I recently wrote a Blog post focused on problematic parenting and its Spiritually-based solutions. It was inspired by my experience working at a psychiatric hospital with parents and their children where there were no “dull” moments: lots of crying, cursing, yelling and punching of walls that called for vigorous parenting. I wrote about our need as parents to deal in neutrality with difficult emotions in our children. Yet a new experience helped me refine what I had learned before about parenting. I was sitting in front of my computer, still making some corrections to that Blog Post, when my five-year-old came into the room and asked if she could watch another TV show. I don’t remember exactly how it went, but I picture myself moving my face towards her with my eyes still glued to the computer screen saying “yeah, yeah, yeah”. I remember my daughter moving quickly and quietly, butterfly-like, away from my desk, all too self-consciously. That is when I realized that parenting does not only happen during a “crisis”. These “dull” moments matter, too, maybe even more! Could this even be the secret to reaching no crisis at all? Likely!
That moment when my child came into my room there was no drama, no whining, no reactivity, no hitting, no pain; hence, I thought no actual parenting was needed: I did not check for how long she had watched TV, I did not take a moment to get present to see if this was the best choice or if it was really okay with me. Nothing. We had eaten, beds were made, toys were put away, and it was that time of the day when she can watch TV and I get to sit with my computer! Ahhh! After all, parents do not have to entertain our children all day and we have to meet our needs to be healthy parents. What occurred to me, though, when my TV-lover left my room, is that I hadn’t paid attention to those moments where there is “nothing due” and I thought “What an opportunity!” This is precisely when my child and I are calm, when we can learn most from each other!
How often do we try to teach our children lessons when they are yelling at us? Likely, every time. How often do we do this neutrally? Probably never! What if we took five minutes and grabbed some “tea” (or warm water with a lemon or so) and sat with our child and talked about something that may have gone on earlier when we were too upset or disturbed to address neutrally and kindly? A good topic can be something we might have heard them say that was odd or disturbing such as “Why is that person’s butt soooo big?!” or “I want to kill myself, hahaha!” We can sit with them and ask them, “What did you mean when you said you wanted to kill yourself?” We may be relieved to have asked. Their answers are often more insightful than we think; they can be hilarious, too. Perhaps there is a concern and we can gather more information that we or a professional can use to help our child. In either case, we listen openly and let them end the conversation, which can be even 3 minutes and, if there is a concern, we just keep track of what they say, lovingly, and by “lovingly” I mean, without the worry, with the same attitude used in a Sound Current Meditation: We use our Consciousness to rise above our thoughts and feelings and allow ourselves to be present with the Spirit within. In this “Place” inside ourselves we ask for Clarity (see how below).
We do not always have to interrupt those moments when we get to meet our needs to take advantage of these moments when nothing is due. However, if we nurture those moments when our children are most receptive we may gain more time to ourselves because our children are emotionally nourished. We may learn how to best approach them.
How to Rise Above Thought/Feeling:
Practice “Giraffe Consciousness”, a term coined by renowned Meditation Teacher Dr. Roger Lane, that illustrates the movement of our consciousness above our thoughts/feelings just as giraffes raise their necks to nourish themselves by eating from the top of the trees.
To practice doing “Giraffe Consciousness” call in The Light Of The Most High by saying,
“Lord, God, send me Your Light! Lord, God, please lift my Consciousness above my thoughts and feelings and send me Clarity, for the Highest Good! Thank You!”
You may also practice a Sound Current Meditation by yourself or with your children. See our Blog post “How To Meditate With Kids”! The best practice is to attend a Meditation in person. Find a Cosmos Tree Regional Center here!
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