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?
America seems full of finger-pointing and, in general, we like to blame someone else for our problems. People sued McDonald’s when their coffee was too hot and won. It wasn’t their fault that the coffee was hot, after all, and they burned themselves. If the problem exists outside of ourselves, then it really isn’t about us. We don’t need to make a change. But if we can recognize that there is probably a small part that is our responsibility, that means that we can make it different.
I kept pulling and yanking against him like those darned Chinese Handcuffs, for nearly half an hour. And my fingers were clearly still stuck inside. The child wasn’t dressed, lunches weren’t packed, and we were at a stalemate.
Finally, I had a moment of clarity. I let go of the outcome in that second- let go of all that needed to be done. I stopped struggling. We were probably going to be late anyway. I shifted from what I needed to something that was important and fun for him, connecting with him rather than my own agenda.
One hundred years ago, I wrote a poem entitled “I Am.” You know the one, where you start listing all the things that make up you in a list to create personal poetry. It’s a great exercise to get people out of their preconceived poetry notions, but it is also a great exercise in perspective.
We’re designed to be in relationship, yet our current societal structure has most families feeling fairly isolated. Join Rebecca Thompson Hitt as she speaks to Scott Noelle about The Continuum Concept by Jean Leidloff, about the experiences of living in an indigenous community and how embracing some of the ideas in Leidloff’s book can be applied to help us find our own way in our current society. Part 1 of a 3 part series.
When our children are little, we know we must model for them, so we show them how to pick up their toys and sing clean-up songs to make it more enjoyable. We sit with them and do it together, showing that teamwork makes the job go faster and that we can help each other. But for some reason, when they are older, we seem to expect them to just do things on their own, without direction or help. And often parents aren’t even kind about it. “Go clean your room!” “If you can’t take care of your things, maybe you don’t deserve to have them!”
Rebecca Thompson Hitt, MS, MFT of The Consciously Parenting Project introduces the first guiding principle from her first book- All Behavior is a Communication. Parents who are making the shift from focusing on behaviors to focusing on the relationship will learn how they can begin making changes in how they understand what’s happening. Our children communicate through their behaviors. Are you understanding what your child is REALLY communicating? And is your interpretation of your child’s behavior helping you to connect? And is it helping them to behave better? Join us for this exploration. You’ll leave with some good reminders or new ideas to apply in your life today.
She paused for a moment. This pause was for her. She centered herself around the realization that her child was distressed and this was how he was expressing it in this moment. She wasn’t going to do what he was demanding. That would not be healthy for either of them. But she stopped what she was doing and gave him her full attention. She ignored his behavior in this moment and focused on him, her child, who was clearly having a rough time.
The challenge of being a parent today isn’t a lack of information. In fact, information overload has made parenting more challenging. Especially when you consider that the answers for your family aren’t going to come from the outside, but from within yourself. After all, who knows you and your family better? Sometimes, though, we find ourselves needing some guidance or some suggestions beyond the usual time-outs or other parenting strategies that just don’t seem to be working.
“I’m so upset! He’s working completely against me. No matter what I do, he continues to speak to me disrespectfully. I’ve tried punishing him, but he doesn’t seem to care. What am I supposed to do? I want a good relationship with my son, but he’s making it impossible!”
Maybe you can relate to this mom’s struggle. She had tried all the usual suggestions, but things hadn’t improved. She had no idea what to do next. Many parents feel this way and find themselves at the end of their rope.
I’ve been there as a parent myself. I wanted to parent from a loving place, but my kid’s behaviors were driving me crazy. Like a really bad kind of crazy. I didn’t know what to do.
Everyone wants to find peace. Everyone wants connection. But sometimes that’s just not our family’s reality. Maybe our reality is tension. Maybe there are disagreements and fights. Maybe we find ourselves disliking being around our child or the disconnection just feels bad to us and we want it to be different. Or maybe we’re overwhelmed. So where do we start when we’re far from a place of love, ease, and joy? How can we begin our journey to this seemingly elusive place?
Your child is on the playground and falls. She isn’t injured badly, but clearly the wind has been knocked out and it scared her. What do you do? How do you feel in that moment? Are you stifling your own fears? (She could really have gotten badly injured!!) Are you feeling disconnected? (She shouldn’t have been doing that and she deserves to get hurt.) Are you proud because she brushes herself off and goes back to playing? Are you annoyed when she bursts into tears and comes running over to you?