This weekend, I remembered the importance of understanding my mindset, when one of my twins seemed to be "picking" on his twin and his little brother all morning long. Now, if you're like me, you know that when mamma is trying her best to clean up after breakfast, and make her own meal, a child who is (seemingly) hell bent on irritating his brothers is something that is infuriating. Within the course of 30 minutes, I stopped, Mr. I like to make noises to piss you off and run around the house screaming strange noises at you because I think it's hysterical, from doing these things to the others about 3 times.
Now, my initial feeling was irritation. I was annoyed that I had to stop him from pestering his siblings so many times, then something within me told me, "Dude, you know this kid. You know that when he is upset he does things like this as a way to release what he's feeling." With this realization, I set out to understand him and connect the behavior with the reason, give it a voice, and release it (because that really is what they need). With this, I remembered that that morning, he told his dad - after he specifically asked dad for scrambled eggs - that he didn't want scrambled eggs and he decided that he didn't like them, and that he wasn't going to eat them. This of course, made his dad angry, and dad reacted by telling him that he was too picky, hurting my son's feelings - I saw it in his face. Once this hit me, the behavior made sense - he was holding onto the hurt feeling.
You see, children (much like us adults) when annoyed or irritated, sometimes can't help but react in the ways that they feel, and with this, I set out to give his feelings a voice in order to release the feeling. I asked him if he was upset over the happenings of the morning, and he said yes. I explained to him that taking his feelings (that he was not completely conscious of) out on his brothers was not ok, and that it was ok for him to be angry and upset over the morning. I offered him ways to release (screaming, crying hugging - he's a big hugger) and after he was done feeling it, it was over. Just like that. Like it never happened.
So. Why do I tell you this? Well, because this realization is a result of understanding my mindset. Had I continued in the "normal" mindset that says, this child is doing this on purpose to make everyone nuts, or he's just a pain in the ass, and likes to see others upset, or anything else like this, I can promise you that the rest of that day would've looked completely different. I had to learn how to get myself out of the mindset that my children were trying to drive me crazy. It's not easy, but it is possible.
AND I'll tell you another thing, before I learned how to change my mindset regarding parenting, my kids and their behavior, NOTHING changed. The truth is that methods, tricks and punishments are a bandaid. All they do is cover the problems, but they don't resolve the issue if the issues are still seen with the same mindset. In order to get the results that you want with your kids, you have to start with your mindset, beliefs and stories, and go from there. I could've easily punished my son for irritating his brothers, but that would've lead to more hurt feelings, because he was not understood, heard or helped - and more behavioral stuff towards his brothers (which he, BTW apologized for AND shared his easter candy as a display of brotherly love *swoon right*) would've happened - but it did not. Everything starts with our mindset. What we think we see, and we see colors our world.
So the key is to understand your mindset and what you're contributing -to stop looking at your child's behavior and start understanding the emotion, because behavior is a communication. Look for the need in the communication instead, and always start there: the behavior is ALWAYS a communication.
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We've all been there; bubbling temper, boiling blood, and the feeling like you're going to explode. You're trying to keep it in, logic tells you that there is a reason for this, only emotion overrides logic and it spills over. Before you know it, you're yelling or screaming and saying things that normally you would not say - but right at that moment, there is no logic. Out the window it goes, and you're furious. You can't see straight, let alone think straight - and then 'Oh', once the moment has passed, you wake up and think, "this is not the parent that I want to be." I know. You want to be calm, happy and light. You want to flow effortlessly from one moment to another but you don't know how...
I know what it's like. I've been there. Don't be fooled by the fact that I rarely lose it. I KNOW what it's like. I have felt the boiling blood, the rage and the anger...but no more. Today, I'm going to share with you just how you can help yourself through these moments - without losing your $#!+, because the reality is, that these moments offer us more learning than a lot of happy moments can - and it all starts with what you do with it.
So. What's up with all that anger? I'll tell you. Anger is simply hurt or sadness that needs a voice! Simple, right? Nope. Because sometimes we become so lost to our needs and feelings, that we don't even know where to start to pick apart the stories that we have going on. So, the first thing to do is to start tracing that anger and giving it a voice - and no, I don't mean yell and scream until there are people listening to you - I mean admit. Admit that you are angry. Say it. Proclaim it. Shut those voices that told you that it's wrong to be angry. SAY IT. I am angry.
Next, without blame or hurt take responsibility for your anger, 'I am angry because .......happened, examples:
I am angry that I have to clean up the spilled milk off of the floor NOT I am angry because you spilled milk on the floor (this involves blame and projects the anger).
I am angry because I don't like to repeat myself NOT I'm angry because you never listen (this involves control issues, the beginning of a lot of anger).
The importance to doing this is that one, you start to take responsibility for your feelings, and two, you begin to trace their origins - and the more you begin to accept your feelings and the more honest you are with them (over time) the easier it will be to begin to start figuring out the underlying reasons for them.
The next thing that I suggest is to find a ground - way before you become angry - so that during that split second between feeling angry and reaction, you can keep from lashing out in anger. It will give you a space and a moment away from the reaction. A ground can be anything that feels comfortable to you: a baby picture, a crystal, a card, anything. I remember, when I was going through the process of learning how to stop myself before reacting, I used to bite the inside of my cheeks (I swear - no joke). Now I keep crystals in my pockets (I like tigers eye and rose quartz), and when I start to feel triggered, I hold them in my hand and feel them: I can feel their energy and they give me a second to pause and think. Figure out something that works for you (I've even heard of people using rubber bands around their wrists to ground them).
Often I walk away. Walk away, unless your child is in harm's way, or is harming a sibling, it is fine to walk away. Walk away until you've regained yourself, and come back and deal with the situation - once you're more level headed. In instance that there are children fighting, remember to stay neutral, don't pick sides because it creates favoritism in their mind - your role is to help them get their feelings out, not blame...and if they are in harm's way, and the only way to stop them from doing something dangerous is to yell - well, then. It would be silly not to yell to stop them. The explanation of what happened will come after they are safe.
Once I feel calmer, I like to do ask my kids why they've done the action that triggers a reaction, and I LISTEN. Why? Because when I understand, I am less likely to be upset. I can begin to empathize with my child instead. If they are not old enough to tell you, them talk to them instead about YOUR feelings - without blame or guilt. This will do two things: first, it will start teaching them early how to express their feelings ( as the grow by giving them a vocabulary to express their feelings) and two, it will help remind you that you are talking to someone who has not fully grasped the more involved things in life - and as you explain, you will feel better and understand more (but I must make it clear, that even though they can not talk, it does NOT mean that they don't understand).
After you've learned how to get a better handle on your feelings and reactions, then you can start following the hurt, sadness or story that you are holding onto, and begin to heal and look for connection instead - after all, it's what we all want: and even when you do loose it (because we're human, and it happens, it won't be as intense - you'll be able to understand where it's coming from with greater ease, apologize, and move-on, immediately working on the issue that you're feeling - rather than mustering in it, and allowing it to take over).
"Your child can be your greatest teacher, or your greatest lesson."
~ Violet Moon
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Every few months, I go through a huge change: in the form of the reminder to listen more intently - and I don't mean listen to the words of what my children are telling me, I mean listen to everything. As most of you are probably aware by this point, I am an energy interpreter - ha! fancy word for empath (that I just made up, thank you very much), and I use this skill to listen to everything, even the ugly parts that pop up, and I have been getting many messages to go within, and to allow myself to go deeper and to listen with my being.
If you don't already know, we've moved. We moved from the city to the beautiful mountains (this is a pic from my front porch :D)...
and being surrounded by all of natural beauty has opened up my senses and allowed me to connect with the deeper parts of myself that hadn't been healed yet - and I opened up, and allowed myself to listen: and when I listened, I transformed.
When we first moved here, the first thing that I noticed was that there were a lot of crows. They would sit outside of my window, fly all over our yard, and property: the first thing that I did was look up the symbolism here, and instinctively understood that they were telling me to go within - to pay attention to the secrets that I was holding within me. To not be afraid and become curious - to go deep...pretty crazy huh? It's my first few weeks here, and I'm already beginning to get messages to be aware and pay attention - something seemed to be on the horizon, waiting to be explored...I believe that when we are ready, or open to receive, the messages, signs, and events that we need, will be presented - it's all about listening, baby.
Pretty quickly after moving in, I found myself, in a place that I recognized. I was starting to feel stuck, and alone. My hubby works from 10 to 6, with a 1.5 hr commute...needless to say, I am hanging out with my kids all day, from sun up to sun down...this reality reminded me of when our twins were first born: during this time I felt alone, lonely, and sad, and during this time, is when I went through some of the hardest periods of my life. Being alone with 4 kids under 4, was a life changing experience, full of many emotions and many many trials and tests. I learned during this time HOW to create who it is that I wanted to be, and no be, through errors and renewals...so when these feelings started to come up a few months ago, I was shocked. Shocked because I though that I'd made peace with this phase. I thought that there was nothing left to explore, but I was wrong.
I realized that I was starting to become angry more often than not. I was starting to feel alone and I was starting to feel like if I had no one in my corner. When these feelings started to come up, I took it as my sign that there was something to figure out. So, as the crow symbolism, kept popping up to remind me, I went within, because the truth is that I don't want to get stuck in the world that I knew back then (what I always refer to as the 4 under 4 stage), a world of anger, rage, sadness, and depression. A world that led me into lashing out on my kids. Into the woman who, back then, was always angry and combative; always yelling, and never light. I turned into a woman and mommy who wanted to escape all of the time. The woman who woke up with the world on her shoulders, and treated those closes to her, like if it was their fault...knowing that that is no longer me, and that I didn't want to become that person, I took the cue to listen.
I took the time to quiet myself, and sit with my feelings, and emotions: because the truth of the matter is, that no matter what we think at the moment, the feelings are never what they appear to be (as I speak about in my video for the Regaining Harmony Series). In order to stop the behaviors that I no longer want to continue, or patterns that I want to stop recreating, the ONLY place to start looking at, is within. Deeply...and explore my emotional secrets, just as my friend the crow reminded me.
It was time to once again, do the work and to figure it out. So I sat with the feelings that came up, in full honesty. I felt my body, and gave it what it needed. I was honest with my kids, and told them when mommy was sad or grumpy, rather than lash out at them, when I was feeling something, and they came with their typical childhood demands. I reminded myself, with love that what I was feeling was momentary, and also that it was part of a puzzle that I was picking apart...and then one day, I figured it out - after my poor hubby took the brunt of my mad raving, about me needing quiet time...yup, it happens.
After I had my quiet time, and I understood that that was not what I needed, I realized that the long hours of him being gone, and running errands on the weekends - making him barely available - were leaving me feeling abandoned - something which is a huge (hidden 'till now) emotional trigger. I understood that I was feeling as if he was leaving me never to return...yes, I know that this is not true, but my feelings were still very real. After all of these years, I've finally come to understand that the story that I'd been telling myself, is that I am being abandoned, during these long periods of time.
This understanding, allowing myself to sit with it, figure out where it comes from, being honest with it, and having the courage to follow it, has finally set me free, of the triggered emotions, and their reactions - after all of these years. Once I sat with it, allowed it, and moved through it, I felt the cloud lift.
So, what does this have to do with anything, you say? I'll tell you. Sometimes, when we commit ourselves to listening, really listening to our needs, we become surprised by the treasures that we find. The normal route that this takes is: feeling popping up, not understanding feeling and not sitting with it, trigger, not understanding, and then reacting; but when I allowed myself to feel and to sit with those feelings, and took personal responsibility, I released them without becoming the screaming, yelling, blaming momster that I was back then. More often than not, when we find ourselves in a disagreeable place (emotionally), our first reactions are to repeat patterns, that during times of calm, are not reactions that we would typically have - and this is why I believe that when most parents are having a hard time, the first place to look is within, and try to figure out what needs are not being met, so that they can once again fill their cup and in turn fill their children's cups, and begin a ripple effect that will create the changes that they want in their homes.
It may seem like spiritual mumbo jumbo to some, or like the secret key to others, but the truth is that whatever we are living through is true to us, and when we commit to change, and looking for a better and more connected way to parent, anything and nothing can be a lesson to help us get through the rough moments. Do you want to learn more? Go here, to schedule a FREE call with me. You might be surprised, with what you learn.
For a VERY long time, when people would stop me and ask me things like, "how do you do it with so many kids?" I could never come up with an answer. My response was always something like 'you know, when you gotta do it, you do it.' or something like, 'oh you know one day at a time' - and although this is true, I realized recently, that what these moms were looking for was help - only, at the time, I didn't know how to answer them, because to be honest with you, I am not a method parent: meaning, I don't use methods, or parenting tricks to control my kids, or get my kids to do what I want: and although they are all great kids (Really. They are :D) the secret to my parenting success comes from the simple fact that I've always understood the essence of WHO my kids are, and respect them in this way.
When I learned to remember who my children are, deep inside (their core, the essence of their being) and learned to treat them each as the special individual spirit that they are - out of respect for this individuality - our worlds started to change. For instance, one of my twins is very sensitive to loud sounds - (always, even when I was pregnant with him) - he is not a loud person by nature, and he has always had a very relaxed personality: he doesn't react well to loud music, loud sounds, or over stimulating circumstances. When I learned to remember these things about him our relationship started to change. Yes. The "normal" reaction to behavior like this, when not looking at the individual child is to say, "You're the parent. He lives in your house. He should adapt to what you want, etc." (all things that I've heard before), but the reality of the situation is that this is who he is. It's how he came into the world, and because I know that this is part of his being, and I respect this about him, the reactions that bring disconnect, don't happen, because I respect who he is.
When I learned to see this and understood that this is part of who he is (he and the other things about my other children), it changed our lives changed dramatically and created harmony. At the end of the day, our children are human beings with their own individual desires, feelings and spirit, and when we learn to remember this, and to honor them, the journey is not as hard as is always seems: and we - the parent - learn a thing or two about how to understand and relate to our children.
To connect to their energy now, I leave you with three questions:
Think about these three questions, and start to tune into their essence, and don't be afraid to do some digging. Understanding their spirit and their individual traits, will help you connect, and help you figure out ways to help them deal with big feelings (both yours and theirs).
Do you want to learn more about your child's energy and the essence of who they are: and how this can help you parent with more connection? Schedule a call with me here, to learn about my various services.