So many behaviors are a mystery, especially with our kids. It often seems like they were born a certain way with interesting idiosyncrasies. Most of the time their idiosyncrasies are cute and we don’t worry too much about them. Sometimes they’re annoying. And sometimes they’re worrisome and have an impact on our relationship.
Parenting doesn’t stop the day our children turn 18 (or 19 or 20), but is a gradual process of moving in closer for support, then moving farther away to go back out into the world. And it’s a good reminder that we are all inter-dependent beings, that we all need each other, and we need to strive to remember that when we’re parenting our children as they grow.
I must confess that when I started September 2010 with a focus on taking good care of myself, I was secretly hoping that the month would good. Fun, even. Sure, I’d have days that were challenging for me, but going at a slower pace and nurturing myself would really help to off-set the yuck I’d encountered in past Septembers. I know that I’ve really needed to nurture myself and I was hoping that if I would just take the time to acknowledge what this month is really like for me, all would be swell.
My story is about the incredible power of Story Healing and how my family was able to get through a really tough time with the help of this knowledge. I am forever grateful that I was able to help my daughter (and all of us) to heal emotionally from her difficult experience specifically because of the support I received from Rebecca to do this work.
Realizing that early experiences do matter can often be upsetting to new parents. It’s so easy to accept blame whether we had control of the circumstances or not. But take heart, for this is not a “doomed” situation! Healing Stories is a tool that offers so much hope to families because those experiences don’t have to have a lasting negative effect.
At one time or another, we’ll all probably experience something big in our lives, whether it is a hurricane, another natural disaster, or something else that wasn’t expected. We don’t have to wait until our children show signs of distress to try to help them. There’s so much we can do as things are happening and immediately after to lessen the impact of those experiences.
When you have little ones, there is a lot of talk about how “it’s just a phase” and “this too shall pass,” whether it’s about picky eating, tantrums, or some other behavior deemed inappropriate in our society. While it is true that many of those behaviors do pass with time, I definitely wasn’t expecting to still witness full toddler-style tantrums with my child at 8 years old.
Everywhere we look nowadays, children are being diagnosed and labeled with disorders based on their behavior, with acronyms being placed near their names. “Johnny has ADD, that’s why he can’t sit still.” “Sherry has RAD and that’s why she can’t attach to us.” “Vinny is on the (autism) spectrum.” But how does it help to label our children?
May you find deep healing for yourself through the challenges of your life, rather than in spite of them. The gifts will rise out of the ashes of your old life, your old worldview, and you will find a new and deeper wholeness. Just know it is there for you to claim after the flames have subsided.
It isn’t a miracle cure. It isn’t a quick fix. For most families, it would take about 3 weeks to see a big change in the sleep patterns from using the story telling ideas we’re presenting. Interestingly, it is about the same amount of time that it takes using cry-it-out to change a sleep pattern without the negative consequences to the brain and the relationship.
Beata, 2 ½, had always been a restless sleeper. It was a challenge to get her to sleep each night, and once asleep she would burrow herself into the side of one of her parents. She woke up screaming inconsolably from her naps each day and many times at night, as well. Sleep training was something that her parents decided they did not want to do, but Scott and Beth were tired. More than that, they knew that Beata was probably not getting a good night’s sleep, either.
It seems that sleep-deprived parents are given two choices: cry- it-out or just wait until they outgrow it. But is there another way? Was my son’s lack of sleep more than just an inconvenience? Was he trying to communicate something to me through his night waking?
In addition to learning how to show love, knowing a person’s love language is also extremely helpful to keep from hurting them. We have taken to calling this, the opposite of your love language, your “Hurt Language” (or “Hate Language” as my son likes to say, since he thinks that describes it better). Basically, if you criticize a person whose love language is Words of Affirmation, reject physical contact from a person whose love language is Physical Touch, or refuse to help someone whose love language is Acts of Service, they will probably feel completely rejected and unloved.
We read during easy times when things are going smoothly and everyone is happy. But more and more, as he gets older, we have moments of misunderstanding, disagreement, and frustration. We feel disconnected and it can be hard to come back together. So often it’s those times where he asks me to read because he knows it will recenter us both.
“I’m scaring my kids,” she said as she sat in my office one summer day. “What scares me the most is that I don’t know how to make this different for me or for them.”
This is a common theme I hear from parents. They’re feeling completely spent, whether they’re going through a rough patch with their spouse, have just begun the process of separation or divorce, or perhaps there’s stress because there simply isn’t enough support to parent effectively.