When your child doesn’t listen, won’t get in the car seat when you ask nicely, or won’t get ready to leave the house what happens inside you? Does it feel like an emotional threat? Do you feel anger? Most parents express how frustrated they are especially since their children should KNOW what to do.
Let’s dive a little deeper. Anger is a secondary emotion that protects the more vulnerable feelings hiding underneath. When your child doesn’t do what you asked them to do often feelings of powerlessness, helpless and even rejection rise to the surface.
If you’ve spent most of your adult years organizing your life not to feel those feelings you will take your child’s behavior as a personal threat. How dare they get through the fierce protection you have around your tender heart. NO one is supposed to get in there without your permission. And yet, they do and you find yourself overwhelmed and feeling about 3 years old.
Now, think about this. What if it didn’t matter what you think or what you feel in that moment? YIKES! Of course, you have identified that you ARE your thoughts and feelings so when your children innocently bump up against those stories and feelings you find yourself struggling to take control.
What if you just feel what you feel and think what you think and yet don’t come to any conclusions about your child? Impossible? Actually, it is quite possible when you bring your attention to the present moment. When you are emotionally triggered by your child’s behavior you are digging up the past and bringing it into the present. When the feelings are really intense instead of staying with them you then project them into the future.
What if in the moment you relaxed and entered the intimacy of the moment? Just show up for what is without any conclusion about you or your child? Now, this is a practice, and remember you’ve practiced judging and projecting into the future for a long time.
So, offer yourself patience as you commit to entering the moment, giving up your story of the past or future. Drop into that BIG heart of yours watching your child through the lens of love. Of course, they are young and need a LOT of reminders and yet once you surrender taking it personally it is a joy to come alongside them in their self-discovery of who they are.
Then you can turn towards your child asking them about what support they need instead of asking them to support your comfort by being the child you want them to be.