When our children are experiencing intense emotional states they can often trigger us and before we know it our anchor of calm and connection has been ripped out of the ocean. When this happens we begin riding the same intense wave as our child and in our panic look to them to help us. We try our hardest to get them to STOP expressing their intense feelings through punishment, consequencing and control and yet they are in the middle of an intense wave and can’t be the anchor we need in that moment. They need our anchor to hold strong so they can experience the wave and know that it is just a feeling and if they ride it they will come out the other side. If we hold our strong anchor of love and support they will even learn to ride the waves with joy, for surfing can be fun when you know how.
Think about a time when your child was able to ride a HUGE wave of feeling and you didn’t get triggered. I know when my daughter has, she comes out the other side with a smile on her face and says, “ok, let’s go play!” I’ve learned that when I get triggered, I have to make the commitment to ride my own wave and show her I know how to ride my intense feelings without lashing out. It takes my internal commitment to take responsibility for the intense feelings I have that come up in relation to some of my daughter’s behaviors. I let her know, she is not responsible for my anger and she can’t fix it. It is my place to sit with myself, learning to ride my intense wave. When I’m able to, I have a smile on my face, for feelings can be very powerful and learning to ride them instead of control them, believe it or not, can be fun.