“A mother understands what a child does not say” – Jewish proverb
I talk a lot about intuition because it is such and important element in being a effective parent. It is so common for moms NOT to trust themselves, to over-think, over analyze, to make parenting harder than it needs to be. And we do this of course out of love, but utilizing your intuition often leaves moms feeling amazed when they see that the effects seem to simplify interactions with their children.
My little boy is soon 4 now, but when he was around 2, he was a fire cracker…I mean the kid did not stop for an instant, even to catch his breath, in his innate urge to touch and explore his environment, any environment, even at his grandmother’s house. I mean, you can’t blame my mother for being a tad sensitive, she is no longer a spring chicken, and you almost have to be to keep up with little 2 years old’s like Christopher. So when we would be at her house she would react in a way that was like “What is this kids problem?!” And so I would then explain to her the source of his energy was of course that he was 2, and a boy, and curious and excited, over-stimulated, and maybe tired, and maybe even a little bit hungry. She would then tell me I was making “excuses” for him. Ok….so that’s not how I saw it!
It is so pivotal for parents to get underneath the behavior and really do our best to sense what the real issue or problem is that is impacting our children’s behavior. I mean it is the same for us, isn’t it? When my husband comes in the door and is a bit crabby and silent, I know that he is hungry. I don’t have to engage with his behavior, I just have to feed him! Then my delightful husband re-joins the family fold!
So this is generally easy when our children’s behavior is influenced by huger, thirst, exhaustion, enthusiasm, stuff that is pretty straight forward. But what happens when those influences get a bit more emotional, a bit more complex, maybe even harder to gauge?
Another Christopher story. So, he loves to play with his older sister and tries to get her attention, often not going about it in the most inviting ways. If Sophie is distracted, busy with homework or is playing with a friend and he isn’t seeing a clear invitation or gateway to join in the fun, he hits her or takes something from her. And Sophie goes crazy mad. After I console her, it is at that point that I try to see what is really going on and to help him understand his own needs and put words on those needs. I will say “Are you wanting to play with Sophie?” He nods his head. Then I say “But Christopher, hitting Sophie isn’t going to make her want to play with you. Why don’t you use your words and ask her to play!”
This isn’t something new I am telling you is it? Moms get this stuff. But how often do you interact with your children based your child’s behavior of the moment rather than the real, underlying problem at hand? I bet almost all of us experiences this, me included, at least once everyday!
But getting this right, for me, can be one of the most magical ways of connecting with my children. Sometimes I will sense my daughter’s inner dilemma and present it to her – “Is this what you are really feeling?” and she says to me “Mom! How did you know that!?” Using our intuition to really understanding the matrix of our children’s inner world allows our children to feel SEEN and there isn’t anything that feels more like love than that. It then allows us to truly support our children’s expansion and help them cultivate a greater understanding of their emotional selves.
Tips to sense your child’s feelings:
- STOP When you feel yourself about to react by your child’s behavior, stop yourself and BREATHE.
- ASK yourself, what is the real reason for your child’s behavior? If you don’t get a sense of it, ask you child.
- REACT to that instead with empathy and understanding.
Remember, you are giving your child a gift. When a child feels understood, she will have a greater capacity for empathy and understanding for her self and for others in her own life.