The Purejoy Parenting Blog
Inspiration For Your Parenting Journey
Happy New Year! We made it through 2021. Phew!
Who would have thought we’d be where we are after 2 years. My, my….sending so much love and support to you for riding the waves of parenting during this challenging time.
As a teenager, my daughter expressed her BIG feelings by telling me all the things I’d done wrong.
I’d either lash out or collapse into a sniveling ball.
Acting out or acting in were the two ways I behaved when taking things personally.
My daughter helplessly looked on and said, “Mom, stop taking things so personally” and of course, I yelled back saying, “But it is personal!”
One day that scene was playing out and as I heard myself saying “but it is personal” I witnessed her collapsing and giving up.
In that very moment I heard a voice inside that said “Leslie, it’s not all about you. She is trying to share her internal world with you.” When I took it personally I made it all about me.
The reason we find it challenging not to take things personally is that when our children lash out it feels personal because of the story we’ve told ourselves about us.
We tell ourselves stories about what it means when our children say things about us, or when they won’t listen to us. We beat ourselves up and believe something must be wrong with us to have such “bratty” kids. It is a story about US.
The funny thing is on the positive side we make it about us also. When our children share loving behaviors we tell ourselves a story about how lovable we are.
Stories are stories and even though they are entertaining at times they are rarely true! Believing everything is about us keeps us from establishing healthy boundaries and therefore being able to separate out what is about us and what is about our child.
Take time this week to notice when you take things personally. Notice if you are getting emotionally triggered- PAUSE and ask yourself what personal story is being activated?
Once you discover the story ask yourself “is that true?”
Our children are truly not out to get us- they are sharing their internal experience and how we perceive this is up to us.
Feelings are a part of everyday life for children. They have a wide range of feelings and emotions that they experience, from big feelings to small ones.
Have you ever noticed when they have BIG intense feelings they lash out at you?
I call this “throwing the emotional hot potato”.
How I see it is that when children experience intense emotions their little bodies are flooded with sensations they aren’t able to contain. Of course, they want to get rid of them so they look to the safest person they know, which is YOU, and they throw you the hot potato.
Now, since you have an adult regulatory system and have been SafeSeating, learning to contain those intense feelings instead of acting them out, you’ll be able to alchemize them before returning to the sender. You’ll show your child they aren’t dangerous and that it is OK to share them with the safe adult.
If you haven’t been practicing and therefore take your child’s lashing out personally, you’ll catch that ‘hot potato’ of feelings and most likely lash out at them just like they did with you.
When this happens you are returning the ‘hot potato’ to the sender and yet it now has your intensity magnified and hurling towards your child.
For years now, I’ve practiced my SafeSeat and I still have moments when a thrown ‘hot potato’ activates a 𝑏𝑖𝑔 feeling that I’m not able to contain.
It’s gonna happen so when it does head on over to your SafeSeat to offer the one in you, who acted out, some tender loving kindness.
She just forgot that she had a safe base to go to.
The more you do this, the more capacity you’ll build.
We came into the world helpless and totally dependent on our caregivers to attend to our young needs.
Each time we reached out our precious young arms we were met with either a tender loving smile and our vulnerable needs were met, or our caregiver turned away claiming we were too demanding and taught us to take care of ourselves before we were ready.
When our fragile young hearts felt the denial of our innocent needs we turned on ourselves naively seeing our precious desires as wrong or bad.
As the toxic shame entered our immature emotional body every time we felt a need arising we formed a sense of ourselves as somehow “not good enough” for we desperately needed those who we depended on to see us as “more than enough” just for being alive.
Little did we know our parents had been shamed for their unguarded desire and each time we held out our trusting arms we awakened a shame inside them which overtook their unbridled desire to meet us with unconditional love.
Now, it is our turn as parents to awaken to our true desire to be seen and to see our child’s desires as vital as the breath we breathe.
As we awaken our raw passionate desire to see a “better” world for our children we can finally STOP shaming ourselves and our children for extending their arms in the name of love.
We choose to open to their limitless dreams extending our hands offering to give what we can and support them to empower themselves to find the rest.
Let’s stop the SHAME once and for all!
The holiday season is now in full swing.
The decorations, the shopping, the family gatherings, and celebrations. It’s a wonderful time of year!
But it can also be stressful, especially visiting family.
Choosing to parent your children differently than how you were parented can be a stress point when going home for the holiday. I was well aware that it was much easier to consciously parent inside my own home. Traveling to see family triggered stress about how others would judge my parenting.
Even though I was excited to be with my family there was also tension inside as I witnessed my family’s discomfort over how I was parenting my daughter.
The number one support I offered myself was to take my SafeSeat along.
If you’ve been practicing your physical SafeSeat now it’s time to embody it inside.
The unconditional loving part of you, the SafeSeat, is always available during stressful times.
Remember, your family may feel threatened by your choice to parent in a more conscious way. If the gold standard in your home growing up was “good” behavior, of course, they may criticize and judge you for creating an environment for your children to express their internal experiences.
Parenting this way can cause a lot of discomfort in the adults who still believe children are responsible for their happiness and therefore should BEHAVE.
Looking to your family to acknowledge and support your parenting choice, when they believe different, takes a lot of energy. Defending, justifying, convincing, and begging come to mind.
I did all of them until I realized my family was the location of my doubt that I was doing it “right”.
I chose to own the part of me that was still questioning my choice.
Getting clear that your family doesn’t HAVE to acknowledge or support you gives you the freedom to support yourself and releases you from throwing your kids under the bus to fit in. You are choosing to parent this way and as an adult, you can own this choice.
Of course, when you go home you may emotionally regress (this is normal), and yet when feeling triggered remember you have a SafeSeat you can go to.
As you sit with those BIG feelings acknowledge and support yourself in trusting your way.
Offering this to yourself gives you the opportunity to turn towards your family and honestly say, “thank you for your advice and I’ve got this”.
Of course, we all want this and yet at the same time, we question ourselves about what this looks like. We have a strong desire to offer them unconditional love and an environment different than what we grew up in and yet at the same time question our parenting since it looks so different than how we were raised. Where does our humanness come into play?
Is it OK to be human as a parent? This was the question that I continually grappled with in my parenting. What does it actually mean to be HUMAN?
What I learned is that humanness encompasses all of who I am. The good and the bad, the happy and sad along with the support and the challenge I experienced in my parenting. Trying to parent from only the positive side led to a lot of resentment and pain. Recognizing that the true nature of humanness in this relative world includes both sides, opened the door to loving all that is.
Often, we find ourselves trying to be different than our parents and we swing way to the other side. This is part of being human and yet finding the center point in the middle engages unconditional love for all that arises.
Now, I’ve been “in the weeds” many times in my parenting, and yet the one thing that always brings me out is to remember “I am human”.
As we head into the holiday season take time to make room for the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, and everything in between. Being HUMAN is a thing of beauty when we stop judging what actually shows up in the moment.
Sending you BIG hugs and joy during the holiday season.
Do you ever hear yourself saying to your kids, “You need to…..” Maybe, it’s cleaning their room, or eating their vegetables….homework anyone?
Of course, you need your child to do what they are supposed to do, right?
And yet, when you refuse to take responsibility for it being your need, not your child’s you are giving them a mixed message. Inside, they are thinking “I don’t need to clean my room. It’s fine with me”.
The discomfort is yours not theirs and honestly, they aren’t causing your emotional discomfort by not cleaning their room. Your NEED is causing your discomfort and expecting your child to meet it with open loving arms.
In my experience that never happened.
The BIG question I learned to ask myself is “why do I need her to do something?”
Nine times out of ten there was a strong emotional component that ended up with me feeling rejected and abandoned if my daughter didn’t do what I needed her to do. I noticed I didn’t feel important or loved. ARG!
Now, this was a HUGE insight and not a pleasant one. I was attaching my daughter meeting my emotional need through “taking the recycling out” as an indicator of whether I was important.
That had to stop!
Once I separated out the emotional need I was attaching to the practical chores things deeply shifted inside. Instead of looking for evidence that “I didn’t matter” I stepped up to the plate to support my daughter in doing practical tasks that weren’t exactly her high value.
Complaining while still doing the practical task wasn’t a statement about ME. It was about her.
Slowly, as she developed more capacities we shared the household task, and if she struggled I supported her instead of shaming her!
Take time this week to ask yourself, “Are my emotions mixed up with practical tasks?”
If so, take to your SafeSeat offering yourself the emotional holding you need, and then come alongside your child as they grow into their greater capacities of enjoying the practical tasks.
Do you believe you know what is best for your child?
I know, I sure did.
The parenting paradigm most of us were exposed to carries this view. The limitation of this view is that we find ourselves projecting onto our children the experiences we had which parallel theirs.
If you were not included in a circle of friends and your child comes home and tells you about an experience they had that is similar it can trigger yours. Even though it may feel noble to protect them from the experience- remember, your child is having a different experience than you.
They have YOU by their side supporting them in knowing they are capable of riding the waves of feelings that surround certain difficult situations.
Of course, memories will arise for you, and yet turning inward, doing your work to offer yourself kindness, creates a healthy separation from your child’s experience. This gives you the capacity to honor the nature of life as it happens to show up with loving-kindness for your child.
Why would you want to take an experience away from your child knowing how all the amazing experiences, positive and negative, informed who you are today?
One of the main reasons I created Purejoy was to support folks not feeling so alone in their experience….not to protect them or fix them.
As a child, I felt so alone navigating my parent’s divorce and all I wished for was someone who could see me believe in me, and remind me that I had what it took inside to make it through the difficult transition I was going through. At the young age of 12, I took everything personally and somehow thought it was my fault, and if only I could change then maybe they would get back together.
Over the years I’ve practiced offering kindness to this “younger” part of myself. How it played out in my parenting was I took everything personally when my daughter struggled.
I thought it was my fault.
I struggled in supporting my daughter having her experience without taking responsibility for her pain. I continually engulfed her into my experience until I created the SafeSeat to turn inward meeting that “young” one inside me releasing her from the responsibility for others pain.
Slowly, building my adult capacity I took responsibility for my emotional well-being.
It took practice and a deep turning towards a greater truth that it was not all about me.
As a terrified 12 year old I came to the this conclusion thinking that if it was about me then maybe I could be more perfect insuring that my parents would stay together.
Updating this innocent conclusion gave me the capacity to healthily “grow” myself up, releasing my self-absorption I turned toward my daughter supporting her unique journey.
In conscious parenting, the message we often hear is “connect, connect, connect”. And yet, rarely do we hear about the importance of “healthy separation” in our relationships with our children.
Believing that “separation” is unhealthy leads to the engulfment of the child out of our need to ALWAYS connect. I took the messages to “heart” that my job was to ALWAYS seek connection with my daughter. At the beginning of our relationship, this felt great and yet over time, this turned into me projecting all my needs onto her and then attending to them. She was the location of the needy one and it felt both familiar and right to take care of her needs on-demand while rejecting mine. This was great for the first year or so since her needs were also prominent, and yet slowly this led to her expressing an intense rage which definitely created a necessary separation.
Unfortunately, I didn’t hear the true message which was “back off” mama, give me some space so I can know myself. What I heard was “I don’t love you” which triggered my feelings of rejection and abandonment. I’d organized my life to never feel these early vulnerable feelings so honestly, I was in the weeds and thought there was something inherently “wrong” with my daughter or me.
The deeper I tried to connect the more she pushed me away which I took VERY personally. I needed her to let me take over her being so I could feel mine. It was incredibly painful and led to my creation of the SafeSeat.
I turned toward the needy one in me who was desperately calling for support. As I separated out from needing my daughter to need me slowly we both found our ground coming back together in a healthy way including healthy separation and connection.
One of the signs this might be happening in your home is if your child behaves in a highly aggressive or angry way pushing you away when you offer what you perceive as loving help. If so, ask yourself: Am I positioning myself as the one who tells my child “what to do? When to do? How to do?” their life? Truthfully, look inside and if the answer is “yes” ask yourself how would that be for you?
Are you willing to move back into your lane making sure you are driving your car while coming alongside your beautiful child? Give it a shot and see what happens.
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.