TRUE REFLECTION 2
2. When we lose it with our children, we rage.
Naturally we need time and space to calm down, wanting them to acknowledge how much they hurt us. Then, when they rage, we tell them to 'stop and start behaving immediately’. We shame their behaviour and dismiss their emotions. When they try to leave, needing space away from us, we tell them to stay and apologise on the spot. Do we apologise for our rage to them? Do we say “I am sorry for losing it. I flipped, I am sorry for what followed’? Do we allow them to invalidate our emotions and how much they hurt us?
If we are to become better at parenting, we need to allow our children’s emotional rage to cease without forcing anything on them. There is no such thing as over-reacting. Do you remember the last time someone has said to you that you ‘over-reacted‘? Our emotions are in DIRECT proportion to our upset. Although situation seems insignificant to us adults, our children’s behaviour is always proportionate to their inner pain.
REMEDY: Dedicate a place in the house for a smaller child where you allow them to ‘cool down’. Older children need to be allowed to leave and come back to discuss what happened when they feel calmer.
You teach your children it is OK to be emotional, instead of emotionally repressing. Expressing their emotions appropriately, they aren’t diverting their rage innards, nor outwards. In time they learn emotional regulation, without being scared to show their emotions. They learn that anything can be brought up for discussion and resolved, instead of being it swept under the carpet.
3. We are very authoritative, always ‘right’. Often our demands are non-negotiable, wanting our children to obey whenever we feel very strongly about something. Then, when our children feel very strongly about something, we tell them to ‘zit it’, teaching them that their opinions, wants and needs have no real value. Our children then learn to ‘control’ situations through manipulation and by pleasing others. By making our children 'wrong' repeatedly, they develop low self-esteem. And only whey they can be 'right' they feel WORTHY.
REMEDY: Create space for your child to voice his/her opinion. Discuss and explain. S/he might have a point which you may need to consider. This teaches healthy confidence and sense of worth. Our needs are equally as important as our child’s, which teaches our children value and respect for themselves, and others. Having true authority, we are seen as the confident leaders with solid rules which don't fluctuate with our mood swings.
If there is no immediate solution to a situation we can say: 'I don't know the answer right now, but we will work it out together.' Your child will learn patience and develop a sense of responsibiliy.
4. How fast are we to point out our child has made a mistake? Why are we reluctant to accept when we made one?
We feel as though we would lose control, like our authority is at stake, or as thought we would FAIL at parenting all together. We effectively say ‘Others can treat you bad without the need for an apology.’ And because they develop no respect for themselves, they end up having no respect for us either.
By allowing ourselves to appear ‘weak’ we teach them it is OK to fail. They learn to admit their mistake, as only then they can move in a direction of growth due to its correction. An apology isn't a tool of shame serving them to feel bad, but rather as a tool for developing genuine concern for the feelings of another, developing empathy.
We teach them that mistakes happen, and that they don’t define them. They need to know that they are not the actions they decided to take in the moment.
REMEDY: If you flip, start a conversation with an APOLOGY. Imagine yourself in your child's shoes and forget for a moment what you know. Allow your child to express their view without disrespecting yourself and them!
Your child is your mirror. Always. Their behaviour can serve us as a tool for self-reflection. We have a unique opportunity to heal ourselves, our wounded Inner Child, THROUGH our children.
There is no better parenting than conscious parenting. We have nothing to lose by becoming present to how we 'behave', because only then can our children truly learn from us.
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Copyright © 2016 Michaela Patel