There is a difference between feeling judged & feeling understood & our children are incredibly sensitive to the two.
Let’s face it, when we are in conflict with our child, we are 100% in judgement of what they are saying or doing. Our condemnation of their behaviour triggers a negative reaction & soon we’re fully engaged in an outright battle!
Conversely, when our child’s behaviour is pleasing it arises great pride in us & we feel connected, but did you ever consider that praise is just sugar coated judgement?
Yup! Praise is every bit as much a judgement as condemnation is & they both come from a false sense of superiority.…. Ouch! … I know, that one just hit a nerve didn’t it?
Let me add a little more salt to that wound … that superiority is called our Ego! And, though we’d like to defend our humility as a parent, the Ego enters into most of our interactions with our children, sadly creating much disconnection & conflict.
You may recall from my last newsletter, there is no “good” or “bad”, “right” or “wrong” therefore, our judgement is irrelevant.
Judgement is simply a belief projected onto another to defend our point of view. It’s a rabbit hole that lures us. It’s so seductive, we all get sucked in, but it’s so dangerous because the same part of us that judges another also judges ourselves.
This harsh critic, judge or prosecutor, locks us up & throws away the key. The cell we are confined to leaves no room for mistakes, difference of opinions, or the possibility of having an experience far greater than anything we could have imagined based on our limited history.
It’s counterintuitive I know but, if we shift our outlook to that of a curious detective or reporter, staying neutral, with no judgement of praise or condemnation, we free ourselves.
As we open our hearts to the possibility that our child can be different than our narrow judgement of them, a deep bond will form naturally. We will uncover their true self, seeing them fairly without our own biases interfering.
In short, when you are in judgement of your child (or anyone) you will never be able to see them, hear them & truly understand them for who it is they are & they will feel the difference.
How would it feel if there were no barrier of belief between you & your child?
Who would you discover your child is?
What kind of a judge are you, a kind & loving one, or a cruel & unforgiving tyrant?
One of the ways I set myself free from anxiety & needless suffering in my life was when I fully
understood the concept that there is no “good” or “bad.”
If you immediately feel resistance to this statement, repeat it & sit with it a few minutes longer. I’m sure you will find relief in embracing this practice too.
It’s human nature to like feeling “good” & avoid feeling “bad.” However we also reinforce the idea, that most things in life are “good” or “bad”, in our kids from a young age & did you know that it can be at the root of a lot of anxiety for them?
If something was neither good nor bad how would you feel about it? It would be hard to feel much about it, right?
When we assign a positive meaning to something, we perceive it as “good.” If we assign a negative meaning to it, we now perceive it as “bad” but in actuality, the event or thing doesn't change, it’s just our meaning of it! …. Life changing, I know!
See the event itself is simply neutral. By seeing anything for the neutrality that it is, we can learn to under-react, controlling our anxious feelings & healing the split created at a young age, when we learned that something was good or bad. Essentially we need to “unlearn” what we perceive to be truth or reality in order to release new, less anxious, feelings in our body.
This can be difficult with our kids, you might argue, because obviously there are somethings that will harm them & others that could benefit them.
Adding a positive or negative connotation to the things we experience in life creates a false sense of superiority or condemnation. Praise is just as much of a judgement as criticism, it’s just disguised in a softer package, but either way we unknowingly create a split within our child.
If I’m “good”, I’ll be liked, happy, successful & accepted so, if I’m “bad” I will be unliked, unhappy, unworthy & rejected; a human beings worst fear! This is the beginning of the even bigger division of “them” & “us” that we are seeing played out today.
If you insist on looking for what's “good” or “bad,” I assure you that you will find it! When you see things in the neutrality in which they actually exist, you will feel more empowered, safe & in control knowing that, no matter the outcome, your are able to cope knowing it is neither good nor bad, it just IS, now life becomes so much more enjoyable &, dare I say even, peaceful.
Good or bad? Who’s to say? Try it out this week & see if it makes a difference in every area of your life!
We’ve all been cooped up together for weeks, experiencing a very long summer, & with that we’ve all had to adapt to & accommodate all kinds of change & loss so, needless to say, the energy in some homes is getting a wee bit testy!
Part of the discomfort for parents is the heavy burden of feeling like we need to have all the answers for our kids, we need to fill their days on top of ours & we need to know what will happen next so they can be prepared.
I want to offer you some relief, that’s NOT YOUR JOB! There is not one person on earth who has the answer to everything, & our righteousness in assuming we should is, frankly, annoying!
It’s so alluring to share everything we do know because it makes us feel so good, we are ‘needed’, we are in control & powerful. After all, we’ve been told that “knowledge is power”. So parents take the liberty of bestowing all that power upon our powerless child any chance we get.
This is one of our biggest mistakes as parents. We “think we know” way too much! What we perceive to be ‘helpful’ quickly turns into a lecture, sermonizing all that we have learned in our 40 some years in some kind of teachable moment. Our children soon tune us out, roll their eyes, sigh, or storm off.
While we critique our child for being disrespectful, rude or out of control; of all the ways they could try to silence us, this is actually quite a highly sophisticated way of communicating.
If your child wasn’t terrified of losing their life line what they’d want to tell you is “SHUT UP”! (Perhaps with the addition of a few other choice words in there.)
It is not our job to have the answers & if we intend to preserve our relationships in the weeks to come, we will have to let go of this idea that we must.
Our only job is to make our child FEEL seen, heard, validated & prepared for the next level of life, so that they grow up confident in their abilities & with a healthy self-esteem intact.
How would you interact differently with your child if you didn’t have to ‘know’. If you didn’t have to be right, have an answer or fix their problem, without the “should’s & supposed too’s” expected of you as a parent?
Would you be stressed, anxious, rigid, tired & frustrated? Or might you be more relaxed, calm, co-operative, open & curious? Who would you rather be around?
It takes great courage for our children to speak & it’s our responsibility to meet their courage with the wisdom to listen. As the saying goes, we were given one mouth & two ears to listen twice as much as we talk. Listening is not only a form of communication, it’s the only way to form authentic connection with our child.