Recentering. Healing wounds through parenting and travel.

Recentering. Healing wounds through parenting and travel.

I’ve been on this huge journey this summer in terms of ways I can be better with my kids, I got into this uncomfortable “normal” a few months ago where I was in a mindset that my 4 and 5 year old were just annoying me. Not fair to them, not fair to me. So we went on a trip together and I got off social media and I just devoted all my time to being grateful for them, thanking them and being present. It was just the four of us for 2 months and it was magic, being able to be mindful in shifting my perspective. We got back and the kids did a couple really shitty, expensive fucking up of things and while I didn’t yell, I said some really mean things. Because, and this is important, you can be mean without yelling or hitting (I’m calling you out “gentle parenting”) and you can be firm in order to be heard a little loudly, with respect. (which never includes hitting a person, just to be clear, violence has no place in parenting, even if you call it swatting, etc.)

Finding a balance between “Hey, things cost money” and financial shaming; I never want them to feel like they don’t deserve nice things or that things are more important than how I treat them. So I had to put myself in check again in a major way and seek support within and without of myself because if I am ever not being the parent I want to be, that is on me. I decide how I react and I have done far too much emotional work to keep reacting from this old way of thinking, these old patterns, particularly this time: that money is scarce or on a pedestal and I don’t deserve it and I should feel guilty when I spend it like my mom did. I deserve things. My kids deserve things. We can save for what we want, we can make mistakes. They are kids who do shitty things in learning how to person and it’s my job to grow with these instances instead of project my insecurities and fears on them. If there is anything I am unhappy with in my parenting, I do not sulk, I do not lay around in guilt. I get better, I seek more tools, I ask for help. That is my responsibility.

We work really well together, because I sit with them and apologize, I ask for their input, how can I help you?! The other day. Escher punched Ezekiel, so I pulled Escher away from Z and that hurt Escher’s feelings. Ezekiel felt confident enough to say, even through tears of being hurt “Mom, you didn’t have to do that. You hurt his feelings. Just talk to him next time, okay, just talk to him.” And I said “Thank you. I will, next time I will, that was a really insightful thing to say, I appreciate your perspective.” They help me help them, they are comfortable opposing me and bringing up new ways and I make myself be open to it without labeling it back talk, nobody grows that way. The child shrinks into themselves, losing their voice and the parent continues reacting out of childhood trauma. Don’t stifle your own growth and that of your children.

We all chose each other. When the kids fight, I remind them. Sometimes Z says “I dunno why I chose Escher” When feeling particularly mad and I just frankly say, “Welp, you did, so I guess we will find out in this lifetime. Seems to me like he is already teaching you some important lessons about patience, what a gift.”

I love travelling with my children, through miles of road and miles of life. I love the dynamic we have created. People say “You are so lucky, your kids are so good.” And yes, they are. All kids are inherently good. But this took work, emotional toil, for me to be able to create a platform for this to play out. For their respect and goodness and loveliness not to be stifled by my ego.

 

Ditching Discipline

A year ago, I wrote a blog on discipline. I was going to reshare it until I realized that my approach has changed a lot. (Here it is) I had the basic concept, but as a person with no model of how I am parenting my kids to follow, I am always learning and figuring out how to parent my children based on their individual needs.
Update. I don’t discipline them. I believe that all discipline is rooted in manipulation. I believe in natural consequences and I believe that it is my job to keep -myself- in check if the kids explore in a way I would not prefer. Why would I not prefer this? Where is this “rule” coming from? Does it make sense or is it time to restructure?

I am also also always asking my kids to help me understand their point of view. Mostly with Ezekiel, because Z speaks. With Escher, I do a lot of looking for context clues because he doesn’t speak as often.

If there is something that I want them to do, it will already make sense, otherwise I don’t ask. I communicate why “Please clean your room, so you can enjoy being in there and there is room to actually play and you are respecting your things by finding a place for them to go.” I don’t ask a million times. I just put it it out there. If they need help, I help them. If I notice the room is getting and remaining a mess, we will have a conversation “Do we need to go through and donate some of your toys? I am sensing that you are feeling overwhelmed by the clean up.” And usually Z says yes and we work together to see what is no longer welcome in our space and what is not. This is teaching them to self regulate. I don’t yell over and over, that increasing my frustration and I inevitably lash out, but to know that the root cause of a messy room may be because they are feeling overwhelmed by the amount brings about a really important perspective. Compassion. Understanding. This is what we are here for. As far as rules, I only exist to enforce safety. This is safety of emotion, body, mind. Sometimes, if I sense Z may be a little overwhelmed due to exhaustion, I’ll suggest a nap, lay with them, etc. That is safe for mind and body. Not based on my anxieties “you can’t climb that slide because you may get mildly hurt!!!” No. Natural consequences. They may get mildly hurt, but -I- don’t have to say or do anything to protect them from this possible fate, when was the last time my parents telling me not to do something actually made me not do it and not the opposite? Literally never. What did though, was the natural consequence of my choice. Every action has a reaction. And if my reactions in any way made my kids recluse from my voice or touch, that is going to create problems in the long run. Children need to learn to self regulate. If a child is being told what to do all the time, they cease to self regulate knowing that their parents will tell them (over and over) what to do and what not to do, they don’t have to think of giving the “right” choice any thought.

It is hard shifting away from manipulation. “You can have this if you do this!” The paradigm that we are only “good” or “worthy” based on our behavior. I have stayed up many nights with this on my mind. Like I said to start, I have no parenting model of this kind, even gentle parenting uses different tactics to yield the same toxic results. I am starting from nothing and always learning. I do what feels right for us as a family and discipline has been one and will be one where I constantly check myself. “Why.” Why am I doing this like this, what is this rooted in? Fear? Manipulation? Guilt? Time to reevaluate and have an open conversation with the kids included. Ask for their perspective and what they need. Work as a team. Work out of understanding and love. While dismantling the oppressive, manipulative, society encouraged parenting model.

Parenting is a series of relearning or it is the continuation of an unconscious, dysfunctional cycle, ultimately you decide.

Please ask questions if you have them ❤

Amethyst

Discipline.

I think some people wonder how there can be discipline without force or a giant show of authority.

It’s really quite simple. Science and the universe have already sorted that out for us. You can take your ego, fear and sense of ownership out of the entire equation.

“Every action has a reaction.”

 

The Golden Rule. “Treat people how you would like to be treated.”

“Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.”

“Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.”

That is the only compass one needs for morality and It’s easy to see why, but I will explain it anyway.

Would you want someone to hit you every time you did something they told you not to? Probably not. How about yell and throw their weight around when they don’t feel you are listening or shame you for your decisions etc. etc. etc. The Golden Rule. Applies as much to parenthood as it should in every day life dealing with peers and adults.

An example of what this active discipline looks like happened here just minutes ago:

Ezekiel ripped a page out of a book, he had to go lay down on the bed and we talked about how every action has a reaction and a consequence. A hug will receive a hug. Ripping out a page in a book will receive a time out. You -can- do whatever you want, but you are not free from the consequences of your actions. It is important to be respectful of your things. Then I had his fat cheeked baby wristed body repeat “Every action has a consequence” twice.

No big show, no big deal. We talk like adults and, dare I say the four lettered word in the child/parent relation paradigm, we talk like friends. I respect him because he is a person and will teach him that all living things deserve respect because of their existence. Not because their age or size or because they have “earned it”. You earn respect by being alive. I suppose that is a blog for another day…

Be conscious in your relationships. Be conscious in discipline. Live life on purpose.

April 2016 266