living with children in peace, joy and freedom

Posts tagged ‘Dissolving problems’

How can I help with my child’s problems?

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“Exude the state of being that you want your child to end up with and they will find their way to that.” Bentinho Massaro.

Being genuinely helpful to my children when they have problems is something that brings joy into my life. I want to give help that is calm, supportive and that increases my child’s confidence in their own ability to help themselves. This did not come naturally for me, at least not to the extent that I would have liked. It was a skill that required a lot of practice as well as a lot of unlearning of old, unhelpful habits. For example, I often fell into the trap of trying to fix a problem when my help was not requested. My child would react to my intrusion and I would become part of the problem. When my help was requested I often assumed that I knew best and waded in with advice or instructions. My advice was occasionally helpful in the short-term but it also got in the way of my child’s emerging ability to help themselves. There were also many times when my child’s expression of feelings triggered painful feelings in me. I would unwittingly join them in their suffering rather than remain peaceful and fully available to help. It was challenge for me to find a way to relate to my children in a respectful and non-reactive way.

Being genuinely helpful required a shift in my perception of my children’s behaviour and their expression of emotion. I came to realize that what I had been judging as tantrums, rude or aggressive words and unacceptable behaviour were actually cries for help. Young children often have difficulty in expressing their problems in a way that parents can easily understand. They may not have the skills to clearly express what they want or what is causing them distress. Their calls for help are sometimes communicated through intense emotional expression such as crying or screaming, in aggressive behaviour or even in hate-fuelled outbursts. Parents often find these expressions of distress challenging or unacceptable. I certainly found myself challenged in this way.

Out of these challenges emerged the skill of Listening in Presence. This is the skill of listening calmly and respectfully to my child without reacting to or getting hooked into their problem. I have the intention to give my child my attention and at the same time I have an awareness of what the situation is triggering within me. This isn’t as difficult as it may sound, but it does take some practice. The intention and awareness that come with this skill can transform something as ordinary as the application of a Band-Aid into a special moment. (more…)

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I grow what I choose to give attention to

WHAT YOU RESIST WILL PERSIST

 

What you resist will persist. This has been such an important lesson for me to learn. It is so easy to resist things about our children, to not accept them as they are. How many times have I wanted to change something about my child? Somehow the problems came to dominate my thinking.

Unfortunately, focusing on what I wished would change did not seem to help. This is because you grow what you give attention to. What shows up in our lives is a direct reflection of our inner thoughts and emotions. If we devote our minds to what we don’t want we end up noticing it everywhere. We go through life collecting evidence to back up what we believe. If we believe that there is something wrong that is what we will see. We block out the evidence that supports a more positive view. We simply don’t see it.

This means that if we resist something about our children it will persist. We give it the energy of our attention and we unintentionally grow it rather than getting it to go away. Throwing all our energy into fixing something about our child may end up making it worse.

To reverse this process I practice the simple exercise of choosing to focus on the opposite of what I don’t want. I ignore the problem and collect the evidence for the other side; for what is going well and is acceptable. (more…)

Finding deep peace in parenting

I received the most extraordinary gifts when my children were born. These two people that entered my life have beamed out love, beauty and aliveness every day of their lives. They brought such delight into my life. And yet, living with and caring for them also challenged me to an extent that I was totally unprepared for. I was challenged so profoundly that it completely transformed my life. I have experienced liberation through parenting. Yes, I know that sounds weird, but bear with me.

When I my first child was born I was blissfully unaware of the challenges that lay ahead. I had not reflected on what parenting would be like and I had no adult experience with young children. I hadn’t considered anything beyond giving birth and having some baby clothes and nappies on hand. In truth, no amount of thought or preparation would have really helped me prepare for parenting. From the moment my first son was born I was making it up as I went along.

The journey begins

As my journey into parenting began I discovered that lurking in my mind was a large bundle of beliefs about children and parenting. They were stashed away in my unconscious mind, just waiting to pop up when the moment was right. They were formed out of my own childhood experiences as well as scraps of information that I had absorbed from my friends, extended family and the cultural soup in which I was stewing every day. I didn’t realize it, but I had already picked up a job description. In the early years of my son’s life many of these thoughts brought stress into my life. (more…)

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