If you know me at all you know I am a person of action. I like to make things better. I like to offer suggestions, solve problems and create change. And this action based problem solving personality is not always my best friend when it comes to parenting. Let me give you an example…
My son came home from school exhausted, with a good amount of homework and wanting to go to our gym to shoot baskets with his friends. I could see this was not in his best interest. He needed to focus on homework and get to bed early.
We had traveled the weekend before to a basketball tournament out of town and had gotten home very late. He was dragging with dark circles under his eyes. He asked a few times…”can we go to the gym, please!” After calmly explaining we would not be able to go, he had a massive meltdown. Epic meltdown! We all know what those look like.
Right away my heart started beating rapidly and my body felt uncomfortable! AND I wanted to make this go AWAY! Like right now!
I admit I was tired from the traveling as well and trying to get a few things done like laundry and dinner. I had the thought “this is not what I had in mind for the afternoon”. Followed by anger, disappointment and fatigue.
My mind wanted me to jump into problem solving mode. We can do this it said! We can make this go away!
How I asked? My mind TEMPTED me to offer my son a distraction in the form of a milkshake. We have to go out anyway so go ahead and offer to stop at his fav place and get him a shake! I calmly said to my mind-we aren’t going to do that. I am not going to soothe him with food.
Then my mind TEMPTED me to offer my son an alternative in the form of telling him we can go to gym tomorrow. I calmly said to my mind-we aren’t going to do that. I don’t know for sure that we will go tomorrow.
Then my mind TEMPTED me to offer my son a threat in the form of a punishment-If you don’t stop this right now we may not be able to go to future basketball tournaments. I calmly said to my mind-we aren’t going to do that. I am not going to punish him for his feelings and attempt to squash them.
I just decided in the blink of an eye to hold the space for him to feel his anger, fatigue, disappointment and confusion.
Here is what I DIDN’T do-
I decided NOT to give into MY MINDS’ TEMPTATION!
I didn’t give him a lecture about his behavior
I didn’t expect him to get happy
I didn’t get more mad at him when he asked me if we could go to gym again and again; I simply lovingly said we weren’t going today
Here is what I DID do-
I just held the space. And said very little
I had empathy for me & how hard this is.
I had empathy for him-he is upset and he probably doesn’t even know why. He is angry and tired. He is 12.
I let us go thru our afternoon at our own pace and
I learned that my work in that moment was to not to give into the TEMPTATION, to problem solve, or distract or threaten. It was just to hold a loving space for us both. I gave myself empathy and told myself this is hard and it will pass.
Empathy, holding space for ourselves and our kids, and letting everyone feel their feelings are at the heart of Peaceful Parenting.
Want to know more? Want to increase your empathy and learn more about how letting everyone feel their feelings leads to peace in the home? Schedule a complimentary session with me HERE