Last week’s blog was about a deep recognition that how you were parented has a profound effect on how you parent. It’s that part of becoming a parent where you swore you’ll never be like your parents. Then, caught in a summer afternoon struggle over time spent on screens, you hear your mom’s words coming out of your mouth!
And YET, you swore that would NEVER happen!
Or maybe you put your parents on the pedestal, and you wish you could be just like them in your own parenting, and yet day after day you fall short, you’ll never be as good a mom as your mother was to you. You’re so stuck…
So then, as we do here in Purejoy, we said- ok, slowing way down, now softening towards the precious one in you who came to certain conclusions, that also pop up unconsciously when you see your kiddo scrolling through the phone. Did you find any early conclusions?
Because that’s what this work we do here in Purejoy is largely about- your internal experience in parenting, where those conclusions live- and some of it is quite hidden in the fabric of your being, from when you were young. This week the Purejoy coaches in training are studying the Shadow and that is very much what healthy boundary setting begins to unfurl, are all these pieces so hidden in your depths, that are driving the ship of your parenting.
So while we have this all spread out- this one moment of your parenting, let’s look at another aspect of healthy boundary setting- taking things personally.
Do you do this? I know I sure do! We all do at times, especially when it comes to our child’s behavior.
Remember your child is having an internal experience, just like you, and then projecting that experience into the external environment. They are in their experience, thinking what they think, feeling what they feel- and sometimes that comes out in ways that aren’t’ so beautiful, yeah? They don’t have the rational thinking part of their brain developed that supports them to consider what they are feeling and choose their behavior (adult capacity, emotional maturity
What happens- is that children, as desire-driven beings, are curiously seeking life. As parents we come along, see their vulnerability and our enculturation, and determine that we know what’s best for them, and start awarding certain behaviors, and thwarting others. Their energy gets misdirected, repressed, confused- and eventually, it can’t be kept under pressure or control, and the energy of their desires will come out!
It’s just too much for a kiddo so they express it out- it comes out all messy and sideways. It comes out intense and it’s easy to focus on the behavior. But remember from last week the power of your attention, your energy, where do you want to put it in that moment- on the behavior? Give it all that juicy parental empowerment? Or on the heart of your child that is full of feeling?
This is a benefit of slowing it down- we even say when we teach the SafeSeat course- take a PARENTING PAUSE!
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” — Viktor E. Frankl, a neurologist, psychologist, and Holocaust survivor.
And it’s SO HARD! This is so hard, in our culture- for me, for you, for everyone because the gold standard for kids is good behavior.
Let’s take a look at the example we’ve been using the last few weeks about my daughter asking for a snack after dinner and I get overwhelmed- because I JUST sat down… if I stop and check in with myself (even for just a moment)
In that moment- the rise of frustration in my experience- I notice the voices inside of me start to get loud with early conclusions and old voices, I notice my body getting tight and a heat rising in my center.
I have a moment to set a healthy internal boundary.
If I take it personally- I will treat myself with contempt. I will fall back on those early conclusions and pressures of old voices that are not mine, and I will choose something emotionally manipulative to get out of the intensity of the moment. I can get her to change so that I don’t actually have to be intimate with my own internal experience.
If I choose healthy internal boundaries- I will put my hand on my heart, and speak to both the one in me who is worried about getting this wrong, someone being unhappy with her, and feeling so rejected in the moment- and I will also speak to my girl who just asked for a snack. We both need something right now- you would like a snack and I sat down to relax. I treat myself with kindness- and meet the energy in me and her, not making any of our expressions or behaviors wrong or bad, but simply we both have a desire here, and how can we work to get our needs met.
When I do this, when the boundary is about how I treat myself, I put my attention inside of me, and ground my energy down into my body, I am present for both of us now.
Then I can turn my attention to my girl with the facts, it’s very practical. She might have feelings about my offering, of course- but from this place I can see, hear and understand those feelings, with her, I can be alongside her in my presence and support her with what I have to offer.
My encouragement for you is to sit with these pieces we have been working on- about how to set healthy boundaries, and commit to practicing some new boundaries, on the inside, about how you treat yourself.
Keep me posted!