One of the biggest challenges any parent faces is when a child does something we deem as unacceptable behaviour and the dreaded term “disapline” comes up.
Ugh, makes me shudder to think of it.
I’ve beaten around the punishment road a bit in my 8 years of being a parent. I’ve timed out, taken away, even spanked (gasped) in my low moments. What I’ve learnt, it doesn’t work and I’ll tell you why. It doesn’t feel good. It always feels Off and it always comes from a place of some super imposed feeling of doing what you think someone else would expect you to do. You know the voice, the one that demands your child acts a certain way to get along in society.
No matter what sometimes our kids do stuff that drive us crazy, however this is more than a simple case of “do what I tell you to, or else.” As a spiritual parent, we have to look at it wholly and give our kids a bit of understanding.
When our children do something… let’s use hitting for an example, it’s so easy to flip out, loose our cool and ream them, so they understand what they did was WRONG, that they were BAD. They need to act a certain way, and quite honestly that way is the way we tell them, right?
Um… well… hate to say it… but no.
For a moment, look at the situation from your kids perspective. Remember when you were a kid? Wasn’t it rare for you to intentionally and pre-meditatively go and hit someone?
Chances are, most of the time it’s a situation of a child feeling a little disconnected, things not going quite right, and him not keeping up to himself entirely, then Law of Attraction kicks in, he’s feeling a little more frustrated, than irritated, Life’s really pulling on him as he struggles for a better feeling place. Frustration builds, energy builds, someone comes along and just is like sand under his skin, more frustration, more irritation… than lash out. The other kid is suddenly crying and running to tell you what your kid did to him… Law of attraction still is building on your kid’s sense of disconnection. Then he’s in trouble, punished and his connection seems further and further away. Very rarely will a punishment ever help him find connection again. Personally, I can’t think of any instances.
There’s also the perspective of the parent. Are we asking our children to act a certain way in order to make ourselves feel better? When you break it down like that, does that mean that we actually try to make our children follow our voice rather than their own in order to follow the rules we instil?
It’s such a complicated issue. I know in my own day to day, things happen so fast between children, my knee jerk reaction is always to fix it fast, and instinctually fix it even against their will. It is so hard for me to pull back from that speed of light reaction and take a moment to focus on something else for 30 seconds, get grounded, feel better and work with our children from that perspective. I don’t know why I find it so hard though. After all, unless I feel better, getting into at least a hopeful state, rather than frustration or anger, unless I feel better, I don’t have the right words to say to them anyway, nothing hits home, and honestly, it usually seems they could have sorted it out without me.
Connection is where it is at. Not only for us as parents, but passing on these tools to our children too. We as parents have one job, feel good in order to be an example of someone who doesn’t react, but acts. If we have any other job it’s to pass on tools to our children to stay connected. To help them find themselves in those moments of frustration, before it escalates to hurting people. To help them find their way back to connection, even when they feel they’ve gone too far. There’s no point dwelling on what a child did, shouldn’t we dwell on better feeling options, what to do next time and how they feel now that it’s done?
Sure, I’m still trying to figure this one out. I clean our daughters’ room, just because I don’t want to throw myself out of a good feeling space and MAKE them do it. However, it feels good, SO GOOD, when they come and help, or do a few jobs without asking. Sometimes, I ask them to pick up stuff before they play. Bribery seems to work to keep us all jiving! But still, I have my melt downs sometimes. It’s my time of disconnection. I guess really in those times I can be an example of someone who tries to get back to connection as fast as possible.