In one of my recent Peaceful Parenting Academy course classes, I shared a story about the son of a client who kept asking for shoes. He had eight pairs of shoes in his wardrobe, and he kept asking for shoes.
They would be in the store, and he would beg his mom to get him more shoes, different shoes, all kinds of shoes!
This mama was SO triggered by this. In her head, she called him a spoilt brat and was so embarrassed that she had raised a kid that seemed to her to be so spoilt.
She complained to him that he should stop asking for shoes.
And he STILL kept asking for them.
No matter what she says, he’ll still probably ask for shoes 108 more times, and then some!
As parents, we often do this. We expect our kids to be way more mature than they actually are.
We expect a 9-year-old to be so much more mature than a 7-year-old, yet in terms of brain development, there’s not a whole load of difference.
The thing is, it wasn’t the SHOES that were what he really needed or wanted. There was something more going on for him.
I encouraged this beautiful mama to drill down and find out what was going on for him.
In that moment when he was asking for another pair of shoes, what was REALLY going on for him?
That’s what I call going under the behavior to get to the feelings and needs. I think that when she explores this further with him, she’ll find there is more going on than a love of shoes.
Also in working together she discovered that she was so triggered because she didn’t have eight pairs of shoes growing up. Things were financially tight for her family was her son’s age. What happened and what can be true for us as kids has the potential to trigger us when we are parenting.
We think: I never had those things. I never complained. Why should he/she?!
Parents, I’m telling you this story at this time of year because it’s gift-giving time.
When your kid writes a letter to Santa, they are writing to someone who has the magical possibility of giving them EVERYTHING that they want. He’s magical after all.
They are not thinking, ‘I better not ask for that as it might trigger my mom or dad as they never got what they wanted for a gift.’
This doesn’t mean you have to run out and buy them everything they want. It doesn’t mean you have to spend over your budget.
But, it does mean that you can choose to notice that sometimes when they want things or ask for things that you find it triggering.
You can then CHOOSE how you want to react.
You can choose not to label them as ‘bad’ for just wanting what they want.
You can also dig in to try and find out what their true feelings and needs are. For example, wanting
a pair of shoes might be all about feeling cool, wanting to fit in, or getting attention or feeling provided for…
You’ll only find that out if you’re willing not to label your child for wanting things.
It’s OK not to shut down desire. Wanting things does not make a kid bad, wrong or spoiled.
Oh, and you get to want what you want too! What would that be? What would make this a wonderful feel-good holiday season for you?