Write me: rebecca@positive-parents.org
Connecting with the Child In Front of You, Even When It’s Hard to Do
Guest post by Casey O’Roarty of Joyful Courage

All they want is you.
I talk, read, write a lot about this.  Parenting all comes back to relationship. I know what you’re thinking, “Yeah but, Casey, this doesn’t solve our bedtime challenge, or the sibling conflict, or the back talk, or…” and I am going to say, YES IT DOES.

Human beings are hard wired for connection.  HARD WIRED PEOPLE!!  We are MADE to CONNECT.  And when we feel disconnected, something literally feels off, feels wrong, feels out-of-sorts…  And when humans feel out-of-sorts they find creative and unusual ways (read: annoying and inconvenient) of getting what they need.

I love this quote from Brene Brown about connection:

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”

This connection piece is HUGE!  And sometimes, well meaning, loving parents forget about this and we find ourselves pulling out our hair, wondering why our children are making our lives so difficult.

Well my friends, I would like to invite you to take a deeper, more intentional look at your child(ren)’s sense of connection.

When you consider your current challenges with a child (toddlers to teens), I would like for you to consider taking a “balcony seat” and observe the situation with a bit of perspective. Imagine that you are looking down on the experience.

From this vantage point, ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I taking into consideration the experience/perspective of my child?
It’s true, your child sees the world out of a different set of eyes, and they are having a different experience than you are having.  How can you honor/respect/acknowledge that in this moment?
  • Is my response bringing us closer together or farther apart?
As Jane Nelsen says, “Children do better when they feel better” – is the way you are responding/reacting to your child in this moment encouraging them to do better, or are they feeling more discouraged?
  • When was the last time I had one on one time with this child?
Special time is a powerful tool and has a surprisingly big effect on behavior.  When kids feel connected to us, they show up better – and WE SHOW UP BETTER FOR THEM!  Sometimes, a behavior that has been making you crazy for weeks comes to a halt when we focus on spending more individual time with our child.
  • Does this child feel felt/understood?
Whenever we respond with empathy, our children “feel felt” and they are much more likely to move towards cooperation and contribution.  Empathy shows up when we are in relationship with our kids…  It is a powerful tool for connecting and really being in the present moment.
  • How can I release the feeling of urgency so that I can connect with the human in front of me?
You know what I’m talking about right?  The urgency?  The physical sensation of anxiety/fear/overwhelm that so often shows up on the parenting journey?  It’s not helpful.  In fact, I would argue that this sensation, and the emotions and thoughts that accompany it, are what railroad us the MOST on the path to being the parent we want to be.  Take a breath. Practice being mindful of the here and now, and be in the present moment.

These questions, and the practiceof finding perspective during intense moments, are what help me on my quest for being the best I can be.
The practice is the key, right?
Because when we are worked up in the moment, we don’t remember to “take a balcony seat” or “respond with empathy.”  Instead, it is our emotional selves that show up, often creating disconnection.
This is why I am so excited to share a gift with you…
It’s called #JoyfulCourage10 – a FREE 10 day program that will guide and support you in your practice of choosing connection.
“The joyful courage 10 challenge was thought provoking and helpful. Each message was like receiving a warm hug of wisdom on how to not only be focused, but to really enjoy every part of parenting. “ – Carly H, mama of two
#JoyfulCourage10 is 10 days of exploring and practicing the parent you want to be through daily support and inspiration. You will receive text messages to encourage and inspire you around the daily theme, as well as deeper conversations and live support in the Joyful Courage Facebook group. Best of all? YOU decide your level of engagement.
We start August 24th– I would love to have you join us!
Peace, love and parenting – Casey

Casey O’Roarty, Med, is a wife, mama, Positive Discipline Trainer and Coach, doing her best to walk her talk on the daily with her own two kids.  For more information on offers, her blog, or to check out the podcast, head over to www.joyfulcourage.com.