The Purejoy Parenting Blog
How you see your children is through your perspective which is conditioned through your history. Opening to your perspective being an internal experience vs the truth you’ll learn to track and embrace your internal world separating it out from your external reality.
In Purejoy, we focus on tracking your internal experience offering understanding and kindness when needed instead of expecting your child to know what is going on inside you and therefore take care of your discomfort by changing their behavior.
Releasing your child from being the cause of your internal discomfort you SafeSeat tracking your internal world choosing to “grow” yourself up before responding to your child.
Noticing when you are emotionally triggered you choose to turn inward shifting your perspective from seeing your child’s behavior as the cause of your discomfort to inquiring into the nature of what is arising. Your children are not “out to get you” which you perceive when feeling emotionally triggered. Your children are not privy to your internal world and therefore aren’t able to give you what you long for: caring and understanding.
As a child, experiencing feelings of powerless and rejection were part of your experience and yet your children don’t cause those feelings. They trigger them just being their emotionally young immature selves.
Wanting them to give you what you didn’t receive from your parents is not going to happen. Just like you, your children are limited and unless you meet yourself, offering the loving kindness you are seeking from them you choose to control and force them to do what they aren’t able to do.
Looking to your 3 year old expecting them to create a safe emotional environment is an expectation that won’t be met. And yet, turning inward, listening, and understanding the love you are craving gives you a chance to meet your vulnerable self with tenderness and love. If you choose not to, you’ll blame your children for the pain which you’ve had long before they arrived.
Sitting in your SafeSeat meeting your tender young emotional self gives you the opportunity to “grow” yourself up while showing up for your child.
Do you experience happiness emanating from inside and spreading out or coming from the outside and spreading in? Most of us were trained to attach happiness to an external event.
Think about your happy 2-year-old who emanates that happiness through the joy of their being.
Following that joy, they experience the outside with wonder and delight. When the focus is placed on the item they experience versus the joy inside they believe it is the item bringing the joy. Innocently, they believe “things” or “accomplishments” bring joy.
Instead of connecting the dots expressing our internal joy, we learn to attach our happiness to the external item or experience.
This week let’s practice turning inward to see what lights you up inside. As a child, what did you dream about? What was your favorite game? What could you spend all your time on? Where did your happiness express itself?
When you expressed your happiness in a way that didn’t elicit happiness in your caregivers what happened? Did you subordinate your desire to meet your caregivers? Did you learn to provide happiness to them with what you did or said? If so, you may have lost the trail of your happiness and how it might express.
Take time to truly answer the questions with a gentle loving eye. Keep following the trail to how you expressed your happiness as a child and how it was received.
Ask yourself: Am I afraid to express my happiness from the inside out knowing it might trigger someone else? Do I keep looking outside to see what will make my children happy instead of expressing mine?
Hmmmmm! Have fun inquiring and learning more about yourself.
Have you noticed how transitions can be both exciting and scary?
Settling into a rhythm, a pattern, or a way of being feels safe and secure, and yet in the river of life, there is always a flow.
Children are constantly shifting and changing as they grow and develop. And yet, it is easy as parents to crystallize our view coming to a conclusion about who our children are or are not.
Claiming we welcome change on the outside, inside contradictory feelings can arise confusing us and our children. Lots of feelings are stirred as our children reach certain milestones. Taking the time to feel the feels makes the transitions easier for all.
Even the transitions you look forward to can surprise you with the intensity of feelings that arise. My daughter deciding to go to Japan for a gap year after high school was a HUGE transition for both of us. She was ready, I was ready and as she was preparing waves of excitement and fear roared through our home.
Making space for all the feelings without coming to conclusions gave us a safe passage to the other side.
Take a few moments to reflect on the transitions you are moving through. Bringing awareness to your internal experience do you notice any resistance in the mix?
If so, open your heart wrapping the resistance in love giving yourself permission to feel exactly what you feel in the moment. Once you do, turn your heart towards the inevitable movement going forward welcoming all the feels along the way.
Ever feel misunderstood and judged by the way you parent? Do others think you are permissive and question your style?
If others are not interested in hearing how you parent and, out of their discomfort, keep telling you how “wrong” you are for messing up your child, do you listen?
I found my family and the culture I lived in wasn’t very interested in hearing, they were more interested in me conforming to their idea of “good” parenting.
At first, I tried really hard to be heard trying to convince them that the way I was parenting was good for my child. I spent a lot of energy fighting for what I believed and they spent as much time fighting for what they believed.
Getting clear that I could choose where to spend my time and energy, which was in creating a new culture in my home, I laid down my sword of righteousness and followed my heart. Clearly, how I parent was my business and what folks thought about it was about them. I chose to wake up every morning feeling good inside about the choices I was making.
In my home, I created what I call a parenting pod where I took responsibility for being the emotionally mature adult. I worked with my emotional triggers, through my SafeSeat practice, instead of acting out on my daughter. Realizing I I wasn’t going against my family or culture empowered me to create a new family and culture.
One of the high values of the traditional family/culture I grew up in was “good behavior is the gold standard”. This value was achieved through shaming, guilting, consequencing, and punishing the child to shift their behavior.
I personally tried my hardest as a child to give the adults what they wanted by being a “good” girl. And yet, internally I felt really “bad” whenever I couldn’t meet those expectations. This led me to question how I was subordinating my high value in my parenting to my family and culture. My high value was to create an environment that supported emotional wellbeing for myself and my child. It was time to courageously live into those values in my home.
Living into my highest value in my family/culture meant receiving a lot of judgment and negative feedback. To do this, I surrounded myself with others who were making the same choice I was. I created parenting CARE groups to bring parents together who were interested in exploring a new way of being. One that connected with the HEART in a deeper way. Together we don’t have to change the world, we have the power to create a new one!
In my parenting, the number 1 challenge I experience is holding onto unrealistic expectations. Right? Do you remember before you had your first child? What were your fantasies? Your expectations on yourself?
Since doing so much personal work and waiting until I was 44 to be a mom, the expectation that I was READY for this thing called ‘parenting’ was pervasive. Sure, I longed to rock it and my expectation that I was going to always be loving, caring, and available to my daughter ran the show. What was I thinking?
Clearly, I wasn’t. I created a fantasy that bound both me and my daughter in the worse possible way. Setting myself up to feel disappointment over and over allowed the truth, that I didn’t have “control” over myself or my daughter, to reveal itself. Uggg!
Outrage flooded my being when she didn’t listen to me, do what I asked, and talked back. That was not part of my fantasy and honestly, I didn’t have a contingency plan so fell back on my early parenting template which was to take charge and scare her into compliance. Not how I fantasized it would go.
Faced with the pain of failing I looked deeper to find the core of my suffering. Guess what? My unrealistic expectations, first, on myself and then on my daughter was the cause. Being the perfect mom meant she had to be the perfect daughter. We both struggled to just be ourselves. Nice and mean, happy and sad, generous and stingy, and all the traits we carried.
The truth is I only made room for one side of the picture and in doing so my daughter played out the other side to create a whole. Instead of trying to get rid of the parts in her, I didn’t like, I turned inside to see where they lived inside me. I’d hidden them away hoping they would never reveal themselves and yet parenting was the hidden switch that opened the forbidden doors to the lost parts in me.
Slowly, dropping my one-sided expectations I opened to seeing the benefits of what I called the negative. Instead of trying to control my daughter to make sure she only expressed the positive I welcomed the negative. As an adult, it wasn’t as scary as I thought. Now, this doesn’t mean I look forward to the difficult emotions that arise, and yet I’ve learned when they do they are only seeking love which only I can provide.
Of course, I still have fantasies and yet now when experiencing feeling disappointment instead of seeing myself as a disappointment I recognize I’ve set myself up to only see one side. Welcoming the other side my expectations lower as I enter the moment touching the intimacy and beauty of not knowing what the future holds. It is a breath of fresh air.
Practicing over time thinking less and listening more is my key to Purejoy. Ahhhhh!
When you walk into your child’s room, what is the first thing you see? The mess? Most parents do. As humans, we have a negativity bias which is our tendency not only to register negative stimuli more readily but also to dwell on it. It’s easy to STAY with this perception and to only see one side in relation to certain behaviors.
This week we are working with practicing focusing on the “other” side. Remember, the negative is there so you are not working to ignore it, just giving equal time to the positive. The way to change the brain’s negativity bias requires training your brain towards the other side. You work to actively attune to the positive you see at the same time as the negative. Shifting your focus from the negative (remember it is still there) to the positive equilibrates the brain, seeing the truth in the moment. Science claims that for the other side to get into your long-term memory you need to hold it in your field of attention for at least 10-20 seconds.
This week, seeing your child on their computer notice your negative perceptions and then consciously turn your focus towards finding a positive of their being on the computer. Hold this in your focus for 10-20 seconds.
My child is smiling and full of energy as he plays games on his computer…hold it…hold it….hold it….. Phew, you can do this. Remember, you don’t have to let go of the negative side….You KNOW that one well and it comes a lot easier than focusing on the positive especially with computer use.
Seeing what your child is actually doing instead of focusing and believing they are ONLY doing the negative sends a message to your child that they are a whole human being experiencing positive and negative. If you focus only on the negative your child is hearing over and over they have a deficit which becomes their internal self-talk. The more balanced you see a situation the less emotionally charged you’ll be when supporting your child in learning skill sets that will support their growth.
Next time you walk into their room, of course, you’ll see the mess, and yet shift your focus to the beauty that is hidden in the middle of the mess. Keep your attention there….hold it…hold it…hold it…You got it.
As a parent, it is easy, to think what you believe is “right” casting your child as in the “wrong”. When this happens righteousness pops up defending and justifying your actions of pushing, pulling, or forcing your child to live into your high values.
I’m here to offer you another way of seeing. What if thinking you are right is just your first STOP on the elevator down to connecting with reality?
When I experienced the thought “I’m right” I saw my child as “wrong”. I got demanding, pushy, forceful and all kinds of intense because honestly, I HATED feeling discomfort. And yet, as the adult in the relationship, I trained myself to never STOP when I experienced discomfort….I chose to step back and question my stance of “right” over “wrong”.
I love this Rumi poem: “Out beyond ideas of right or wrongdoing, there is a field, I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make any sense.” I consciously choose to parent with this poem in mind.
Of course, this is challenging and that’s what it is meant to be. A challenge to your idea is that you are “right” and your child is “wrong”.
Experiencing feeling right requires tightening which leads to defending and justifying your side. The tighter you get the farther the divide between your heart and your child’s.
Let’s take hitting. This is one of the number one concerns parents of young children bring to the table. My daughter was a hitter so I totally KNOW how uncomfortable it can feel and how “wrong” it appears.
Folks would always say to me “tell her she can’t hit” and I would look at them and say “what do you mean tell her she can’t, she just did.” Instead of controlling the behavior and objecting to the hitting, I went deeper to see what feelings were driving the behavior. This required stepping out of the stance that hitting is wrong.
As I dug beneath the first STOP I recognized that my daughter didn’t just “hit”. She hit when she perceived DANGER. Now, if my daughter had actually been in physical danger you bet I’d want her to be able to hit. So, telling her not to made no sense at a deeper level.
One step deeper I recognized that she perceived my actions as the threat. Whatever actions I felt were “right” she perceived as a threat to her autonomy or view of the matter. Her brain was signaling danger and her actions were an act of protection, not aggression.
What? Once I stepped out of needing to be right I took personal responsibility and questioned my actions instead of hers.
Am I pushing? Do I have an agenda? Am I trying to engulf her with my values instead of listening to hers? This is a huge step to take in a culture where the prevailing belief is hitting is wrong.
It requires seeing how conditioned the lens of right or wrong are and how easy it is to STOP there believing your child is a threat to your belief.
In western culture, comforting a child who feels threatened, after they hit, can be seen as permissive and letting the child get away with something. Instead, we scold, shame, and punish them.
How we got there when we long to support our children in feeling safe still boggles my mind.
From my seat, I decided it was time to unlearn my conditioned belief -meeting my child in that field beyond right and wrong showing her the way of the heart.
Experiencing a lot of insecurity as a new parent I took my responsibility very seriously. I was determined to offer my daughter the BEST environment. Instead of trusting my instinct and impulses through, opening to a different realm of listening, I did what I thought was the “right” thing to do. I kept looking outside to get the reflection that I was a good mom. Trusting my insecurity over my knowing left me feeling depressed and overwhelmed. The external pressure dampened my internal knowing taking the joy out of parenting.
As I opened to slowing down, listening, and looking for signs of flow and ease I heard messages from a deeper source of how to parent MY child. We often hear “all children” need certain things and yet it was clear that I was parenting my unique child not “all” children. Trying to force my round peg daughter into a square hole was not working. As soon as I finally listened I’d receive a sign that all is well.
I entered the realm of noticing synchronicities, noticing signs that my daughter was thriving instead of conforming. At first, it felt scary and extremely radical and I kept looking around to make sure we were still OK. Then, I’d be practicing a new way of parenting, and next thing you know I’d run into someone who was doing the same. It was quite magical and created a space to enter and trust a deeper realm of knowing.
My encouragement this week is to take time to slow down and open to signs and signals that all is truly well. Trust the magic all around you….it is there….waiting for you to notice.
When I adopted my daughter I was SURE I had it all together. I was going to be the best parent in the world and I was READY for my mission. So, when I found myself in the weeds struggling to get my 4-year-old to listen, I noticed that I was withdrawing love and protecting my heart. This led to a deep inquiry about what was going on inside my heart and why did I feel the need to protect it from this beautiful being that I so longed to give it to?
One of the main reasons I adopted my daughter was to give and receive love. And yet, it felt like when I offered my big beautiful heart to her it hit up against her protection and bounced back. Feelings of rejection and abandonment arose and instead of turning towards her, I turned against myself believing I was a rejectable person.
The pain in my heart that I’d held down since childhood was rising to the surface and honestly, I didn’t know what to do with that pain except to blame my daughter. I closed my heart to seeing hers.
Maybe, you’ve had the same experience?
Like you didn’t even know you had certain pain points until your child brushed up against them?
The pain only increased the more I saw it as her fault refusing to take responsibility and ownership for my pain. I expected her to be different and offering the love I was seeking while refusing to open my heart until she did. I found myself acting as the child and expected her to be the adult.
Over time the pain from closing my heart grew to create a distance between my heart and my daughter’s that was unbearable.
I chose to take responsibility for my actions and slowly dismantled the protection I’d needed as a child showing up with my open heart for my child.
I’d forgotten the power of my vulnerable heart longing to give and receive love. This is what parenting has given me, an opportunity to remember my vulnerable heart opening to all that arises.
I slowly felt safe enough to share my unbridled love without needing my child to receive it in the way I thought she should. I opened to fill myself with the exquisite vulnerability I’d hidden away.
You can turn back in and offer yourself the gift of your vulnerability which eventually will lead you to sitting it the seat of kindness for yourself and your child.
What a gift.
What inspires you in your parenting? Someone asked what inspires me and it brought a big smile to my face. How do I keep moving forward with the inspiration they asked? What drives me to keep opening my heart daily?
The truth is it is an honor and a privilege to parent my young adult daughter. She didn’t ask me to adopt her. I chose to adopt her and every day, even though I’ve been challenged over and over, I bow down to the opportunity to be her mother. What a gift I’ve been offered.
I was 44 years old when I adopted her and was in some ways set in my ways. I’d had all the freedom to live my life however I wanted and all of a sudden I was faced with the opportunity to experience that I wasn’t the center of the universe. I chose to see the world through my daughter’s eyes and it was an eye-opener for sure. I got the chance to live in the “present” moment and let me tell you it was HARD.
As an adult, I prided myself on living in the present moment, and yet once I was a parent all my thoughts were focused on the future. Who will she become? Will she be successful? Will she fit in? On and on my mind took over fantasizing about the future forcing me to leave the precious present moment my child was so willing to show me.
Relaxing I offered myself the opportunity to see through her eyes. Letting go of my agenda I opened to the exquisite feeling of living in the moment. Instead of trying to project my perceptions on my daughter, I entered into hers. Miraculously, I saw she had her own timing, rhythm and knowing of herself. Why would I want to take this away? Why would I want her to enter my world of competition and lack?
I was given this blessing to enter the world of another recognizing her unique expression and offering it to the world. Why would I want her to “think” the way I did? Instead, I opened the door to listening to her views, watching how she experienced the world and I was filled with amazement.
I realized needing my child to end up a certain way to justify my efforts placed the joy of being her mother in the outcome instead of the day-to-day thing I got to do which was witnessing her unique brilliance.
Give it a try.
This week, imagine putting on the glasses of each of your children seeing the world through their eyes.
Without judgment, see if you are willing to discover the world they see asking questions and being curious.
Even though it might not match your perception open to the wonder of a new view. It might trigger discomfort and if it does welcome this curiously asking yourself if your view is the “right” view or are you willing to open to a new possibility. Open to the wonder of a new view giving yourself the experience of Purejoy.