This is hard to hear from our kids:
- I hate you!
- You don’t do anything for me!
- You’re always busy!
- You don’t care about me!
- You love (my brother/ my sister) more than you love me!
- You never loved me!
The typical impulse is to react: to defend yourself, to justify yourself, to “set things straight”, to correct, or to punish (I hope not!). Let’s deconstruct this dynamic, so we can handle these situations in a different way- a more connecting way.
Why do children typically say these things?
- they feel overwhelmed and can’t process what they’re feeling;
- they have limited vocabulary/language;
- they can’t access their deeper pain or fear; anger it’s the “go-to” emotion, much easier to access;
- they feel safe enough with you to show YOU that they’re having a hard time;
- they are asking for your help to off-load, so they can feel lighter inside.
What should we do in these moments, as conscious parents?
- pause and breath for 5 seconds; create some distance between their words and your reaction;
- remember how the brain/nervous system works: see my previous articles;
- remember that your child is literally “acting out” their cry for help to reconnect with you;
- do not take any words personally or as being true;
- do not lecture, correct, or punish;
- contain, listen and hold the space for the off-load;
- accept the emotion and hold limits for the behavior at the same time: accept the anger, but set limits around hitting, for example;
- if you get triggered, do the work on triggers: see my older post with the exercise I created for this; if this is too hard for you, work with a coach or a therapist;
- celebrate your hard work as a parent – this is not easy;
- remember that every time you don’t react on auto-pilot and are able to listen and to connect, you are deepening your relationship with your child, which is priceless.
“When I initially connected with Mihaela, I was not sure what to expect. I was trying to heal from a difficult divorce from a narcissist, dealing with the aftermath of broken pieces, all while trying to keep it together for my 5 year old daughter. I didn’t know how to handle the extreme aggressive outbursts, excessive tantrums, and what seemed like disrespectful disobedience coming from my baby. I felt defeated and not equipped enough to handle it.
Working with Mihaela made me realize that those episodes were my daughter’s cries for help. She is feeling the effects of the divorce as well and so young that she doesn’t know how to handle it. Mihaela has been amazing. She has challenged me to see things from a different perspective. She has helped me to realize that a lot of the frustration or anger I was experiencing from others is just a mirror of the work I need to do, but most importantly she has helped me create a stronger bond with my daughter. I have learned better ways to deal with my emotions which in turn helps me to help my daughter with hers.
She is tough, but in the best way possible, because she is doing her job. She does not sugar coat. She is firm in her beliefs and stands 100% confident in her work, especially since she has been through it and done it herself. She is intelligent, challenging, thought provoking, caring, passionate, and supportive.
I highly recommend Mihaela and her conscious parenting program. Thank you, Mihaela for your continued support and guidance! Words cannot express enough the value you have provided to me and my daughter! ” ( J.)
“Hi Mihaela! I just wanted to say how grateful I am for the listening time you offered a couple of weeks ago. I was in a very difficult position having to handle a super difficult situation and my therapist was away on holiday. I found a lot of comfort in what you said to me, and it made a huge difference because I couldn’t handle it on my own and I had to be at my best for the next couple of weeks. Please don’t tell my therapist I cheated on him; I want to tell him myself 😉” (G.)