I don’t have especially easy kids. They are pretty normal, with all the funny/annoying/challenging behaviors all kids their age display. Nor am I an especially enlightened parent. I get triggered, yell, and make loads of mistakes.
But here’s the deal.
I am doing my work. I am making a practice of connecting with myself when I am triggered. This allows me to move through my emotional response much quicker and I am better able to then connect with my child.
What does connecting with myself look like? Well, I straighten my body, bringing my shoulders down while my neck extends upward as I take a deep breath. I notice the feeling of my feet on the floor. I soften my face.
And it’s a total game changer.
I have been noticing more and more that connecting with my kids, truly connecting with them, requires I be connected to myself as well. And again, this is a practice, because much of the time our instinct is to go straight into emotion, right? Our inner dialogue may sound like any of the following:
I am so mad!
How could they do that?
Oh man, that is IT!
What the @#$%???
I swear, I have not been spying on you, WE ALL HAVE THESE THOUGHTS! And like I tell the parents I work with – you are not living in your own private freakshow!!! The dynamics we find ourselves in with our kids are pretty universal. This is the human experience. I am so grateful that I have emotions, AND I refuse to be controlled by them.
This is where the connecting with self piece comes in. When are we feeling good about our parenting? When are we enjoying our children? Right! When we are feeling connected with ourselves!!!
And really, that just means that we can think about our thinking.
I get really bothered by writers who share all of the joys of parenting without being real about the struggles. I feel like this sets readers up to feel bad about themselves. This isn’t reality. WE ARE GOING TO MAKE LOTS OF MISTAKES! We are going to feel shitty about the way we treat our kids. We are going to want many, many “do overs” during our journey – and that’s OK.
What can we learn form these moments? How can we find opportunities to connect with our kids as a result of our mistakes? We are modeling the human experience for our little people, the good, the bad and the ugly. And what a gift it is that they have you as their guide.
So do your work.
And let me know how it goes.
Are you interested in digging deeper into your Positive Discipline parenting journey? Check out the Courageous Parenting Ecourse – a five week online class that includes interviews, webinars and daily emails to guide and support you as you do your work.