They feel so overwhelming at times. For us as parents and for our kiddos. So much love and joy it feels as if happiness could explode out of us. And at other times, emotions can be really uncomfortable. Reminding you of your own pain and sensitivities. From childhood and beyond, our unresolved issues became a part of who we are – unconsciously burdening ourselves with habits and reactions. I like to call this our emotional cloud. Heavy.
Our children can be the innocent victims of our unconscious emotional clouds.
This cloud has negative effects. When someone makes us feel shameful, we visit our cloud and remember (usually unconsciously) all the other times we were made to feel this way and never dealt with it. This can cause extreme reactions. Are these extreme reactions because of the current situation? No. The reaction is extreme because all our previous feelings are brought to the surface. Our children can sometimes be the innocent victims of our unconscious emotional clouds. When your child makes you feel disrespected – do you want to grab ahold of all the other times in your life someone made you feel that way, roll it into a ball and throw it at him? Goodness no….
So how do we break the cycle?
First we have to take care of ourselves – become self aware, grow up and heal our own wounds. Shrink that cloud! When you find yourself reacting negatively to a specific type of behavior more than once – examine it. Go to your memory bank and see if you can find the source of the original pain. Forgive them, forgive yourself. It might take more than that and that’s OK. At least you SEE what’s happening.
Secondly, we have to be the positive guides in our children’s lives. When we don’t allow our children to express how they are feeling, their own emotional cloud starts to form. We have to be there for them, help them deal with their emotions instead of shutting them down. It doesn’t matter if you think their reaction to not getting a cookie seems unwarranted and exaggerated. What matters is that they feel heard. Hear them out. You understand why they are mad or sad, you empathize, you make eye contact and offer hugs. And when the time is right (when the left logical brain and right emotional brain are fully integrated), you can offer explanations as to why this is not a good time to eat a cookie. Let them feel then release their pain so that moment doesn’t end up in their emotional cloud, only to re-emerge in the future.
Last but not least – the easy part.
The part where this becomes easy for you…you feel calm more often than not…you don’t react from an unconsciousness place. You don’t even notice the things that used to set your temper on fire. Your kids are happier, YOU are happier. You are love. You are FREE!
A.C.T. (Action Changes Things):
The next time your child does something that angers or stresses you – don’t react.
Just sit there with yourself, close your eyes and breathe.
Now take yourself out of the situation.
Grab your feelings and throw away what you don’t need – the ones that have nothing to do with your child. Then go to him and calmly address the situation.
I know what you’re thinking. Not react? It is SO HARD.
Those few seconds will feel like a BILLION. Try it anyway.
It might take some time, but I promise it gets easier and things become clearer.
What do you think?
Have you already tried this?
If not, will you?
I’m curious – share your stories. I’d love to hear.