"You may become flooded by feelings such as fear, sadness or rage. These intense emotions can lead you to have a knee-jerk reaction instead of thoughtful responses. When emotional reactions replace mindfulness, you're on the low road and it is very unlikely that you will be able to maintain nurturing communication and connection with your child." -- Dan Siegel
You know what the high road is. When you’re feeling really good, nothing fazes you. You respond to your child’s foibles with patience, understanding, and a sense of humor.
You know what the low road is, too. It’s when you’re stressed, exhausted, resentful. When you insist on being right or wringing an apology out of your child. When your fuse is so short that you feel justified in having your own little tantrum. When you're in the grip of fight or flight emotions and your child looks like the enemy. READ POST
"Dr Laura....I only found Aha! Parenting a month ago. Already things have improved so much with my kids and I no longer act like a crazy person when I get frustrated with them. But I keep wondering if I have messed my children up forever...."
"Understanding alone cannot prevent disrupted connections from occurring. Some will inevitably happen. The challenge we all share is to embrace our humanity with humor and patience so that we can in turn relate to our children with openness and kindness. To continually chastise ourselves for our "errors" with our children keeps us involved in our own emotional issues and out of relationship with our children.." -- Daniel J. Siegel
Have you made mistakes as a parent? Join the club. The bad news is that you're human, like all parents. So we all fall short. READ POST
stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom
and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and
freedom." -- Victor Frankl
"Where there is great love, there are always miracles." – Willa Cather
I know, you never actually stop loving your child, even when she acts like a monster and you can't stand being with her another minute. But unfortunately, the love you feel isn't the most important factor in your child's emotional development. READ POST
"Try to see your child
as a seed that came in a packet without a label. Your job is to
provide the right environment and nutrients and to pull the weeds. You
can’t decide what kind of flower you’ll get or in which season it will
bloom." - Anonymous
Unconditional love isn't just what we feel. It's what the object of our love feels: love without strings attached. That means our child doesn't have to be, or do, anything in particular to earn our love. We love her exactly as she is. READ POST
"What can you do if the people in your life, in particular family, continue to inflict wounds although you keep forgiving? Isn't it better to keep them at arms length ?" - Ruby
“Healing comes when we meet our wounded places with compassion." -- Stephen Levine
Last week, Step 4 in our series Ten Steps to Unconditional Love was Are You Drinking Rat Poison? The Secret of Forgiveness Many readers thought I was saying that forgiveness means you make up with anyone who has hurt you and give them access to your heart again. NOT. You don't want people in your life who inflict wounds. Arms length? Toss them out of your life altogether! READ POST
"Families are definitely the training ground for forgiveness. At some point you forgive the people in your family for being stuck together in all this weirdness, and when you can do that, you can learn to forgive anyone... Not forgiving someone is like drinking rat poison and expecting the rats to die.” -- Anne Lamott
When your child pushes your buttons, you automatically move into "fight or flight." It's hard to love unconditionally. Of course, your child might need you to set a clear, kind limit, but you'll do that better if you aren't seeing him as the enemy while you're doing it.
Often, we think it's our child's fault that he's pushing our buttons. But do you ever wonder when those buttons were built into your psyche? That's right -- during your own childhood. Those are your buttons, and life will keep pushing them until you heal them.
It's hard to love unconditionally when part of our heart is closed off behind the bars of anger or resentment. If you want to liberate your heart to access all the love there, you have to heal your old wounds. READ POST
"About 3 days a month I wake up feeling excited about life, and all my responses to my kids are better. But the other days, I just can't amp it up to be as playful and patient as I want to be."
"Want to feel as playful and vibrant as your children? Want to feel an abundance of energy? Want to experience greater clarity in all you do? Want to wake up jazzed about the day ahead? Imagine taking care of yourself in all the marvelous ways you take care of others. It makes sense that, if you shifted self-care onto the top of your priority list, you would feel more rested, more centered, more present to your loved ones, more joyful..." -- Womans Field Guide
Most of us find that when we can stay connected to our internal fountain of well-being, it overflows onto our children and we're more patient, loving, joyful parents. To love our children unconditionally, we need to keep our own pitchers full, so we can keep pouring as needed. Quite simply, we can only give what we have inside. And even if parenting is the most meaningful part of your life, it still requires a whole lot of giving.
And yet, most of us live in constant stress, which means we're often running on empty. Many days we wake up wishing life could be different. Small wonder we lose patience with our children. And then we feel even worse.
Sadly, remorse and and self-blame after we lose patience doesn't change anything. Actually, it makes things worse, because it's hard to act like a loving, happy person when you're feeling like a bad person.
What if, instead, you could find a way to stay in a positive state more often? You can. Not all the time, of course -- into every life some rain must fall. But most of us can find a way to be more positive more often. It starts with finding ways to nurture and nourish ourselves, so we can stay more centered.
But if you're like most parents, that's not so easy. The secret is radical self-care. What do I mean by radical? I mean not just tending to yourself after everyone else's needs are met. I mean actually moving self-care high up on your priority list. I mean overwhelming yourself with love and appreciation. Because that's the only way you can be the happy, patient, unconditionally loving parent your child deserves. (And because you deserve it!) Wouldn't that be a radical act? READ POST