Thursday, July 22, 2010

Observing Others

The other night I was taking a walk with Sweetie Heart. As we walked up to town another family crosses our path. This family consisted of a mother (looking a bit haggard), father, older brother (maybe 4) and little sister (2 or 3). They crossed the street with the parents holding the children's hands. When they were back on the sidewalk the little girl said to her mother, "Can I have my hand? Can I have my hand?" To Which her mother responded briskly, "No, because I don't trust you."

Now don't get me wrong, I have so been there. Long days, fatigue, just wanting to have a good time with my family but...sometimes the kids don't cooperate. Sometimes going out thakes more effort than staying in. But they were together. But what I thought was, what is the message this mother is sending to her daughter at such a young age. Will she grow into this expectation, this belief that her mother just gave her.

It made me pause and think. I know I have said the exact same things. Since PonT though I think I'm doing better. I took the time to think about how I can say things. How can I say thing in a encouraging way? So instead I could say, "I would love to give you your had. However, I am concerned for your safety on these busy streets. When you can show me that you can stay close when we are near traffic then you can have your hand." or "Yes, as soon as we are at (a particular destination) or you can show me you will stay close." I'm not sure yet, but I'm reframing here.

I need to look closer at the message I am sending to my children by my words and actions.

Here's the thing that has always confused me. The things that my kids do that push my buttons are the same things I did when I was a kids. My siblings and I fought like cats and dogs. We yelled and screamed at each other. I threw terrible tantrums. We manipulated each other. I whined and pouted. I didn't do my chores or put them off to as late as possible. The list goes on.
I was talking to Webby about it and he made an interesting observation. He said maybe the reason they bug me so much is because I am feeling guilt over the fact that I did them, too. Now that I am older I can see how much they probably bothered my parents, brother, sister and I feel bad about that. Puts things on a new level.

The question is, when I forgive myself for doing those things will the guilt go away and thereby the button go away as well. Once I look at it and say, I was a kids. Kids act that way sometimes and I was just doing what worked for me. Will I be able to ignore the button or reframe it. And does it seems reasonable that when I stop reacting to those things they will disappear from my house. Does that sound right or just crazy?

More posts to come.


MidwifeMama said...

I suspect you are right about how to deflate the button. How doyou get over the guilt though? I cringe whenever I hear myself saying things that send negative messages to the kids about themselves, or how I feel about them. I especially cringe when I hear my DH do it, since that is less likely to change. I can hear my mom and feel the effects of hearing that stuff, as it comes out of my mouth! I'm just trying to pay attention, pause, take lots of deep breaths, and do what Vicki talked about in a recent MomTV - model controlling ourselves to help our kids learn how to control themselves. Multiple motivations, multiple payback on your investment of effort. Great insights!

tealara said...

Oooh, this is such good stuff. It's powerful to see this kind of behavior in others.

I absolutely believe that self-forgiveness is the key to so much freedom in life. The question is how to truly achieve it? It's one thing to acknowledge the necessity (this, in itself, is a huge step) and quite another to make it so. Could ABCDE help with the act of self-forgiveness, as much as with letting go of our buttons, I wonder....?