I think I already know everything about parenting (ha! yeah right!)
But every now and then I come across a new parenting idea that blows me away.
A while back I read Jitterberry’s article “Who Should Adjust?” (sadly, blog no longer active) and it’s so powerful! She says that most parenting problems can be summed up as “how can I get my child to need less of me?”
Isn’t that SO true?! We ask kids to need us less, and we ask them to BE less. We ask them to be quieter, be more still, get out of the way, take up less room, and be more alone. We may not SAY “shut up and go away” out loud, but damn, that’s what we communicate a lot of the time!
Jitterberry asks the simple question, “What if instead we could become more?” and that’s the kind of question that can change your life.
When a difficult or uncomfortable situation arises, it’s natural to want to pull back. You want to protect yourself. You want to manage your experience. You want to retreat and regroup.
But your child needs you. When your child needs something, they frequently need it FROM YOU. If they need to retreat, they need to retreat TO YOU. Right at the moment that they need you is the worst time in the world for you to pull away.
It can sometimes feel like you don’t have any extra to give. You’re on edge. You’re maxed out. You’re on empty.
But have you ever noticed that when you pull away from your child, things don’t suddenly get easier? In fact, they often get WORSE. Your child still needs you, but now you feel guilty about it. Or their perfectly reasonable need turns into something even more intense and hard to ignore.
You might not SAY “shut up and go away”, but your kid knows that’s what you mean. And they react accordingly!
So even though you might feel like you have no more to give, YOU DO. I promise, you do! And, when you find that little bit extra and move CLOSER to your child in those difficult times, you WILL find a little bit of magic happens.
Think about some tough moments you’ve had with your child lately. Has your response been to ask them to be less, to need less, to ask less, to go away, to STOP?
When I find myself in that mode with my son, everything stays really hard.
When I ask myself to be more instead I’ve found that it doesn’t actually take that much extra. I move closer just a LITTLE bit… and everything gets easier. For BOTH of us!
What do you say? Can you give it a try? In those times of need, dig deep and move closer. I bet you’ll be delighted at the result!
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