Just the basic tenant of “crying” being a good thing, and upsets as a pathway to remedy psychological hurts is enough to throw any of us into pure skepticism. Couple that with cutting out punishments and rejecting rewards and the approach does not have a fighting chance with those of us who were raised with conventional parenting.
I believe there is freedom in speaking our truth about our challenging parenting experiences—almost a liberation. Making these moments part of the narrative is essential for our generation to move forward in a better way. Why? Two reasons. First, we mustn’t let others believe they are alone in their struggles. Every parent out there has days they feel defeated and alone.
This is the most common question I receive from parents, and it's extremely frustrating when I encounter this issue with my daughters. Defiance is the kind of thing that will bring you to your knees. It’s debilitating, embarrassing and mind-boggling all at the same time.
2. Use empathy, even when you think you can’t...it’s you're saving grace. If we can see things from our child’s point of view, even when you may not agree or feel that they “need” to be upset…they are having feelings and all feelings are valid and important. Conveying the idea that we understand will garner much goodwill with our children.
There is much talk about teaching our kids to self-regulate, use impulse control and learn to react calmly to adversity. This is all well and good but merely talking about it and wanting it to happen certainly doesn't ensure that our children will move through adverse situations with ease because we merely want them to.
I naturally gravitate toward peace and tranquility, so my first reaction when I hear something unsettling from my girls is to say STOP and squash any negative feelings and upsets.
The fighting between my girls is what brought me to my knees as a parent. The pinching, pushing and hitting left me feeling devastated. Some days the sweetness between them was the most beautiful thing I had ever witnessed, and on other days, I would go to bed crying.
Sometimes I just can’t be empathetic to my kids. In fact I find their meltdowns and upset beyond annoying. All I want to say to them is; “You have got to be kidding me. I don’t have time to listen to your feelings. I am busy. Mommy has things to do!” It is in those moments where I can’t find the empathy; it’s buried in a world of me, me, me!