Here is one thing I can promise even those of you I have never met:
If parenthood feels like a battleground, you and/or your child (most likely both) have unmet needs and/or unprocessed emotion (most likely both).
Read that once more.
If there is war (or a cold war) in your home, or just a chronic lack of peace, this is your sign that needs are going unmet and emotions are being left unprocessed.
This is a tough truth to swallow at first because most of us are conditioned from early childhood to believe that “bad attitudes”, defiance, disobedience, disrespect, tears, “acting out”, tantrums, etc. are a reflection of the heart. We are miseducated into the belief that any and all of these are caused by our sinful nature, a lack of faith, selfishness, an unkind essence, a bad heart, etc. We learn that certain behaviors just need consistent (or harsher) punishment in order to be corrected and once they are corrected, everyone will thrive.
This. is. NOT. true.
Here is what is True:
We are biologically wired to feel emotion and to do whatever it takes to get our needs met. We are designed this way. It is a beautiful design, actually, that works brilliantly when we understand it and have the tools to respond appropriately to it.
This is a massive, massive paradigm shift for most of us. It was for me. I’ve had to process the sadness and guilt over how long I lived and parented without this understanding. I’ve had to do the inner-healing work, along with my children, to repair the damage done by chronic unmet needs and chronic unprocessed emotion.
But here is the good news. Great news, actually. We are also biologically wired to heal. And healing happens when we get our needs met and process our emotion (which also means processing our trauma). And that is some of the best news I know.
Here are two ways we can slow our cycles and work towards healing this week:
Do the Core Emotion Wheel at dinner or bedtime every night. Oooo the heck out of your kids and yourself. Follow their energy and your own. Just observe and notice what is happening for them and for yourself. No judgement, no solutions, no encouragement needed in those moments. Just be present. Allow yourself to just be a witness to their emotion experience and your own. Practice this every night. This is a vital part of healing.
Pause for a few minutes every day and just be in your body. Close your eyes. Take deep, deep breaths. Notice your feet, legs, torso, arms, hands, neck, face, head. What sensations do you notice? Is there pain? Is there neutrality? Is there peace? Spend a few minutes every day just being in your body, giving it your undivided attention. We were gifted these incredible bodies that can do miraculous things when we know how to work in partnership with them. Nurture your mind-body connection. As we relearn how to listen to our bodies, we learn how to make space for the conversation our children must have with their bodies too.
If this resonates with you (or overwhelms you) please tell me. I want to know. There is so much hope for peace and healing.
If life and/or parenthood feel like a battleground for you, I see you. You are not alone.