A decade ago, during my immersion in the high-tech industry, I was so absorbed in my work that I failed to fully engage with life. I appeared satisfied, successful, and fulfilled based on societal norms, yet I lacked a certain something, and I couldn't pinpoint what that was until the day I delivered Ilay.
The Single Biggest Shift When You Become a Parent
As a marketing manager and a woman who wore many hats - a wife, daughter, friend, and sister - the language that permeated my social circle was rife with judgment, interpretation, fear, guilt, and shame. It was customary to point fingers and lay blame on others when we desired something. And when we wished to express our emotions, we often started by attributing them to someone else's actions. This culture of blame-shifting prevailed, and no one took responsibility for their actions. It seemed that everyone was part of the same cycle.
What Are Toddlers and Adults REALLY Different From One Another?
Initially, communicating with a baby or toddler can be an incredibly daunting task for all parties involved. As time progresses, it can either become simpler or exceedingly more intricate. Allow me to elaborate:
Babies and young children possess a level of self-awareness regarding their needs and emotions that many adults have long since lost. There's no artifice, fear, guilt, blame, or shame in their communication. They communicate their wants and needs without any manipulative tactics. When they need something, they will ask for it, and when they desire something, they will cry for it. It's not to frustrate or deceive you, nor is it to toy with your emotions. Rather, it's their way of communicating their needs to you.
Why Don't We Appreciate Our Children?
Children's mode of communication is uncomplicated and straightforward, consisting of binary expressions. Unfortunately, many of us find it difficult to comprehend because we have been conditioned over time to detach our communication from our primal needs and emotions, whether we like it or not.
Should we muster the courage to learn and understand our children's communication style, while also expressing our own wants and needs, and responding to their needs and feelings, we can experience a straightforward, yet significant and advantageous family life. However, if we persist in teaching them a language rooted in rewards and punishments, manipulation, fear, guilt, and shame, we will soon find ourselves bargaining with young people who have become more adept than we are at these tactics. At this point, communication breaks down, and life morphs into a zero-sum game.
Dare to Learn
8 Mindfulness Techniques to Simplify Parenting 10x
Whether you're a new, experienced, or expecting mother, the following ten mindful practices can help you manage your child's intense emotions for what they genuinely are - a courageous attempt to communicate their needs and feelings. Acknowledging this fact and living it out can enable you to embrace your child's emotions without any critical analysis or assumption, strengthening your bond with them and establishing a secure connection that can last a lifetime.
#1 Depend on Your Five Senses
The only authentic representations of what's happening are what you can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. Everything else is merely an evaluation or interpretation. For instance, instead of telling yourself, "She's trying to manipulate me," say to yourself, "I can see and hear my daughter crying." By doing this, you're responding to the reality of the situation, rather than your own perception of it.
#2 Don't attempt to stop it
Whatever is happening is already occurring, and if we try to alter it while it's happening, we'll be battling against our reality. In these struggles, no one emerges victorious. The reality is that we can't change someone else's emotions, and it's not our responsibility to do so.
3. Don't hold yourself accountable.
We often assume responsibility for everything that occurs around us, a notion that we were instilled with since childhood, and we carry this belief into our adult years, causing unnecessary suffering. However, the reason for her current tears is insignificant; what is important is the fact that she is crying. The rationale for today's tears is already a part of the past, but tomorrow has the potential to be better if we trust that we've done all we could today.
#4 Don't let it get to you
Regardless of our children's age, we often assume that their crying is a result of something we did or didn't do, causing us to feel guilty and hurt. However, as discussed in the previous article, it's crucial to remember that their tears are not our fault and not to take it personally. Your child is crying simply because their needs are not being fulfilled, nothing more, nothing less.