Today I went to a twin group, and at the end my son held onto a toy he hadn't finished playing with. Because they were packing away the two ladies prized it off him in a way that suggested "we're in charge." He got very upset and I took him off to cuddle him, getting looks along the way like "aren't you going to tell him off" as he screamed "leave me alone poo head". I understand their motivation and thoughts, people don't know there is another way to treat children. And to be honest I was struggling with my inner demons to not react to his anger.
Up until the last six or so months I didn't know I could be a different way with him because I strayed from the natural parenting path. But punishments aren't respectful. An adult wouldn't get treated like that? Imagine being at a restaurant savouring your desert, and a waiter takes it away because everyone else is finished and he doesn't want to wait? Wouldn't you be annoyed! Wouldn't you have a little tantrum (in our own adult way) and say "hey bring me back my desert!". Then imagine getting arrested for being upset? Can you imagine the frustration, the injustice?
But if children get upset, then society says we're meant to punish them and control them for fear they won't learn self control.
Children heal by expressing their emotions, however uncomfortable it feels for us as parents. I used to try and distract the boy in my life, because I found it too painful to see him crying or see his anger as I could not express my own as a child. Even as an adult I cannot cry. Now I see that children know exactly what they need to do to heal any pains. In your loving company they can cry, scream, frustrate and then it's all gone. They are happy again and it is all forgotten! What a gift they have, why did I try to take that away because of my own issues?
Children flourish with parents who have self control and can love unconditionally, that is my aim after all. For the children who share my life to grow up experiencing unconditional love.
Whilst I know this, I personally, have very little self control and find it very hard not to loose my cool. It's all I know. I never felt loved unconditionally (even though I was undoubtably loved by my parents) and I never had safety in my emotions. This must be true for most people who are parented in the traditional way - but for me it was magnified by my innate sensitivity.
I have to remind myself to empathise - how would I feel in this situation, how would I react, how would I like to be treated? I forgot more than I remembered at first and at one stage I seriously considered getting a reminder tattooed on my hand!
The more I practice the easier it gets, but I have longer to go on this journey. May be the growth I require will be life long, but I am committed.
This week's listen: This week I am listening to Naomi Aldort's Trusting Our Children, Trusting Ourselves 7 cd set. This is a immensely valuable resource for me. So far my husband has wriggled out of reading parenting books, and the podcasts CDs - but he heard a bit of this and asked me to put it on an MP3 player for him. Something clicked for him and I'm excited at how this could change our family life. I have been reading Naomi's books, articles and listening to her podcasts and CDs for some time and this CD collection really helped me with the issues I need to work on to be a better mother. Thank you!