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When our child is tantruming, pushing back, having a difficult time,
It can be challenging for us to hold space for them in the moment
Because we have so many unshed tears ourselves.
Years and years of suppressed emotions that then get triggered when our child is going through something, an experience that we have not yet had the opportunity to work through or release ourselves.
So in the heat of the moment it can be difficult to untangle which emotions belong to us and which ones belong to our child.
And one perspective that a mentor offered me that has been extremely helpful is to treat tantrums like emotional throw up.
When your child is ill and needs to vomit, what do you do?
Find an appropriate, safe place for them to do that.
Then it is really their process, you are just there for support.
Maybe you are holding their body,
Saying things like, you are ok, I know this is uncomfortable. You will feel much better when you get all of that sickness out of your body.
Then when complete offering what is needed.
Then move on.
So if we could take the same stance when our child hits the floor and starts kicking and screaming, if we can have a healthy level of detachment and allow them their own process.
What Would That Look Like?
You are observing the space to make sure they are safe. Maybe put a pillow down where they might hit their head on a corner, move a favorite lamp a few feet away.
Again, you are just there for comfort and support.
I see you, I’m right here for you
I know it's uncomfortable
When complete, and it will complete!
Offer them something to clean up, then move on
But instead, what has been happening for generations, parents have been offered a plethora of strategies on how to shove their child’s emotions back down into their body.
Some Examples of This Are:
Invalidation - Oh there is no reason to cry right now your fine
Shame - Big boys don’t cry, you gonna be a big girl
Threats - If you don't’ stop right now you won’t get… we won’t go…
Isolate - If you are going to cry you take it to your room
There are also strategies that don’t feel so harsh but are still shoving the emotions down.
Distraction- Here have a cookie don’t cry
Placation- Don’t worry about that toy, I’ll get you something better
But what is happening when we do this is all of their feelings, all of their emotions get suppressed and pressed deep down into the body, and they will learn to control it.
If you tell them they are wrong when they express themselves they will learn to control it, to keep them in, and then they just start to brew.
They brew into all sorts of concoctions like fear, self doubt, limiting beliefs, insecurity, then eventually they really begin to harden into these trigger buttons.
And now as parents, these are the ones we think our child is intentionally pushing.
This is not an invitation for you to now go and blame your parents or grandparents for you button installations, I really just want to bring some awareness to what has been happening so we can raise the next generation to have confidence, clarity, help them to develop clear communication about what is going on for them, and help them have the ability to navigate these difficult feelings, these difficult times, move through them and out the other side.
That is going to build so much resilience for their life.
Because I don’t know about you but I am looking around and I see so many people that are so sad, depressed, anxious and fearful, because they are trying to navigate these suppressed emotions that all their life have been told are wrong to have.
And I am telling you right now, you are not wrong. You are not wrong. You are just feeling.
I invite you to just sit with what I am saying.
Meditate on the perspective and see what comes up. And if you feel inspired to share with me, please do.
My heart is with you.