What it Really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families Series- Day 17

Consciously Parenting: What it Really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families
Book 1 of the Consciously Parenting series
Shifting Our Interpretations, Changing Our Relationships
“My daughter is manipulating me!”
“He did that to me on purpose just to make me mad!”
“I’m the parent, and he needs to listen to what I say!”
Phrases like these are common among parents, and they are remnants of another age in which we did not fully understand brain development and what is really going on in the minds of our young children.
We often overlay adult thinking onto what we are seeing from our children, even when they are not capable of this kind of complex thought.
These kinds of phrases only create more disconnection in relationships because the interpretation is a judgment that the child is wrong or bad. But what if we asked ourselves what is the best possible interpretation for what our child just did?

When we start to shift our interpretations and change our language to give our children the benefit of the doubt, there is then the possibility of change!

From the book Consciously Parenting: What it Really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families

Jill was lamenting that her daughter was always lazy and didn’t seem to care about anything.

When I hear that a parent is talking about their child using “always” and “never,” it’s a good place to be curious. Is it that they’re always or never anything? Or is that what’s happening right now? Is this a story that we’re telling ourselves about a behavior our child is doing or is it actually the core of who they are? And if we believe it is the core of who they are, is that who we want them to be? If we want them to be something different, we need to see other qualities in them so they can expand rather than the negative qualities before it becomes the story they tell about themselves.

When Jill got curious about her daughter and we picked it apart a little bit, I asked what the best possible explanation for her daughter not doing the thing (homework) that Jill felt she needed to be doing. As she considered her daughter’s point of view, things began to shift and open up.

Maybe she wasn’t lazy. Maybe she was bored with the homework. Maybe she was overwhelmed because it was too difficult for her to do on her own. Maybe she was exhausted from being in school all day. Maybe she didn’t want to do the homework. That doesn’t mean she’s lazy.

When Jill was able to talk to her daughter bringing the curiosity along, her daughter told her that she worked really hard all day at school but had no idea how to do the assignment. She didn’t know what else to do, so she was watching television. Once mom understood that she needed help, her daughter got her homework done in about 15 minutes.

Bring curiosity to your child’s behaviors. It creates more room for a new story about your child and the possibility of more connection with them.

  • Rebecca is the founder of The Consciously Parenting Project, LLC, and author of 3 books (Consciously Parenting: What it really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families, Creating Connection: Essential Tools for Growing Families through Conception, Birth and Beyond, and Nurturing Connection: What Parents Need to Know about Emotional Expression and Bonding), numerous classes and recordings, and the former co-host of a radio show, True North Parents.

Rebecca Thompson Hitt

Rebecca is the founder of The Consciously Parenting Project, LLC, and author of 3 books (Consciously Parenting: What it really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families, Creating Connection: Essential Tools for Growing Families through Conception, Birth and Beyond, and Nurturing Connection: What Parents Need to Know about Emotional Expression and Bonding), numerous classes and recordings, and the former co-host of a radio show, True North Parents.

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