Yesterday’s post said, “True learning is about self-discovery. It teaches a child that there are consequences to the choices you make in life. True learning also reveals to a child how to access their courage and self-restraint.”
Reacting contaminates true learning, and contains a hidden parenting secret.
When parents react, they hope that their reacting will have a magical outcome.
Parents hope that yelling, threatening, shaming, and punishing will cause their child to obey. However, 9 times out of 10, reacting simply fans the flames of a power struggle.
In order to disengage from a potential power struggle, you need to Stop, Breathe, and Look at as many of the details about you and about your child as you can, before deciding that a reaction is the way to go.
Mary, mom of 3, wanted to know why she kept reacting, yelling and punishing even though she hated being treated that way as a child.
As a child, Mary was accused of being sassy and disrespectful. When she acted that way, her mom would yell at her, shame her, and threaten her with punishment if she kept behaving that way. Mary didn’t feel heard as a child, and was upset by the things her parents said to her when they were yelling.
Now Mary has kids of her own. Her middle child is just as sassy as she was as a tween. And Mary screams at her, just like her mom screamed at her.
Mary has begun to see the correlation between the pain she felt, when corrected as a child, and the pain she’s causing her daughter.
Mary remembered that her sassiness was her way of trying to dominate her parents and stop them from yelling at her.
Mary realizes that the same deep unconscious need to stop the yelling and arguing rises up each time her daughter is sassy to her.
Using a mindful way of correcting behavior has taught Mary how to remain connected to her daughter, even when the big emotions show up, instead of being affected by the internal anxiety from her childhood wound.
Being mindful also created a roadmap of sorts that both Mary and her tween can rely on, which makes them both feel calmer and more willing to listen to each other, so they can work together to solve the issues they’re facing.
Look back at your childhood to see where your childhood wounds end, and your child’s needs begins.
Be bold, and ask yourself the big Dr. Shefali question, “Are you parenting from your childhood wound or addressing your child’s true needs?”
We’ll talk more next week.
Now, go hug your kids!