“S/he’s a bully.”
“S/he’s not doing well in school.”
“S/he doesn’t make friends easily.”
“S/he’s shutting the door on me.”
“What can we do?”
I’ve heard this. You’ve heard this. Every parent wants to ‘fix’ their child and leave the child to the therapist to figure out what is really “wrong with her/him?”
Your child may need to change, yes.
But there is nothing wrong with your child.
Just as there is nothing wrong with any of us.
Every behavior is an indication that all is not right within.
The only two people who really have an impact on a child’s internal state are his/her/their parents. We create the emotional turmoil in our children. And their turmoil is often what plagues us.
Basically, what you want your child to change is a clue. It is a clue that you need to change.
Let’s take one of the above ‘complaints’ and break it down.
1) “S/he’s shy”
The question to ask here is: what about your child being reserved is causing you to be uncomfortable? Why is it you need your child to be an extrovert? I have personally struggled with this. My son is not like me. I am a people’s person and get my energy from being around people. He likes his space and often cancels plans I want to make for him. It used to bother me a lot. Why does he not want to meet his friends?
THE QUESTION TO ASK HERE IS ONLY THIS: WHY DOES THIS TRIGGER ME?
· Because it’s important to have friends.
Why is it important to have friends?
· Because then you will be alone and lonely.
Why does that bother you so much?
· Because I’ve been there. I’ve been friendless and bullied at boarding school and I needed friends. I didn’t have anyone else.
It was about me. I was projecting my childhood onto him. I went to boarding school very young and spent many lonely years there. It took me a long time to make friends and find my own. It was a dark time.
My emotional reaction to my son’s choice -- CHOOSING to stay home and not meet anyone for a couple of days – arose from my own childhood, not his reality.
He has friends, he is not in boarding school, he is in a stable home with his parents… his reality is not mine.
BUT HOW DO YOU STOP FEELING
The emotional reaction, the pain that I felt came from my inner child: the part of me that was never nourished into adulthood; the part of me that was still in pain was screaming at my son’s angst. Because it was mine.
When you feel this reaction, you usually feel it in a place in your body. Our bodies store our pain even if our minds bury it.
Touch that part and speak to it; empathise, don’t fix.
“You are scared. I am here. I see you. I see your pain. I love you.
You wish you had friends. You were lonely. You were far away from mum and dad. I know. I am here with you now.”
If the tears come, let them come. That is your body purging the pain and releasing it. That is your freedom.
When I turned inward, everything changed. My son is different from me. His choice is different from my circumstance. I now enter our relationship with a different energy and awareness.
And I see him just as I was never seen.
Be with you.
It is the only thing that matters.
Our children are our gurus, pointing to pain that was already there.
Childhood trauma is the source of all pain.
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