Tantrums and parental conundrums.
Raising kids is one of the most challenging “professions”. Being a parent is a “job” that lasts for years or even a lifetime, and you cannot – reasonably – quit or ask for better terms and benefits.
Before they go to school, those fascinating creatures under your charge will learn mostly in the environment sustained by their parents, but as soon as school comes into the picture, this shaping and modelling environment expands, and other rolemodels will start setting the examples. And don’t forget that they have their very own temperaments, finetuned to their own needs, not yours.
Yes, it can be rewarding at times, when they show their affection or proudly demonstrate the new skills they’ve acquired. But often you might feel powerless and tired.
So if we feel overpowered and exhausted, what is the biggest Issue? Perception. I will explain later.
As a parent, I have learned about, and tried to use, authoritative and permissive styles, and a mixture thereof.
Many people have been giving advice, often contradicting that of others. I did not even try popular books, that follow trends every few years. It just doesn’t add up for me.
But I started to pay attention to what was actually going on when I felt like a bad parent. I noticed that if I was tired, feeling out of control, or otherwise struggling with myself, my kids were also more restless, naughty and moody.
The first thing I tried to change was aligning my behavior with my words. So instead of just asking or commanding them things to do, I would also make myself a rolemodel, acting out what I said. That helped to some extent, but I still felt discord and frustration.
Then I went a little deeper, trying to open myself to the kinds of spiritual ideas I have been playing with for the last few years. Then it became evident to me that the kids connected to whatever state of consciousness I was in.
If I felt harmony, positivity and control, they would be easier to manage too. If I slid into a state of “duality” and my thinking mind would pull me into negative spirals of thoughts, the resulting disfunctional emotional chaos would be picked up by my kids and they would express the same kind of chaos in a different way. They would either be angry, naughty, unmotivated or they would just complain all the time. They would seek attention, any type of attention, even negative.
But, the key was not just the attention, because that would not lift them up to a more balanced state of mind. The key was the kind of attention that would help them connect to MY unity, rather than MY duality.
So, how to do this?
First you need to create unity in yourself (please refer to earlier posts about [non-]duality and living in the present) and observe and accept everything, resulting in freedom and peace of mind. You will notice that it gives you a perception of control. Not full control, that’s fear, but the kind of control a surfer has over his surfboard while mastering the big waves of the sea. Then, PERCEIVE.
Perceive the duality in your child. Understand it, act it out and respond to it, without using your own sense of unity. Then, once that ship is sailing, wait patiently for your child to slowly, but surely, connect to you. Invite them softly, absorb their expressions of disruptive emotions and duality without judging, without being triggered into an emotional state too – apart from kindness.
You can often cancel disruptive emotions by working with opposite states, like waves with opposite forms that cancel each other out, but eventually silent and peaceful acceptence will be the state of mind that the are invited into, so they can fully connect to unity.
I know this sounds easier than it actually is, and a little abstract, but it is something you can experiment with, if you already have a little bit of a background in spiritual ideas related to non-duality.
And this works in any type of relationship, not just the relationship with your kids.
Perceive, be, accept, connect.