How many times have I told you to ………?
If I have to say it one more time I will ………….!
How dare you speak to me like that …..
Does this sound familiar?
Is it a pattern you sometimes find yourself in with your kids … or even your partner?
Do you tend to blame, judge, expect things to be a certain way, and when they are not you lose it with an old worn out response that doesn’t get the reaction that you really want.
When the emotions are heightened and we feel frustrated, irritated or downright mad, it is not easy to respond with a calm and loving response…. and its the same whether you are an adult or a child! The reptilian fight or flight part of the brain rears up and the rational, logical frontal cortex is completely overwhelmed with the perceived saber-toothed tiger that is attacking us.
There is only one way to teach your kids (or loved ones) how you want them to be and that is to model it yourself.
As Ghandi said ‘Be the change that you want for the world’.
Unlike children, adults have a mature brain with the ability to self regulate when things are not going our way. Kids are still learning how to process their emotions healthily and it is your role modelling that has by far the greatest influence on how your child will deal with emotions and triggering events now and in the future. Will they lose it with anger, frustration, rudeness or powerlessness … or will they respond consciously with compassion and emotional intelligence.
The question here is what was role modelled to you and how did you deal with that when you were younger?
- Were you brought up in a family where there was overt authoritarian control … where you had no say but to toe the line and do as you were told, even if what was modelled to you was the exact opposite?
- Were your parents over protective, anxious and fearful of giving you any form of independence?
- Were they stressed, busy or unavailable for you the way you needed… and you were left to your own devices to figure things out?
There are many parenting styles and the way you were parented has a huge impact on the way you parent your kids … whether you want that to be true or not. You may have acquired traits from your parents that you really didn’t like as a child, but when you are triggered … wham … up they come. Or maybe you try to do the exact opposite of what your parents did but every now and then the suppressed pattern rears up and unconsciously plays itself out.
So how do you parent your kids and what do you role model to them emotionally, psychologically, physically and spiritually? It is a really valuable reflection to pull out the weeds of our own subconscious tendencies so we can consciously choose how we want to parent this little one that we love so much.
Parenting can be a minefield, especially with the added angst and seduction of the online world. How to navigate our kids through the trials and tribulations of childhood so their adolescence is grounded in healthy values with the resilience to stay centred even in the inevitable challenges of life.
To be able to positively influence our kids we need to really ‘meet’ them where they are. Acknowledge their big feelings with compassion, even if the behaviour is out of line. When the emotions are heightened they can’t hear your lecture anyway and sending them to their room will only prove to them that you don’t hear them or understand them … and the chasm deepens between you both.
Know that their are always big feelings driving upsetting behaviour. If you can acknowledge what is ‘really’ going on for your child they will feel seen and loved and be much more likely to tell you the truth about how scary it is to be picked on by that big kid at school, or how sad he feels that you love his little sister more than him.
So maybe it’s time to give up finding fault in your kids or loved ones, or beating yourself up for losing it again. There is another way based in empathy and firm healthy boundaries where your child will grow feeling acknowledged, loved and worthy of everything this world has to offer.