Relationships are an endless ebb & flow of connection, disconnection & re-connection.
This truth was just made abundantly clear to me by my two youngest children!
Hannah (12) & Hayden (10) were enjoying their usual connection by playing, teasing & laughing together. Life was good!
Then, at some point, the teasing went too far, boundaries were crossed & big feelings came pouring out. The ebb of disconnection was happening – furiously!
My heart constricted in response to hearing anger between two people I love so very much and I decided to move into action.
Before my own journey into Conscious Parenting, I may have intervened & made them apologize to each other to end their angry behavior. You know – the fake, through clenched teeth, ‘I’m only doing this because Mom’s making me’ kind of apology.
Or I may have gone the other way and just stayed out of it, wondering how long they would take to work it out themselves as each slammed the door to their respective bedroom ‘territories’.
Today, I am overflowing with gratitude for the knowledge & skills Conscious Parenting has given me because today (inner Mama happy dance!!) I knew how to show up for my kids as their emotional coach & guide them through a simple, but extremely powerful, process for re-connection.
I asked them a few easy questions and we discovered, together, that the disconnection came when each had unknowingly violated the other person’s human need to feel respected.
With that golden nugget of truth, each child agreed to listen, without interruption, as the other one expressed their feelings aloud & the talking child freely held an object that reminded the listening child of that agreement. My soul was ON FIRE as I silently witnessed these two precious beings holding such safe space for the other to share raw & tender feelings.
When I explained to them both that we all have different personal ‘rules’ for getting our human need for respect met, their curiosity was undeniable! To learn what their own rules were, they eagerly completed this sentence three times each:
“In order for me to feel respected by you, I need…”
As I wrote down their dictated answers, I tried valiantly to maintain my outer composure because inside my mind was just being BLOWN AWAY by the depth of self-knowledge & connection to personal values coming through in their responses!
Whose kids are these?
With much satisfaction they decided to hang their answers up on our family wall and, with their feelings heard & their needs met, they raced off to the playground together, laughing & enjoying their re-connection.
While there is certainly no such thing as a perfect parent, many crushing moments of feeling like a powerless parent are a near certainty. As I watched my kids through the window, running & smiling, I felt so overwhelmingly EMPOWERED in my parenting, in my ability to make a genuine & potent contribution to their growth & development!
This moment of family leadership, this investment in the emotional health & well being of my children, took all of FIFTEEN MINUTES.
Best fifteen minutes I invested in anything today…with a lifetime of return in the kind of connection I experience with my children not just in this now moment, but also in the many years to come…