So, my work here at The Joyful Mother is about LOVE. It is about teaching parents that there is so much more power, strength and wisdom available to them when they parent from this place of connectedness with their children. Parenting goes from being a struggle to being a JOY! Yup, parenting becomes something you actually get up in the morning looking forward to doing.
Although there isn’t many parents out there that would disagree with the power of love, I experience that many times when I speak about parenting from this place, people react or feel confused, especially when I talk about disciplining with love. What does parenting from the heart really mean and how could it feel powerful?
“I agree that LOVE, strength, clarity and leadership are what our children need most but fear that clarity and leadership are often lacking or that LOVE is misinterpreted as not saying no and avoiding your child experiencing tough emotions at all costs and helping them avoid even natural consequences.”
“Your hippie parenting is making a generation of children who are not held accountable.”
I get how these comments arise!! In our society, love is a value, a characteristic of life that is associated with weakness. But yet, it is love that binds us together, that gives meaning to our life. We don’t understand love. Not because we don’t feel flashes of it, but because we live in a society that relies solely on our MINDS, our EGOS to craft solutions for us.
I have been there! I have lost my bananas on my kids…freaking the freak out, loosing my mind because I thought that that was my ONLY resource. It was my last resort. I remember saying to my kids “Well, if you don’t want mamma to get mad, then you should just listen!!!” Have you been there?
We rely on pushing and pulling at our kids behavior, cajoling them into cooperation, screaming at them like military sergeants demanding they fall in line. UGH! I don’t know about you, but it NEVER feels good to me to. We are desperately trying to figure out how to get this thing right with our MINDS!
But what I teach women is that underneath that…underneath the over thinking, the worry, the stress, the over reactions, the desperation for control and compliance, the confusion is a wealth of wisdom and POWER that you may be overlooking as a parent. I teach a set of empowering life skills that when you learn, can open you up using love, connection, wisdom and insight in your everyday parenting. This post covers just a few of them.
Most of the moms I have worked with who struggle with compliance or to be heard as a parent are usually either relying on screaming as their best tactic to get their kids to listen or the other extreme ~ extreme permissiveness. Neither tactic leaves you feeling PROUD, am I right? What if there was a way to get them to listen without traumatizing them with wild mama banshie screaming? What if there was a milder approach that got better results?
Here are the first 3 of my 6 principles on what makes parenting from the heart different and more powerful >
1. CONNECTION > Your biggest strength in times of chaos, is not the decible range of your voice, but in your ability to stop, connect with your children (getting their attention, looking in their eyes), then clearly communicate your expectations and the resulting consequences if your children do not follow through. I love this because it takes all need for yelling out of the scenario.
This happened this morning actually!! Christopher was really struggling to stay focused after I had asked him 3 times to go put his shoes on for school. I kept seeing him shoeless wandering around the house…. When I finally noticed I was directing him from a “top-down” approach and it was clearly not working, I shifted my approach (i.e. took my own advice…).
I called him over, got down on my knees and looked in his eyes and told him that in order for him not to be late to school, he needed to go put his shoes on right away. I thanked him in advance and told him how proud of him I was for being such a good listener.” It worked. He b-lined it for this shoes and they were on in less than 30 seconds. Yay little dude!! Yay mamma! There he is in this picture >>
Why is this parenting from the heart, from love? Because I took time to connect and resisted the urge to yell at him. Kids don’t like to be yelled at! Do you enjoy it? One of the tenants of parenting from the heart is respect. Respecting our children by watching our words and our actions ~ making sure they help, not hinder our children’s emotional development. Respect is also a great tool. Children respond to respect as it is linked to love and to being seen. When they feel respected, they will more likely comply with your directions.
2. LEADERSHIP > For most of us, we feel anything but leaders in our home. From an energy standpoint, many homes are literally RUN by the children. Because we are not clear about owning a leadership mentality, our children see the gap and take advantage of it.
One of the most under appreciated elements of true power we have as parents is our energy. I believe energy is even more important than the specifics of what we do as a parent. In my upcoming book (to be released next year), I talk about the Loving Leader as the most powerful mindset a parent can have. In our society today, we believe in the need to dominate, dictate over our children in the name of leadership or being the boss. But there is a better way, a way that serves our children in deep ways and creates the results we are searching for without the harm and trauma of constant consternation.
When I step into the mindset of Loving Leadership at the start of each new day, my energy shifts. I no longer show up with my kids irritated, impatient, stressed. As the Loving Leader, I am calm and tackle each scenario from a place of grounded strength and confidence. From here, I am able to access my inner wisdom and know the “right” course of action in any moment. Our children need us to take the helm!! Screaming and yelling at our kids is not strength, is it weakness masked as strength. It comes from a place of feeling out of control, powerless. By saying to yourself I Am The Loving Leader Of My Home (and REALLY feeling it in your body) continuously, you will show up in ways that guide your family towards joy.
3. FOCUS > When our children misbehave, we react. This is normal. You can feel your heart race, you feel warm, your blood is about to to hit boiling point! Your child’s intense emotional reaction is infecting you, because that is the thing about energy, it is contagious. But parenting from the heart is about becoming really good at noticing what you are focusing on.
Lets say your child is freaking out after a long day at school. You have a choice in those instances. You can see their behavior as a serious inconvenience and wonder why you ever had children in the first place (life was sort of easier before kids huh?!?) or you can take your focus OFF of you and your own life experience at that moment and put it on your child. Get curious. Is she tired, hungry after a long day? Did something happen at school that upset her? Putting the focus on our child allows us to fill a need they may be experiencing. I believe most, if not all, of children’s misbehavior is, at the root, a call for some unmet need. Most of the time it comes down connection. Our children need our dedicated presence. They need our full attention. Even just 10 minutes in a day of dedicated focused energy on our kids can make a massive difference to their (and our) state of mind…
Just THIS simple shift can radically change your life.
These are the first three principles of my parenting from the heart teachings. Would LOVE to know what you think and what happened after you tried a few of them on for size. Feel a bit prouder as a mom?