One of the complaints I get from parents a lot is the behavior their kids express when they don't get what they want. Not only do they tell me of the tantrums in the grocery store but also the lashing out physically to the parent. Let me state right from the start, I am not a psychiatrist or behaviorist. I am however, another being that can get that this energy that is being expressed might not belong to your child. Weird huh?
And yet, when a child, or even an adult, is acting in such a way as to be out of themselves with rage, anger or fury, it is pretty clear that they are not being themselves. They have been distracted or influenced to be something or someone else in order to compensate for their disappointment, frustration or confusion. This reaction can be triggered by many things. It can be the way the parent or adult is reacting. It can reflect anger, frustration, rage and/or fury that other people have been and the child has felt these feelings and not realized that it isn't theirs. One thing that is for sure is that if you react to the behavior with anger, rage or fury, you will most likely not have done anything to empower the child to to know that they can choose something different. Usually they will have one of two options- which is pretty limited considering we live in a world of infinite possibilities- to agree with your reaction and stop and withdraw inward or to resist you and continue to have the fit. Neither option really works if we want to empower our kids.
So what is a parent to do? I have a question that has worked with other parents. Ask the child, "Who are you being right now?" This is said with complete calmness and curiosity as to who or what they are being. Kids will range their answers from a lion to the mad teacher at school or to someone else that they know. The key with this is to let them see that they are choosing to be someone or something else. It doesn't really matter who or what. Is there another possibility? Can they choose to be who they would like to be? What would they like to choose? This doesn't mean that they suddenly get happy. They may choose to remain to be a tiger, but in many instances you can then take this to a different level that allows the child to know that you are being in allowance of their choice to be a tiger, when you both know that your child is choosing to be someone or something else and they are not being themselves. With this allowance the energy of the anger, rage and fury begins to dissipate. You can follow up with some other empowering questions like: I wonder what else is possible that I have never even thought of before? I wonder how a tiger got into the shopping cart? Adding humor shifts energy when timed as the energy is leaving. How wonderful to know that we can laugh about our situations.
Who are you being is also a good question for adults to ask themselves when they are out of sorts or stuck in a place that seems hopeless. I wonder who you might be being sometimes and if you acknowledged that you weren't being you. Would you choose to be you instead?
Are You Caught in a Parent Trap? You are not alone.
As I reflect on my early parenting years, I didn't even realize the trap that I had set for myself through the role of parenting. I had no idea that in the process I would lose myself. I took on the responsibility of everyone's happiness in my family. And when things didn't go the happy way, whose fault was it? Yep- mine. The funny thing is that the more I tried to be the source of everyone's happiness, the more unhappy our family became. We encountered money problems, control issues, marital struggles, alcoholism, and so much more pain and suffering. What went wrong? Even in the midst of all of that I could not see how I had set my own trap. I certainly felt trapped. And what I didn't realize was I was the only one who could release the trap and set myself free until "tragedy" struck and it became a matter of life and death that I took the action to begin to set myself free.
Mary shares her desire to create different possibilities for families and individuals who are looking to live a more conscious and aware lifestyle. BE YOU Parenting is for parents who want to BE all that they truly BE and to allow their kids the same privilege.