Parent-Child Relationship - During Conflict
Ask a parent what they want for their child, a fairly common response is for 'my child to just be happy’.
Being happy is experiencing just one emotion, it is not realistic for any human to remain in a happy state, it is not enough to just want a child to be happy.
When a parent works through their own triggers and heals their trauma, the parent child relationship is so connected that when we heal; the behaviours of our children that trigger us resolve too. They are reacting to our inner state. Being the best versions of ourselves is the best role model that we can provide for our children.
The way we interact and parent our children has a direct impact to the future of our planet, what the population will become in the future.
When we heal we are changing the lineage moving forward, we are healing what was passed down to us and ensuring the trauma does not pass down to our children. To view our childhood objectively, accept what may not have been provided, understand what our parents experienced to lead to those shortcomings and to move to forgiveness in order to truly heal. We can then allow our children to be free, with no judgement based on past beliefs.
When we demand to be heard in a confrontation with our child, and using our size to dominate, we can prioritise our needs being met and not theirs. As parents it is important to stay in balance, and when we experience dysregulation in those moments, it is imperative that we own it, explain what is going on for us and why we behave that way. i.e. explain why we are stressed about getting somewhere, and that it wasn’t ok to shout or blame etc. Remaining mindful not to blame our child and taking full responsibility for our behaviour. It is our reaction that is the problem, never the child’s behaviour.
"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Viktor E. Frankl"
When a child is dysregulated, allow the dysregulation to be, stay present, listen and validate their feelings. Attempting to stop a dysregulation by using diversion, avoidance, anger or negating can lead to a belief emerging that their needs are not important.
Diversion is so easy to use, a small child’s brain cannot process their feelings and the new information simultaneously. For example “look at this toy!”, the crying may stop as the child can only think about the new thought, but the unprocessed emotion which is linked to the event becomes supressed. Instead of building resilience the child may store a belief that something is wrong with their feelings, and that they must find a distraction from their hurt in the future, developing an unhealthy reliance on stuff, food, drugs, alcohol etc,
Avoidance is also easy, pretending the upset didn’t happen and hoping that by ignoring the behaviour and the child it will not reinforce future upsets, however it is likely to lead to a child that does not express their emotion, maybe even disconnecting from their feelings and becoming emotionally numb, or elevating the emotional upset in order to achieve their parents attention, at the greater irritation to the parent. Either way the child learns their emotional needs will not be met.
Anger can be extremely frightening for a child, it can lead to much longer tears as well as the child being too frightened to express their emotion. For example a child rushing towards a road and being shouted at, does not help the child learn from the experience and feelings can again be suppressed, as well as relationship damage caused by fear.
Negating feelings “you’ll be alright, you’re ok, it’s nothing, oh what are you crying about?”, the comments are in direct conflict with the actual events and associated feelings experienced by the child. It doesn’t necessarily stop tears either but it does leave a child confused or angry at no being heard or having their needs met.
Respecting our child’s individual feelings for what they are regardless of whether we agree or not, simply validating the way they feel and working through our own trauma in order to manage our own discomfort during those times. Our children hold a unique key to our unresolved childhood pain, as we journey together our children become our biggest teacher, a mirror showing us the areas requiring healing.
When we allow our children to develop their own value system, they will stand in their own truth as adults, not end up living someone else’s life according to someone else’s values.
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