We tend to think carefully about using the 'right' words with our children, as mothers seeking to raise our children with awareness. We do this to avoid shaming or blaming them, striving to give them a sense of individual agency and nurture their spirit. But the truth is, the life we live is the lesson that we teach; not simply the words we say.
I'd love to know...
How much do you shame and blame yourself?
How often do you listen, and act on your own truth, what you believe in, even if it means upsetting someone or going against the crowd?
How willing are you to step into the pain of growth, rather than avoiding or numbing it?
It's humbling, isn't it. And yet this is why our children are often our greatest teachers. They hold up the mirror to the parts of ourselves that we hide from, that we are 'not okay' with. That we try to 'shove down'. They know that showing us the messy stuff is the truth of love. It's not sunshine and rainbows and kindness and puppy-dogs tails. It's often uncomfortable, pass-me-the-wine/coffee/valium-inducing kinda stuff instead. And that, beautiful ones, is called the sweet spot.
When we are triggered by our children's behaviour, we tend to look for an escape; a way to make it stop. We distract them, or ourselves, or we descend into threats. And yet this dynamic is calling us in, to teach us something. When we have a little spaciousness within ourselves to simply listen and wait, clarity appears with the message. Many of us grew up with a scarcity of being listened to. When we create the space to listen to our children, we in turn create that for ourselves, to listen to our own big feelings, intuition and wisdom.
Traditional parenting says that our role is to teach and guide our children. But what if they are here to teach and guide us, just as much? How does that transform the way we see them and our relationship?
1. When we label, we limit. The kid with ADHD? If you look hard enough you'll find he has a lot of attention to give the things he loves - it just might not be socially acceptable to us, like hours and hours on video games. When we want him to do his schoolwork, we are projecting OUR values. The key is communicating in his values to create a win-win for all. The label stunts everyone in their growth and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
2. What we run from, will run us, and is often expressed in our children for us to learn to love it (because no matter what our children do, we will always love them). Are your kids 'making you late' all the time? Where's the ownership in how we can change our habits to alleviate the pattern?
3. What you can't handle in your child, you can't handle in yourself. When we are triggered by our children's aggression or anger, it's wise to reflect on how comfortable we are with providing a healthy outlet for our own anger.
4. The Universe (and your children) rewards congruency. Do you mean what you say and say what you mean? Or is at all a little wishy-washy? Children's intuition is much sharper than our own. They can tell if you're being authentic and your intention is clear.
5. Your job is not to 'fix' your children. It is to communicate in their values, see their genius and live your own authentic, aligned life. Do this and you will be teaching them to self-actualise.
Motherhood can be our greatest catalyst for expansion and wisdom; we birth the perfect spiritual teachers in the form of our children, as they compel us to grow into more of ourselves.
Will you surrender?
Bridget Wood is Co-Founder of Nourishing The Mother and a lover of life and connecting people to themselves through wisdom, introspection and quality questions. Bridget is also the Director and Events Manager of Suburban Sandcastles. With an insatiable appetite for knowledge and a desire to understand the bigger picture of human behaviour and how the world works, Bridget is on an inspired path to learn more deeply who we are beyond the limitations that we, and our society and culture, place upon us.