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.