Using this technique I stay present with my children and avoid anger and frustration.
Sometimes the smallest things are the things that push our buttons the most. Water on the floor. Food around the table. Throwing things around. Not wanting to leave/go/come. Emotional outbursts over things we can’t relate to. All these things that lead us to losing our tempers, raising our voices, and disconnecting from our children can be resolved with 1 question.
Well, not all, but 80% of these.
You see, expecting children to behave as adults, think as adults, and view the world as adults is not realistic. They can’t do it. It’s not that they don’t want to – they can’t.
Children Don’t Have:
- Perception of time
- The ability to maintain two different emotions
- The capacity to differentiate the present from the future
- The ability to process lengthy explanations
- The ability to respond to the emotions of another when their emotions are peaking
Children don’t misbehave. They act according to their feelings.
When a child wants chocolate, that’s the only desire that lives in him in that moment. He can’t access the knowledge that he already had some, can’t gain the understanding that he will have more tomorrow, and can’t understand you while you explain all this.
When a child wants to continue playing at the park, he wants to continue playing at the park. He can’t understand that you really need to go, he can’t grasp that he will play there again tomorrow, nor can he listen to you explaining all that.
Kids can’t access anything but their PRESENT emotions.
These are usually some of the situations where we, parents, lose it. We lose the patience, the compassion, and the connection, when in fact – these three components are crucial to gaining the cooperation we seek.
Kids, of all ages, are much smarter than we believe. They still remember the one thing that most adults have long gone forgotten – that connection is the strongest of all human motivations.
How I keep Myself Present at All Times
Whenever things don’t go exactly that way I planned and my child’s emotions peak, whenever I feel those “adult feelings” of anger and frustration getting the best of me, and coming between me and my child, I take a breath and ask myself this one question:
“How would little Viki feel in the same situation?”
With this question I am again fully connected to my inner child, and by virtue – to the child in front of me. I can feel his pain, disappointment, hope, and any other PRESENT feeling.
I am PRESENT. When I am present, I react to the present; I react with compassion and empathy, having nothing within me but my child’s feelings.
I’ll give you an example: if my little one is angry and disappointed when I don’t agree to buy something he wants, and begins expressing his deep frustration (at the store!), I don’t mind the people around me. I don’t mind the reason for which he wants whatever it is that he wants. In my thoughts I don’t use any adjectives to describe him, I don’t try to provide myself with reason to his behavior. All these, within me, serve nothing but my anger and have nothing to do with my child.
Instead, I look into my soul. I’m a child again. I want something and I’m super sad for not being able to have it, perhaps even mad. With that I come to him. I look at him through the pain that I feel. I understand him. I empathize with him. All I give him is the feeling of being seen, heard, and respected upon everything that lives in him.
As I don’t negate him, these feelings have nothing stopping them from calming down. Within minutes, sometimes seconds.
The Benefits of Staying Present
With this deep connection, tantrums are diffused in a heartbeat, cooperation is gained in the most positive way, and the connection between us strengthens. With this deep connection my little one trusts me to hear and feel him, to do everything I can to always better his present situation. He knows that I will always be there with him, without judgment or interpretation, this gives him the freedom to treat me, and others around him, in the exact same manner.
This one question – “how would little me feel in this situation?” – saved more parents than I can count from so many fights, so many power struggles, and so many tears.
If you want to know exactly how it works – come coach with me. Six sessions are all it takes to flip everything around and lead the family life you deserve – a family life of compassion, empathy, cooperation, connection, love, and joy.
You can also join my life and parenting support group on Facebook, I’d love to meet you 🙂
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