Example: My daughter had some friends over for a sleep-over and she was being very controlling about turning the light off, the music they played and who slept where. Her need to control, is a trigger for me and I began to try and get her to stop. I moved out of a “loving” state into a judgmental, critical state and then I wanted to control her. My tone turned stern and I told her to turn the light off and let the other girls choose the music. She resisted and sent me an angry stare, which just pushed me into telling her that if she wanted to have friends over, she had to let them have a turn also. This was all done, from my state of fear, which says to me that she won’t have any friends if she keeps treating them this way. So, I defended and justified my actions in the name of “caring”.

I went upstairs and a few minutes later she asked me to come down. She looked at me with a sad face and asks if she could come upstairs and sleep. I’m was about to say “no” when I took a deep breath and said, ” if you want to you can come up.” . She raced upstairs and hunkered down in the bed.

As I opened my heart and moved into a more loving state, I was able to move toward her and put my arm around her. As she took a breath, she started telling me how she had felt left out in the play with the girls. She tried to find her way but couldn’t and moved into a fear state.

She talked about going downstairs and messing up the game they were playing. She didn’t like them at that point and just wanted them to leave. In my loving state, I listened and told her I could see she was angry and also sad. I just laid there with her as she expressed her desire to lash out and not be friends with the girls. I told her that I was glad she knew to come to a safe place to be comforted and I was sorry that I hadn’t been a safe space for her earlier. She just laid there and let me hold her until she fell asleep. The next morning she arose, marched down stairs and continued the play with her friends with no hard feelings.

What I didn’t do was: Tell her she needed to be nicer. Try to get her to understand them. Use logic to explain why they did what they did. Teach her how to be with friends. (All of these came to my mind and yet I let my heart lead the way) I saw, heard and validated her.