“Our children shine a light on all our broken places. It’s up to us to accept the challenge to heal ourselves.” – Sarah Rosensweet
When I work with parents who are trying to stop yelling or lashing out at their kids, we look closely at their ‘triggers’ — the thing that sets off our parental tantrums.
I’ve learned a couple of things about when we ‘lose it.’
When we dig deep, it’s not because of our child’s behaviour. It’s about our feelings about or reactions to their behaviour.
Maybe you’ve asked your child to come to the table as dinner is ready. They’re still playing and totally ignoring you. This happens on the regular and you are tired of it.
You KNOW you should probably get their attention in a more effective way, or find a way to engage them with fun or connection. But in that moment– you are so tired of not being listened to that you can’t think.
You march over and pick them up a little too roughly. Or you yell. Either way, they’re scared and they hustle.
With a little digging, you might realize that when you were a child you often didn’t feel heard. Maybe you had a big family. Or maybe your parents were trying their best but they were distracted or otherwise unable to meet your needs. You often felt ignored.
When you are ignored NOW, it feels like an emergency because it is reactivating the despair you felt as a child when you were ignored.
Or maybe if you ever dared to ignore your parents, it would have meant big trouble for you. You might have gotten yelled at or even hit.
When you are ignored NOW, it feels like an emergency because on an unconscious level the small child in you knows that ignoring a parent is dangerous.
Either way, being ignored is a trigger for you.
All of our triggers are different because our lives and our experiences and our stories are all different.
Some of us are triggered when our children appear ungrateful or when siblings fight.
Some of us aren’t bothered by any of that but are triggered by being called mean or told, “I hate you!”
The variety of our lived experiences are why the trigger is our reaction to our child’s behaviour rather than the behaviour itself.
What does it touch on inside of you? What broken place is our child’s behaviour shining a light on?
The key to being a peaceful parent is to figure out what these broken places are. Like it or not, our children will show us. It is up to us if we choose to actively try to heal them.
Sarah Rosensweet is a certified peaceful parenting coach, speaker, and educator. She lives in Toronto with her husband and three big kids (ages 15, 18, and 21). Peaceful parenting is a non-punitive, connection-based approach that uses firm limits with lots of empathy. Sarah works one-on-one virtually with parents all over the world to help them go from frustrated and overwhelmed to, “We’ve got this!”
Read more at: www.sarahrosensweet.com