The Purejoy Parenting Blog

Inspiration For Your Parenting Journey

The Old Way of Parenting to The Purejoy Way by Thais Hernandez

The Old Way of Parenting to The Purejoy Way by Thais Hernandez

From the Old Way of Parenting to the Purejoy Way:

Do you know that feeling at the end of the day when you look back at how your day went and notice that you didn’t nurture the connections you wanted to, feel drained, and overall guilty about how you acted with your family and what you didn’t accomplish?

That was my normal eight months ago. I was an expert in self-aggression, taking myself apart and examining everything I did wrong: I didn’t cover all the topics I wanted to during homeschool time; I still hadn’t graded last week’s tests; I forgot to play Little Ponies with my daughter; my kids didn’t spend enough time outside today; I let my kids use too much screen time; I tuned out my 7-year-old when he was talking about Minecraft. As you can probably imagine, I could go on forever.

Going to bed and waking up I was feeling like I was never measuring up to the idea of the parent I wanted to be. I look back now and can clearly see the impossible standards I set up for myself. I had no idea what healthy personal boundaries looked like, let alone how to implement them. I considered myself to be an above-average parent; I’d read all the books and listened to all the webinars and was breaking paradigms left and right. But, you see, I hadn’t discovered the biggest shift of all. I knew what I wanted for my children, how successful they’d be if only I could get them to (insert anything here). What I didn’t know was what I wanted for myself, how to stay true and honor myself while raising happy children.

Reading the traditional way of parenting I understood it to say how much I had to sacrifice to be a good parent. I read about the scores my child needs to make to predict whether or not they will be an average Joe or a CEO leading their own company, what the best way to school is, how many languages they should speak, and how many instruments they should play. Even gentle parenting tells you how you should treat children so they are emotionally safe and encourages honoring their needs above all else. It wasn’t until I learned and practiced the Purejoy view that I understood why the other ways weren’t working for me and my family.

Purejoy taught me to slow down and encouraged me to know myself, my needs, and my core vulnerabilities. As I understood that I could stop looking to the outside for someone to take care of them for me, and stepping into my true self, offering loving kindness to myself, and setting healthy boundaries (YES! Even with my children!) I honored myself. In doing so, I stepped into my adult capacity which enabled me to make the decisions I thought would bring the most benefits to me and my family. Another turning point  was seeing my children as capable and full of wisdom, getting curious about their process and desires. When I take time to see, hear, and understand their high values and their vulnerabilities, I am better able to support them.

Now, I know all of this may sound ideal and lovely in theory, and at the same time, so abstract and sometimes unreachable, but I’ll give you an example of a situation in my day-to-day life and how simple changes are able to shift entire paradigms:

When my children were little, I enjoyed prepping snacks and lunches for them, cutting everything into shapes and adding those decorative picks, and love notes for them to find and enjoy. As they grew older, I had more responsibilities with work and found myself with less time to prepare them, but I kept doing so. As even more time went by I found myself resenting them for expecting me to always prepare their snacks and lunches. I made up stories in my head about their age and how they should have the skills to do it themselves and with every meal I prepared and at every request for a snack I noticed more and more irritation. Then I’d react from an emotionally triggered place and probably ask them – not so kindly – to go get it themselves and probably shame them for being as old as they are and not doing it themselves from the get go, or begrudgingly do it myself and be in a bad mood after.

After my Purejoy training I learned that there were many components to this seemingly simple task. I recognized that they weren’t forcing me to do anything, they were simply stating their desires – and how lovely it is that they felt safe enough to do so. They didn’t need the notes or the picks or the fruit cut out in cute shapes, that was coming from me; I also recognized that it was ok if I didn’t prepare their snacks all the time, if I didn’t feel like it I could express that I’m not available to do so, and share with them what I am offering (listing what they can find in the pantry, or opening a jar they’re not able to), and move on with my day. I don’t tell them what they “need to do”anymore. I share with them what I’m going to do. They are capable of deciding what their next step is. By setting my personal boundary and saying no, when I choose to say no, I am honoring myself and not growing resentful, I see the reality for what it is, and when I say yes it is with a wholehearted yes that fulfills me.

I invite you to consider what you believe your job is as a parent.  Leslie once asked me: Do you believe your job is to prepare your child to be successful in the future world you’ve learned to be attached to, as who you think they should be, or could it be your job is to fill them with loving kindness so they are able to show up as themselves and make choices confident in who they are and the abilities they possess?

How might you best support yourself and your child in this vision?

And remember: be curious about your answer, offering it kindness and love and leaving judgment and self-aggression out of the conversation.

Meet Thias

Thais is a certified purejoy parent coach living in Honduras with her husband and 3 neurospicy kiddos. As a parent herself, she understand the challenges that come with raising neurodiverse children in today’s fast-paced world. Her coaching approach is based on a combination of evidence-based practices and personal experience. She offers parents the opportunity to see beyond the labels that have been assigned and step into their true selves, and at the same time support their children in finding their brilliance and path in life.

Instagram- Parenthing_hn

Ten Minutes of Special Time! by Erin Waters

Ten Minutes of Special Time! by Erin Waters

Ten minutes of Special Time! That’s what the parenting experts said. All your child needs is 10 minutes of Special Time. Ok… I can do this!

As an Ob/Gyn, my 3-year-old son missed me when I was at work. And I missed him! I desperately wanted to reconnect with him when I came home, but I had just spent over 24 hours in the hospital. What I wanted even more was a hot shower and a nap. 

Luckily, I read The Parenting Book (or more like 50 parenting books) and I had found THE perfect solution! I would meet his needs for just ten minutes, and then I could meet mine with a glorious steam-filled shower, and then a nap with my favorite blanket.  

I can hear the late night commercial now: “You too can be The Perfect Mom if you call in the next 10 minutes. Dial 1-800-Special-Time to achieve your wildest parenting dreams!” My dreams were about to come true!

That morning, I drove home with such high hopes. I let my son know that we would have “Special Time”. He chose to play LEGOs. No surprise there! I set my timer for 10 minutes. We played, laughed, and reconnected. The timer buzzed and I turned to my son and stated the magic words The Book instructed:

“That was fun! Special Time is over. I’ll play with you again after my nap”. 

“Well. Thanks for the sh#t day, Mom!” My son responded with anger flashing in his eyes.

Ok. Yikes! That did NOT go as planned. My sweet little 3-year old just cussed at me!?! I did what I was told! I played for TEN minutes! Why didn’t that work?

Fast forward to today… I’m now a Purejoy Master Coach and have been hanging around Leslie for 3 years. Looking back at this moment I feel such tenderness and kindness! We both did the best we could with the capacities we had at the time. And, I completely missed the mark. 

This is why I love the SafeSeat, the foundational practice in Purejoy. It’s a simple practice in theory, but so very deep! It’s like the Wardrobe in the Chronicles of Narnia. You may think the end is just a wall at the back, but the further you go, past the fur coats, the more you discover! There’s an entire new world on the other side. 

As for the simple part: The SafeSeat is about moving from the emotional world to the practical world. Seems easy enough! Many conscious parenting techniques teach emotional regulation. 

The magic is this: Finding the intimacy of the moment. What is that, you ask? 

Let’s take my Special Time example. I actually felt quite emotionally regulated. Yes, I was tired. But, I also felt inspired by this new hope. I wanted to play with my son. He also seemed perfectly regulated. He was enjoying LEGOs with me. 

However, this solution was only one fur-coat-deep. To get to Narnia required me SafeSeating the emotions that were behind it all. I needed to get truly intimate with all that was present in the moment. I was already somewhat aware; I knew that we needed/wanted to reconnect. Where I missed was moving straight to a practical solution for an emotional issue.

If I could go back, I would use the SafeSeat in the car driving home. First, I would listen to my relief at having a 24-hour shift under my belt. I would listen to all the emotions that this can bring: the frustrations, lamentations, and celebrations. I would welcome the cringe of what I imagined would be expected of me as a wife and mother as I returned home. I would listen and offer kindness to each and every one of the emotions as they entered my being. 

Then, when my son hears my car pull up and runs into my open arms, I would be there fully present for all of his being.

“Oh sweetie! I’m so happy to see you! How are you feeling this morning?” 

He may or may not share. If he did, I would listen attentively to each of his feelings, bring them into my heart, and communicate how meaningful his experience is to me.

I would acknowledge and honor all of the emotional energy that lived in the intimacy of that moment. I would welcome all of the unmet needs and wantings with a fearless open heart. And then, only then, I would move to the practical. 

“I hear that you want to play with me so much! I wish I could play for hours and hours with you, too! But, I’m really tired. Here is what I’m offering: Ten minutes of play now and then after I take a shower and rest, we can play again.” 

Or, if I was really exhausted, I could skip the “Ten Minutes” and offer a LEGO date after my nap. 

Either way, if the emotional energy is not met, the practical solution will not work. And the more I practice the SafeSeat, the more intimate I am with the moment. I can uncover all of the conscious and subconscious emotions that are present, fur coat by fur coat. I can open my heart to all that is tucked away by practicing the SafeSeat… That’s the way to Narnia. 

Thanks so much for reading my story! I hope this supports you in discovering the intimacy of your moments so that you can find your own way to Narnia! And maybe a glorious shower and a nap, too!

By Erin Waters

Learning to Ride the Wave Of Feelings by Elena Nalimove

Learning to Ride the Wave Of Feelings by Elena Nalimove

The other day, one of those very wet gray days which are common in Manchester (and they feel particularly gray and wet if it happens to be Sunday), I had a bright idea: I will teach Lara how to ride a bike without training wheels. A great idea, isn’t it? She is 5 and enjoys riding her bike, wouldn’t it be fun for her to learn to ride it without training wheels?! My imagination quickly painted an idyllic picture – a sunny day, a happy child on a bike, a smiling parent (me) running behind them gently supporting the kid at the back etc. etc. I liked the ‘picture’ so much that I ignored the fact that the reality was far from the image in my head, it wasn’t a sunny day and my child didn’t actually ask me to teach her to ride a bike – she was happily occupied by drawing and coloring.

Filled with excitement and enthusiasm (on my part) Lara and I went downstairs to the underground garage to practice – there is an ample empty space, an even floor – perfect!

Within a few minutes my ‘idyllic’ picture crashed into reality. Lara found it very hard to keep balance: “I am scared….I can’t do it….You aren’t holding me properly…It’s your fault that I am losing balance….You aren’t helping me… You are an IDIOT!….” Yep, she went from “I am scared” to “It’s all your fault. You are an idiot” within seconds. And I was quick to join her in her frustration: my body tensed up, my heart started to beat very fast, and the heat rose towards my face – I was very close to exploding. The voice inside me was raging: “It was supposed to be fun!!!”

Her struggle and frustration about being incapable of riding a bike without training wheels triggered something deep inside me.

At first, I wanted to blame her: “Come on, why do you give up so quickly? What’s so scary about it? I am here, holding you, running behind you, and you are calling me an IDIOT!?! Then, a familiar voice ‘spoke’ loud and clear: “She is just like you, lacking in confidence, ready to give up at the first hurdle”, and I sensed the heaviness in my heart and noticed tears burning my eyes ready to flow down my cheeks. The next moment, I ‘saw’ myself, a little Elena, on a bike: struggling with it and scrambling under the pressure and expectations from my ‘big people’. They didn’t like me to be slow, timid, uncertain, and quick to give up. They wanted me to be good at achieving and accomplishing things – that was important to them! The moment a ‘memory tape’ started running I noticed myself getting filled with shame and guilt, and I felt annoyed with myself for feeling those feelings. The annoyance wanted to come out in a scream: “I am doing my best, I am trying so hard, and you are calling me an idiot? That’s unfair!” Gosh, a little Elena, powerless, helpless, incapable to do what’s required, was here again – the little girl, who has never succeeded at the first attempt.

In that moment of clarity, I stopped. I sat down on the floor, and the reality of the moment hit me: I felt powerless, helpless, and ashamed seeing my daughter struggle. Powerlessness and helplessness were such familiar feelings to me and covering them up with either people -pleasing or self-aggression was my ‘go to’. A few more deep breaths, and I was able to feel the deep sadness inside and see the reality for what it was: my 5-year-old daughter was having a first go at riding a bike without training wheels and found it challenging! I looked at my sweet little girl – body shaking with sobs, tears rolling down her cheeks – she was really struggling. I said: “Let’s go home, sweetie, I love you. We can try again another time”.

The situation shook me to the core. I felt as if it was about me. I knew I wanted to take it to my Sacred Seat and stay with it until I got more clarity and peace.

In the SacredSeat a question kept coming up: “Was I really that slow at everything?” Yes, that is what I was told by my parents and teachers, but what if I was simply different from what they expected of me? What if they were simply trying to remove ‘training wheels’ from my bicycle too early, long before I was ready to ‘ride’ on my own? They called me ‘slow’, and the label stuck. Kids make up meaning and are conclusion-making machines, so I concluded that being slow at learning is bad, hence I am bad and/or something is wrong with me. And, as a kid, what I learnt to do is to hide my so-called slowness, which meant not to participate. Not to get involved. To play small and hide behind people who are strong, quick, and outwardly capable. Acting helpless, incapable, ‘bad’ at everything was my identity. It was my safe place: I play small, so you feel big, and because you like feeling ‘big’, you are going to like me, and that’s all I wanted – to be liked, loved, and accepted. How very innocent!

For as long as I remember, I preferred to do things by myself to avoid being compared. And I never questioned my ‘being slow’ until Purejoy. That evening, sitting in my SacredSeat I wondered: “Is that really true that I am slow? Or does it simply mean that I do things at my own pace?”

Watching my child demonstrating similar traits brought back those familiar vulnerable feelings of helplessness and shame for who I am. To avoid the discomfort that came with those feelings, I first wanted to blame my child, then I wanted to run away, shut down, and withdraw love. But instead, I chose to open my Purejoy toolbox and get out the magic tools of SafeSeat and Sacred Seat. In the moment, ‘SafeSeat on the go’ allowed me to first notice and stay with my emotional experience which made me available to see the situation from my daughter’s perspective: she was trying a new thing, it was much harder than she expected, and that brought a lot of strong feelings. Those feelings were too uncomfortable, and she tried to discharge them by crying and blaming me. (Of course! That’s what you do when you are 5!)

The SafeSeat practice supported me to pause, notice my experience and the story that was attached to it, and then separate it from my child’s experience. Lara was having HER experience that had nothing to do with me! The moment I became aware of that, I knew that all she needed from me was my presence, my support, and my validation of HER experience. When we got home, I sat on the floor and opened my arms. She threw herself in, still sobbing – “It was so hard…. It was so unfair…. You didn’t help me…. I couldn’t do it…. I am not good at riding the bike…..” “I know, sweetie, I know!” – I kept saying, holding her in my arms. From time to time, I would ask: “How are you feeling? A little calmer?” “Not yet”, she would reply, and we continued staying on the floor, embracing. At some point she said: “Your heart is beating so fast. Are you OK?”. “Yes, I am”, I said, “I too felt upset, so let’s stay here and calm down together”.

We held each other until her tears stopped and her breathing became slow and regular. A huge emotional wave had passed, and we got on with our day. I am SO grateful for my Purejoy toolbox! It’s magical!

By Dr. Elena Nalimova

Meet Elena

Elena is a Purejoy Coach and Purejoy Group coach. She is a mother to Lara, who is 5, as well as a classical pianist, accompanist and a teacher.

Cooperation vs Control by Tanya Milano-Snell

Cooperation vs Control by Tanya Milano-Snell

One of my highest values is health and wellness so I decided early on that it would be a high priority in our family. As babies, I fed my children the way I wanted and clothed them with ‘healthy’ fabrics. I covered their little bodies with ‘healthy’ things on their skin. I had complete control over their schedule and made sure they got outdoor time and adequate sleep. I felt like I was on top of the world.

 I was doing it right! Yay me!

 Then came the age when my kids were aware of their own ideas and began expressing them freely! Now this happens at different ages and for different reasons and each time I revisit a few things that I’ve come to through years of inquiry and working with Purejoy.

  1. My kids’ choices aren’t responsible for me feeling like a good or bad mom.
  2. I trust that they are making choices that are healthy for them at the moment.
  3. It may take longer than I want because they are learning and have their own timing.  

As an example is what’s happening with my son and how he eats vegetables.

In our family, we love frozen peas. My husband and I prefer them cooked in our food especially in stir fry and Indian food. My son prefers a bowl of frozen peas directly from the package. He absolutely loves them. My daughter does too.

We also serve cooked/roasted carrots quite often because it is a good choice for my husband’s digestive problems. We’ve found what works for him and I value simplicity and ease. And then, there is my son who prefers and only eats raw carrots.

Instead of controlling his preferences and making him eat the cooked vegetables I choose cooperation which includes my children’s preferences. I actually enjoy providing my children with options for dinner and sometimes providing alternatives for certain meals, but it wasn’t always like this. Through my journey in Purejoy I dove even deeper into my conditioned thinking so I could show up as the mama I wanted to be. 

You see I had stories and beliefs around dinner time and food choice. Early in my parenting, I didn’t even know or consider I could question the stories. They were living me. One story I listened sounded like this:  “You should never give your child another meal when you’ve already served dinner. That’s spoiling them.” they say.  “That’s disrespectful to the cook!” others say. There were lots of “they” voices roaming around in my head. 

 I listened to parenting experts that claimed that family dinner is the most important requirement for a connected family culture.  I was determined to do it “right” which meant I had to control the environment and my children. I felt feelings of powerlessness coming up over and over again when my children made requests for other food items or didn’t want what was served.  I used control and power to try and create this fantasy dinner experience where everyone loved and ate the same food. I found myself digging my heels in and heard myself saying, “We cooked this and you will be trying it or not eating at all.”  

As I entered the Purejoy Parent Coach training I was met with a space that supported questioning any narrative that put a barrier between my heart and my child’s. As I deeply inquired through the SafeSeat process I discovered that I didn’t value control.  I valued cooperation. Those stories and words that were guiding my parenting weren’t mine!

Slowing down and listening to my inner wisdom voice I heard, “ It’s ok to let go of control in favor of cooperation. As the pressure released I realized I could trust myself instead of the experts which is a Pillar of Purejoy: Trusting Yourself. 

Today, I listen and hear when my children are expressing their desires and recognize they are taking care of themselves in these moments instead of seeing them as needing to be controlled so I feel ok.  They are learning about themselves just like my husband and I are still learning in our timing. Our family dinner is one filled with cooperation and delight as everyone feels seen, heard and understood.  This is what connected family dinner is to me!

Tanya Milano-Snell is a Purejoy Parent Coach who uses mindfulness and embodiment techniques to support the process of big change in moms and the family. For over 15 years she enjoyed early childhood teaching in play-based, nature-based, and social emotional learning. She’s also inspired by her parents who left this earth too early with so much more love to spread. When not playing with her kids, you can find her frolicking in the woods with her dog and talking to inanimate and animate objects.

Instagram @thetanyamilano



The Practical Side of Parenting

The Practical Side of Parenting

On one hand parenting is a very practical job. Feeding the baby, changing the baby’s diapers, giving the baby a bath, cleaning up after the baby and on and on it goes. Even though this can seem a bit tedious you gladly offer these gifts to your innocent beautiful dependent babe because you KNOW they can’t do it themselves. 

On the other hand, parenting is an emotional experience. Emotionally supporting your children can feel confusing and demanding. What you forget is that your children are also emotionally dependent on you just like they are on the practical. Their young nervous systems don’t just magically regulate just like they don’t know how to change their diaper. The problem is that you actually have an expectation that they should actually know how to emotionally handle themselves especially when you feel emotionally triggered. Doesn’t that baby know how to stop crying? Can’t they sleep through the night?

Being well aware that practical skill sets take time, repetition and patience to learn why is it so hard to recognize that emotional regulatory skills require the same? Because no one took the time to support you. Instead they expected you to be emotionally mature way too early. 

One of the main problems I hear from parents is how to get their kids to do chores and at the same time to be happy about it. When they mix up the practical with the emotional things tend to go South. 

What if you separated out the two?  Instead of using the emotional to teach practical skills, what if you saw them both as needing your attention? Have you ever felt frustrated with your child in relation to a practical skill and then used shame or blame to guilt them into doing the task? That would be using emotional blackmail to teach your child a practical skill. It may work in the short run and yet in the long run it builds a resistance to the practical task. 

I STILL hate to unload the dishwasher which is a very easy practical skill. As a child, I had a very high value on play and being social and unloading the dishwasher was a tedious skill and easily learned. When I failed to do it every night or complained (emotional) I was shamed and blamed for not helping out and being lazy. To this day, I have resistance to this simple task. 

I’d learned the practical skill and yet wasn’t supported in working with the emotions that came up when I was asked to do something that wasn’t in my high value. I was not motivated to do something I already knew how to do. Instead of linking my high value to unloading the dishwasher I was shamed and punished while at the same time being told I was irresponsible and needed to learn that skill. What? To my young mind this made no sense at all. 

The bottom line is that you and your child have practical needs and emotional needs and linking those two instead of using the emotional to get the practical done is something that you may need to learn. 

 Listen to this week’s podcast to hear more. 

The Family Template

The Family Template

Families come in all shapes and sizes. I adopted my daughter from China as a single mom which was a “lot” radical for my Southern family. Did I say I was 45 years old at the time? HA!

Growing up in a Southern home I had a parenting template that conditioned me to believe that you did life in certain ways. And you didn’t adopt a child as a single mom when you were 45 years old.

It also didn’t include setting healthy personal boundaries, working through conflict, expressing your needs and getting them met or many of the adult skill sets I needed to be the parent I wanted to be.

I learned the early strategies of pleasing and placating, taking care of others needs and avoiding conflict at all cost.

Instead of learning the adult skill sets I needed to be the parent I wanted to be it was easier to parent from the “other” side pretending I was completely different than my parents. I was focused on doing everything my parents didn’t do and I was determined my daughter was going to live in a healthy home. The problem with this was: “I didn’t know what a healthy home actually looked like” I was trying to create a fantasy one-sided home that wasn’t realistic at all.

As things began to break down, in my home, I experienced more outbursts of anger just like my mom. This was terrifying and I had to face the truth that my internal fantasy was not matching my external reality. They were clearly divided and no matter how much I tried to control the outside to match the inside I experienced disappointment and felt like a failure as a mother. No matter how much I beat myself up to try and turn the tides I kept sinking deeper and deeper into despair.

Being determined to find another way I turned inward to examine the internal fantasy that I had created in hopes that I wouldn’t have to face the reality of my past.

As I examined my internal world, with an incredible dose of kindness, I recognized how wise it was, as a child, to live in a fantasy when I couldn’t control my environment. I couldn’t go get new parents so creating strategies that supported me in surviving my childhood was incredibly wise. I created an early strategy to live in the conditions I found myself in and it worked. How beautiful is that?

Instead of shaming and guilting myself for always failing I offered kindness to this early strategy. From this new found ground of kindness I started the process of learning new adult skills to meet the reality I found myself in as a mother.

You can too. Download the free SafeSeat process and take a step towards loving yourself as you update your early skills sets into healthy adult ones.

A new Purejoy Parent Coach training is starting soon so come join us for a profound personal as well as a professional training to become a Purejoy coach. Find info here.

Is This Permissive Parenting?

Oh no!!!! Is this PERMISSIVE parenting?!?!? (dun dun dun DUN!!!!!) 😨

When learning about the Purejoy Parenting philosophy, it’s pretty common for parents to ask… aren’t I just letting my kid do whatever they want?

Thinking that you have the power to “let” someone do something or not is a conditioned belief.

One thing that differentiates Purejoy from other Parenting styles is that the focus is on examining your actions not your child’s. 🤔

Who are you without your conditioning?

Who is your child?

How are you supporting the child you have?

Check out this week’s Parenting Paused Podcast to discover more!

Parenting The Child You Have

You live in a culture that tells you how your children “should be”. Through the ages and stages, there is a lot of info that expects your child to measure up.

In Purejoy, we go a little deeper by supporting you in looking internally. What need are you trying to meet when you expect your child to act or be a certain way different than they are?

In Purejoy we view everyone as deserving love for who they are. Including YOU!

Enjoy the video blog and to hear more click on the podcast below, where I share what I learned the hard way! Hear the questions I asked myself as I learned to parent the child I had, instead of the child that lived in my fantasy.

 And give yourself a big hug for doing this challenging work!



Exploring vs Explaining

Exploring vs Explaining

This week let’s look at the difference between exploring and explaining.

Do you find yourself exploring with your child, exploring what’s going on, exploring their experience, showing up for them to explore their world, how they see things, the conclusions they’re coming to, the meanings they’re concluding? Or do you explain how the world works, how they’re supposed to think, what they’re supposed to do, how they’re supposed to be right depending on how you experience the world?

There is a strong tendency, especially when feeling powerless and uncomfortable with their actions, to fall back on explaining how things are. When doing this, can you see how little openness there is to explore their experience? Why is that? Usually when you step out of the known and into the unknown it will trigger a feeling you may have organized your life to not feel. If you resist this feeling one way is to fall back on the known.

 To truly explore you must open yourself to hear your child’s experience without judgment. As you listen, of course, it will trigger feelings about their experience and yet if you convince yourself your experience is the “right” one you will try to explain to your child why they are “wrong”. When emotionally triggered and something lights up inside that creates discomfort, do you try and shift their experience to be one that is comfortable for you?

 In opening the door to exploring it is important to stay in your own lane recognizing that you aren’t in control of your child’s experience. Maybe, you can control their actions and yet you can’t control what they think and how they feel. Trying to do this through explaining why you need to control them is an attempt to take care of yourself instead of exploring your child’s experience. 

Think about it. Why do you need your child, your partner or anyone to have the same experience you are having? Why do you need them to know your truth? It’s usually a way of seeking love, understanding and validation. You want to be known, right? The fear is that they might misunderstand you if you don’t explain your actions. 

What would it be like to explore that impulse inside you offering love, understanding and validation to your experience without needing the other to join you? Understanding that you don’t have the power to control what your child thinks or feels releases you to come alongside them as they explore their own. 

PRACTICE: Open your heart and your ears and listen to your child’s experience without taking it personally. Notice your internal judgments and stories as you listen. Refrain from trying to change their experience or even to question it. Reflect back what you hear asking them to tell you more. REMEMBER: this is their experience not truth. 

Knowing that their experience is about them and not you is empowering. Recognize their need for love. Open your heart to offering yourself and your child the opportunity to explore the terrain of the heart.

Examining Your Conditioning

Examining Your Conditioning

In Purejoy, the focus is on examining and exploring your internal experience in relation to your child’s behavior. Instead of controlling the behavior to change your internal experience you learn to question the meaning you put to your internal experience. 

 When feeling uncomfortable inside it is easy to blame the outside and then look for ways to control the behavior. Exploring that discomfort is a counter-instinctual move because of course you’d want to move away from the discomfort. And yet, turning towards the experience internally gives you an opportunity to sit in the seat of being a curious learner instead of a knower. It can be easier to sit in the seat of the all knowing parent and yet what is missed is the intimacy of the present moment. 

 Sitting in the seat of knowing what is best for your child, knowing what they should do or how they should be is based on your experience not on your child’s. 

 It can be disconcerting to experience the actual groundless ground in parenting in the present without depending on your knowledge. As you approach this you’ll often want to grab the wheel to get control. You’ll look to the experts, looking to the internet to find the answers and lose contact with your capacity to sit in the unknown which is where learning happens. 

 If you think having more knowledge in your parenting file is going to create more internal comfort…take a moment and question this assumption. Is your goal to control your child’s behavior so you feel good about you? Maybe not. 

 Being willing to sit in the seat of the learner offers you “getting” to know yourself, your beliefs, your feelings, your patterns and the templates you grew up with. 

In my experience my daughter “not listening” or “talking back” became an opportunity to know myself in a deeper way. I got to know my emotional triggers, I got to see my massive need to be in control, I got to see how terrified I was to trust myself and the intimacy of the moment. I learned to take full responsibility for my part in the dynamic with my child. 

Counterinstinctually, turning towards my fears and facing them opened my heart to truly living in the present. I realized focusing on the process of parenting was much more powerful than focusing on the outcome. 

 Practice: Notice when you feel discomfort inside when your child behaves in a certain way. Instead of controlling the behavior, take a pause, slow down and turn your attention to your internal experience. Is there a part of you that thinks you HAVE to know how to respond at this moment? If you don’t, do you feel like a failure? Do you need to know to feel OK? Just notice and offer yourself kindness for whatever you see. 

 Give yourself the gift of kindness and remember that opening to being the learner instead of the knower offers you and your child the experience of sitting in awe of each other.