I have had the most fabulous work week. So many good things have happened. For example, a foster mom I have been working with on conscious parenting practices was telling me that her foster daughter told her that she preferred to be at her friend’s house because she “hated” being at the foster mom’s house. Instantly, this foster mom was aware that this girl’s comment had triggered her, as she had such thoughts as “What? After all that I do for you and you hate it here? How could you be so ungrateful!”
However, because she has been practicing this revolutionary way of parenting, she was much more easily able to notice what was coming up inside of her and take a step back BEFORE responding to her foster daughter. Instead of saying the things that initially came to her mind, she took a deep breath, softened and said to her “I know that you are struggling with being away from your parents. I can only imagine how hard it is to not be home with your mom and dad and have to live in a new house with a new family and not know when or if you will ever be able to go home again. I’m so sorry this has happened to you and I want you to know that I am here for you, that I love you and that I will continue to do everything I can to support you during this difficult time.”
Isn’t that incredible? If this mom had stayed “unconscious” in this interaction with her foster daughter, she would have taken the girl’s comment personally and would have become defensive and lashed out at her which would have likely caused the girl to feel shame, regret, embarrassment, maybe even anger and resentment towards her foster mom. Whatever it would have caused her to feel, there would have been a further disconnect happening between them. But instead, this woman tapped into the situation, attuned to the needs of this young girl in her care and then felt and expressed nothing but love, compassion and support for this girl. And this girl, from her perspective, felt seen and heard, understood and loved. And thus, the connection between them only deepened. Later that night, the girl had a nightmare and asked her foster mom if she could sleep in her room. When the foster mom told her she could, this young girl put her arms around this kind woman, hugged her and told her she loved her. Isn’t that amazing? It is further proof of the connection that the woman had built earlier in the evening.
When you think about it, it is seems almost miraculous how a different perspective can radically shift the way we approach situations with our children and how radically different the outcome can be. Is there a place in your parenting where this shift needs to happen?