Let’s continue exploring the ideas of conscious parenting.
Today, I’m inviting you to become aware of how you’ve operated in your most recent experiences with your children. (Note: If you don’t have children, you can easily apply this to ANY relationship in your life.)
First, remember a recent time where you struggled in some way with your kid. What most of us do when we think about our conflicts is to focus on what our children did wrong and how to stop them from doing it again. Instead, I’m asking you to look at yourself as a co-creator of the experience. Just for a moment, let’s focus on you.
Before you resist, I’m not suggesting our children don’t make mistakes! I know for certain that kids are not perfect. Stay with me! Just for a minute, we’re taking a break from dissecting our children’s behavior to investigate our own.
As you look back at the conflict, ask yourself: What was my inner state before the interaction? Was I stressed or rushed? Was I tired or busy with something else? What was going on within me?
How did I react to the situation? Did I become angry? Impatient? Fearful? Did I yell? Threaten? Storm out? How did my energy and my reaction CONTRIBUTE to the conflict as a whole? Did my actions contribute to a sense of connection or disconnection to my child?
Now, let’s look at a positive experience. Stop and think about a recent time you felt connected to your child – a time you really felt full of love and appreciation for him/her.
Let’s look more closely at what created that experience. What were you doing? Was it a moment of playfulness or silliness? Was a sweet moment of snuggling and sharing? Was it a time of adventure or excitement?
What did YOU bring to that experience? Were you distracted or present? Were you stressed or relaxed? What was your emotional state? Can you remember what else led you to that moment?
These moments of connection are our parenting sweet spots. These are the moments that we crave as parents and it’s where we feel the most JOY. While having this connection with our kids is important for our own emotional wellbeing as parents, it’s even more important to our children. They need the feeling of love and connection more than anything else. This is true whether they’re toddlers or teens. An added bonus is that when they feel connected, kids tend to behave better!
So, the question becomes, how do we get from conflict to connection? How can we co-create more good moments and fewer challenging ones?
It would be easy (again) to focus on our kids and how they need to act. Instead, we’re asked to keep the focus on ourselves. If you look back at the difference between YOUR inner state in times of connection vs. times of conflict, what’s the difference? What do YOU need to get into a good inner state? What’s essential for your well-being? What has to happen for you to be able to regulate your own emotions?
I’ll dive more into this topic in my next newsletter. In the meantime, see if you can get curious and become more aware of yourself when you’re with your kids (or the other people in your life).
Love and light,