Parenting is the most explosive relationship of all human relationships. The reason is simple – the mix of everything that we give, and the expectation of receiving, because, well… Isn’t a good relationship based on the balance of giving and receiving?
Here’s the thing, though, since parenting is a one-sided relationship for quite a few years, we tend to get sucked into the lack of “receiving” the way we expect to receive, and we start to experience hurt, a lot of hurts.
This is where the magical cycle begins; when we are in the state of mind of “hurt,” we will experience more pain. Our incredible human brain is designed to give us exactly what we expect.
Here’s what happened to me last night:
By the time the kids got home, I was already hurting. I got myself all worked up, watching the videos, seeing how much fun they have without me, and longing to be there with them… I was the one to get myself into the cycle, and I used Lia’s words to prove to me that I was indeed missing, and “there you go, Viki, you see? she doesn’t even want to talk to me” and yada yada yada.
Alternatively, here’s what could have happened if I had caught myself in time and owned my feelings:
- Hearing and seeing Lia’s first reaction to me and connecting it to my own, I’d feel empathy.
- Then I could say, “ugh it sounds like you’re really mad at me; is it because I wasn’t at the party with you”?
- She would have said yes, I would have shared how I felt exactly the same, and we would reconnect.
But I went to the bathroom and cried, leaving me and her alone again, maintaining the cycle instead of breaking it.
And you know what? This is okay, too. Because we won’t be able to catch ourselves 100% of the time, always own our feelings, understand their source, and choose the “mature” and balanced reaction.
We’re human beings – that’s why we have feelings.
But when we enter the state of mind of empathy, acceptance, forgiveness, and connection, these will be short cycles, and we’ll emerge stronger and more connected.
Children give differently than adults, and as a parent, you learn to receive differently. So when Lia woke up at 2 AM and wanted me only, I found love there, a desire to connect, and these are the feelings I came with, and since love is what I wanted to find – love is what I received.
Fearless, Guiltless, Shameless: Parenting Beyond Coercion will cost you less than a sandwich, and it will change your life.