think we are hiding it, we can even be doing a fairly good job. However, there’s a tiny nag, somewhere, sometimes, that challenges us:

 

  • are we good enough,

  • do we belong,

  • are we loveable

Even those from the best of families and the nicest of upbringing. We have the voice that undermines some, and sometimes many of our views of self. 

Depending on our own emotional development as to how well we handle the rollercoaster of life.

I know for me, I recognised quite a few years back that my emotional intelligence was a huge opportunity for development. I had no idea how. All I did was felt rejected because my self-view was low, and I didn’t know what the issues were for others.

I started my journey towards becoming a life coach. Well as is common in my community of learning, discovered that it was me that needed to change, and have been on the journey. 

Positive Psychology and Emotional Intelligence

I was finally enlightened to what was missing when participating in developing a program on learning Positive Psychology.

I was allocated the Emotional Intelligence and Wellbeing in the Workplace units. Well the ah ha’s that came on that journey.  Emotional Intelligence has four primary pillars. Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness and Relationship Management.  

As I studied I realised I had the foundations for Self-Awareness, great place to start. However the rest were barely footings of even understanding the existence.

My Self-Management improved almost immediately I had awareness that it’s my responsibility to manage myself, even when times are tough.  It’s not up to others to adapt to me. That then allowed the doors to growth in relationship management, because I was much less of a loose cannon that other people didn’t know how to deal with.

 

Inner Child in Charge

 

What I have become aware of is that my skills were very reflective of a 4-6 year old’s neurological/emotional skillset. The enlightenment came through having grown the knowledge through studying the work of John Bradshaw and then expanding it through Dan Siegel’s work discussed in The Whole Brain Child and putting the pieces together based on my growing knowledge of me and the issues that contributed to the development of my reactive behaviour.

I wonder, how many of us appreciate that when we run out of control that it’s highly possible that in those moments, there is a child’s skills, under the age of 7, in charge. 

What I have become aware of is that my skills were very reflective of a 4-6 year old’s neurological/emotional skillset. The enlightenment came through having grown the knowledge through studying the work of John Bradshaw and then expanding it through Dan Siegel’s work discussed in The Whole Brain Child and putting the pieces together based on my growing knowledge of me and the issues that contributed to the development of my reactive behaviour.

I wonder, how many of us appreciate that when we run out of control that it’s highly possible that in those moments, there is a child’s skills, under the age of 7, in charge. 

How many of us would be ok with our own child under the age of seven being in charge? Yet we often do it without conscious awareness in moments of stress, when our resistance is low, we allow our inner injured child, whose emotional management skills were stunted/suppressed through a self-protection choice as a kid, takes over.

With conscious awareness, we can take back our emotional development. Sure it takes work, afterall, the pundits say it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill, and for many of us, as adults, we’ve also got rusty experience or no advanced skills to tap into. We must be kind to ourselves.

 

If you are in the trenches of parenting, come join me in the Conscious and Intentional Parenting Tribe

 (https://www.facebook.com/groups/Raising21stCenturyAdults/) 

 

where you can access tools, strategies and support, to assist you in raising children to become emotionally intelligent to meet the needs of Adulting in the 21st century.

 

 

Author – Leanne G Wakeling, Relationship and Communication Coach, Parenting Mentor, Behaviour and Thinking Styles Profiler

 3 January 2020