How Often Does This Happen To You?…
It’s so easy for the mind chatter of the outside world to interfere with what we truly want for our children. The thoughts of:
- We paid for you to do this
- You can’t be a quitter
- Life is about hard work
- Sometimes you need to do things you don’t want to do…that’s life
- You don’t want to fall behind
- You don’t want to miss out on this opportunity
When these thoughts enter, we need to remind ourselves of our ultimate goal…to connect with our children at a deep level; for them to feel heard; for them to grow always knowing who they are. This boils down to Soulful Discipline versus the old, disconnected way of disciplining.
I just recently encountered this tug-of war. My son, Jaden, had an unusually bad day at school. It was raining, so I went to pick the kids up closer to the school, and as they were walking towards me, my son was sobbing uncontrollably…yep, the hyperventilating cry.
Well, this was also swimming lesson day, so off to swimming we went. He cried the whole way there, and as we arrived he asked if he could skip swimming today. Because he had already missed a few lessons, I knew my husband would be disappointed if he didn’t go. I could intuitively feel that Jaden just needed a break. And then my mind battled ensued…
Do I force him to go so not to disappoint my husband who believes commitments are important (don’t get me wrong, I do too, but there are exceptions), or do I go with my gut and let him sit out?
I have to admit, my ego mind dominated initially. I told him he had to go, so he needed to go get changed. As he so sadly turned to go, my heart sunk. I knew I wasn’t putting his needs first. I was putting the idea that “commitments” are important first. My daughter, Mackenzie, also intuitively knew he needed a break and gave me a little pep talk!!! …but I already knew I needed to let him know I changed my mind.
So, when he came out of the change room, I apologized, and I left the choice up to him. If he truly felt he needed a break, I wouldn’t force him. I also let him know that he and his needs will always be more important than the activities they are in. And I owned up to briefly forgetting that.
Left with his own choice, he was concerned that he would disappoint either myself or his dad. I strongly reminded him that that DOESN’T matter. What matters is what his gut is telling him is best for him in that moment. With that “permission” to follow his own heart, he easily made his choice…which was to sit out.
Here’s the thing…this is how easily their own inner voice can begin to be shut down! Children have an innate desire to please their parents, and in doing so can override what their own intuition is telling them. If we as parents don’t become aware of how our discipline and decisions affect them, we can unknowingly be shutting down their intuitive sense, as well as their sense of self.
Once his decision was made, he sat with me as we watched my daughter swim. He asked me to play Hangman (a word guessing game) with him, and I did. The first words that he got me to guess were “Thank You.” …enough said.