The Purejoy Parenting Blog
The price of deep transformation in our parenting is high. It means we have to be willing to shift our perspective on our child’s behavior and let go of our loyalty to “being right”, “knowing what is best”, “power and control” and “feeling like a successful parent”.
When we live under the paradigm that parents are the almighty and children should give over to us by complying and surrendering their will we won’t be able to open to the humility and vulnerability required to create a safe emotionally connected relationship.
If we truly want to limit oppression and violence we must be willing to see where we are still being self-aggressive to our tender vulnerable selves. Until we are willing to turn inward and offer the gentle arms of kindness to the disenfranchised feelings, which our children will surely evoke in us, we will continue to see “good behavior” as the gold standard of child rearing.
From my viewpoint, the time for change is now. The world I see all around me is filled with dominance and oppression and unless I am willing to do the work at home I will only pass down the conditioning of my past.
I find this takes courage and strength to swim upstream from the prevalent parenting paradigm which is still dominant. What I find gives me this strength is my community who is committed to finding a new way. Together, we can support each other in returning to the “vulnerable” parts in ourselves and to bring them to the table.
Thank you for joining me and supporting the profound work I am graced to share.
As parents, we are expected to know what is best for our children. We are cast into this omnipotent role of the “all knower” and we often take this position on and forget we may not always know what is best.
I began to see how I knew what was best from my perspective and beliefs and yet when I began to question this I could clearly see my daughter was separate from me and had her own GPS.
At first, this was daunting because it meant stepping out of the role I had created for myself of the “knows whats best, mom”. It was shaky ground to open to the truth which was I wasn’t required to know what was best. I could actually come alongside my daughter as she began to discover what was best for her.
To do this, required a new way of parenting. I had set myself up in my daughter’s eyes as the one who gave her permission, the one who told her what to do and when to do it and the one who let her do what she wanted or didn’t.
As I deepened my inquiry I realized I was not creating a ground for her to know herself but an outside force which dictated who and what she was. This was a bit shocking at first because clearly, I wanted to raise a daughter who had her own mind and knew herself since this had been so hard for me to experience due to my upbringing.
I slowly began to soften inside around needing to know and began to ask my daughter questions about her experience instead of projecting mine onto her.
When she would ask me for something instead of saying yes or no I would say, “I don’t know, what do you think?” It was powerful to hear her knowing even when it didn’t match with mine. It also supported her in going inside to see what her body or mind was up to and what it actually wanted vs pleasing me.
Are you afraid to ask for what you want? As a child when you asked were you told you wanted too much or your parent expected you not to ask because they didn’t want to set their personal boundary? I learned to NOT ASK which meant I became self-reliant and independent which was a high value in my family. I took pride in my capacities and saw others who asked for a lot as needy and dependent.
So, when I am faced with my dependency needs intense feelings arise which I’ve spent most of my life trying not to feel. I’d do almost anything not to feel those feelings which means I’ll often do things when I really need help from others.
I project onto my daughter that she will be disgusted by my needs (because I am) and she so beautifully plays out that dynamic with me. I ask for help and she rolls her eyes and grunts and in that moment I am flooded with feelings of shame for being needy and weak and turn inward and become aggressive to the “needy” part in me. I want to beat her up and stuff her back in the closet. I believe in that moment it is too painful to feel the rejection of my needs. THIS IS THE MOMENT where I get to bravely practice offering kindness to the needy one in me instead of expecting my daughter to be kind to me when I’m not. It is SO hard and yet I’ve found this is the KEY to reclaiming a beautiful young part of me who is longing to be included and loved. Instead of making my daughter wrong or bad for not taking care of my needs I am able to look in the mirror and realize she is only reflecting how I treat myself.
As I unwind this insidious pattern internally I understand the root and am able, in my parenting, to offer my daughter a different experience. By setting my personal boundaries I don’t act as if I’m put upon when she expresses her needs. I am able to say, “good for you for asking and this is what I have to offer”. Instead of rolling my eyes and grunting I am able to make space for her to ask and ask and ask. I truly believe opening to our desire is what will change the world so I’m committed to loving my desires and hers. It is not easy to turn back toward my desires and it may not be easy to step toward yours and yet together we can do this.
Let’s open the door together. I see it as our time is NOW and it is up to us as mamas to lead the way.
Last week we talked about how to turn inside to attend to what is arising in us when our children are fighting.
Once we are able to separate out enough from our emotional trigger and step back into our adult role we can offer our children some ways to work with what is arising in them.
First, if you expect your children to “work things out” it will be about meeting your needs, not theirs. If you are able to separate out and meet your own needs (SafeSeat) you’ll be able to talk with each of your children individually to hear their perspective.
If you are sitting in judgment and identifying with the victim or the perpetrator roles you won’t be able to clearly understand their reasons. This isn’t about “right or wrong” this is about deeply understanding your child and offering empathy for their feelings.
Remember, feelings drive behavior so if you are able to empathize with their feelings instead of trying to teach them a lesson you’ll be in a better position to support them in being able to find ways to work through conflicts in a healthy way.
Work with the first step this week and see what you notice. Share on the Purejoy Parenting Practice Page to receive more support around sibling conflicts.
Have you ever felt a BIG nudge and knew it was time to jump into the water even though you resisted like CRAZY?
I’ve felt this countless times in my parenting and often found it easier to resist and create a million reasons to stay with the norm rather than jump.
Over time I’ve learned to question my perceived “safe” place and to update my capacity to take risk as an adult instead of relying on my early “young” strategies I learned as a child.
I’ve gotten bolder in my capacity to care for myself as well as my daughter.
I’ve learned to tolerate intense feeling states without acting out.
I’ve committed to doing things which activate discomfort internally and to find out if my old stories are true.
It has been a profound journey of inquiry into my conditioned beliefs around being a woman in this culture.
I knew it was important because I am raising a girl and I wanted to offer her something different.
It became clear when I was feeling discomfort I was clearly onto an old conditioned belief which needed an update.
The last thing I wanted to do was to raise my daughter with all the restrictions I’d experienced as a girl.
What I found difficult was when I began to witness how powerful and direct she was and how it triggered a fear of being punished which was what had happened to me.
Honestly, it was very confusing.
My favorite blog post was: “I’m raising a girl to say NO, just not to me”. OMG this was the dilemma. I wanted it both ways and I began to realize I had to stand up and own my NO if I was to offer this gift to my daughter.
I had to risk being seen as selfish, mean, rejecting and rude. YIKES!
I chose to love and honor myself as well as my daughter.
I stopped pretending I didn’t have needs.
I stepped out of my martyr role so I could show my daughter the way.
At times, it is still a struggle to stay connected with my truth and yet I am committed to living this and sharing with you.
I’m stepping up to the plate and offering 30 days of Facebook Live which on some level scares the S–t out of me.
I am an introvert and it would be a lot easier to play it safe and stay inside.
Come join me on my page and send some hearts my way to let me know you are interested in changing this old paradigm of parenting.
I’ll be on at 9 am MT each morning and every day for the next month. I’ll alter the times so my Aussie friends can join so check the page for updates. I’d love to see you there!
See me beautiful,
look for the best in me.
That’s what I really am,
and all I want to be.
It may take some time
It may be hard to find,
but see me beautiful.
See me beautiful,
each and every day.
Could you take a chance?
Could you find a way?
To see me shining through
in everything I do
and see me beautiful.
~ by Kathy and Red Grammer
I love this poem because it is the essence of what I find to be true. The trick though is to see yourself as beautiful before you can authentically see this in your child. Everything you see as beautiful in yourself, you see as beautiful in your child. Everything you see as ugly in you, you see as ugly in your child.
I find myself picking and criticizing my daughter the way I do myself. She is truly my mirror.
What do you see, in your children, that you find ugly or distasteful?
Make a list then look inside and see if you find the same true in you?
What would it be like to see yourself beautiful seeing the essence shining through?
How would you treat yourself different especially when you act out of fear?
Are you willing to see yourself beautiful, no matter how you behave?
One of the greatest gifts I give myself and therefore my daughter is turning back toward loving my disowned parts. Until I do, when she acts out a part I hate I want to destroy it in her.
Example: Lately, no matter what I say, she has a comeback. Arrrg! I remember my mother saying, “you could argue with a fence post” when I was expressing a strong opinion so when my daughter is stating hers it triggers a part in me I learned to hate and try to destroy. When I’m able to “pause” and see her beautiful I am remembering to see myself in the same way.
Would love to hear what you find out in your inquiry. Post in the comments.
How many times have you heard children need limits and boundaries?
If you are a mom, like me, probably a million times, right?
I heard it countless times from friends, family, experts and most often on the internet. Yet it never rang true, so I began a deep inquiry into why I felt extremely disturbed by this one seemingly “true” parenting belief. I began to ask myself, is it true? Does she need me to control or limit her? (This was my interpretation of the phrase and in my work with parents saw the same)
Through diving deep into my inner world it became crystal clear, in my experience, I limited and controlled my daughter because I was terrified to set personal boundaries. I was told, as a child, I was selfish, rude and disrespectful when I attempted to take care of myself. (Now, granted I was a kid so am sure I set boundaries in ways the adults thought were inappropriate.) The message I took in through my young innocent filters was it was not OK to say NO. I was conditioned to believe it was my job to take care of others, not myself.
The truth is I had to say NO to take care of myself and meet my needs. Since I organized my life around not feeling selfish, rude or disrespectful I convinced myself I didn’t really need boundaries. Instead of feeling discomfort and setting a personal boundary, I began controlling everyone and everything around me.
When I became a mother, the rubber met the road. My daughter was not willing to join me in the game of controlling herself so I could feel like a “good” mom and stay asleep. She was strong, feisty and determined to take care of herself. She had a forceful and definitive NO and it was so disturbing it triggered an explosive rage I hadn’t felt since childhood. Under my protective rage, was an incredibly vulnerable “inner” child who was flooded with feelings of rejection and abandonment. Of course, I wanted to control my daughter’s behavior because I didn’t believe I could tolerate what was coming up in me.
The truth is, as an adult I can tolerate the intensity even though it is uncomfortable. I choose to release my daughter’s taking care of herself from being the cause of my pain. Even though it can still trigger feelings of rejection I now recognize this as a signal to set healthy personal boundaries instead of controlling her behavior. Even today, I can honestly say every time I set a healthy personal boundary I still feel selfish, unsupportive and rejecting and yet through my practice, I find this doesn’t mean I am a selfish, rejecting unsupportive mom. It means I am having feelings and guess what? I am not my feelings, I am the beautiful powerful ocean experiencing waves of feelings as they come and go. With this recognition, I gently return to my true nature: FREEDOM.
One of the overriding aspects I’ve found to be true in parenting is how hard it is to be kind to ourselves when we’ve acted in a way that disturbs us. I know, when I became a mama I thought I was going to be easy going, playful and patient. Little did I know I was going to face the opposite of my fantasy. I found myself being rigid, serious and intolerant and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t break out of those feelings. I would wake up every morning determined to be easy going, playful and patient. Then by 10 am, I was yelling and demanding, which led to spending the next few hours washed in guilt. It was extremely painful and I couldn’t find a way out.