“The first step to take is to recognize that ALL emotions are healthy. In our culture, feelings such as joy, peace, and courage are seen as good feelings, yet feelings such as sad, mad, and scared are seen as bad feelings. Let’s rethink this to understand that it is not the feeling itself that creates negativity; it is the lack of expression of the feeling that creates negativity. And in children, this negativity is often expressed through poor behaviors.” ~ Heather T Forbes
It always amazes me how a genuine, simple acknowledgment of one’s feelings will almost instantly relieve the tension and transform into positive energy. This often leads to feeling understood, accepted and normal. Being receptive, sensitive, and in tuned to other’s needs and unique qualities builds trust and gives them the confidence to move on. And even though I have experience this beautiful transformation time and time again, I can still get caught up in the moment and react, especially when I am under stress. I have been blessed to have been able to witness this philosophy truly work which helped me learn to accept my children’s as well as my own negative feelings as we all need a safe place to process those big and often conflicting feelings. I discovered that my own negative reactions to behaviors were often a symptom of me not understanding or needing to nurture myself. I am grateful I read Heather’s book and see her in person. She gave me the permission I was unconsciously seeking to parent my child from a place of unconditional love and acceptance, and not from fear.
“Children need unconditional love and unconditional acceptance from their parents; we all know this and believe this. However, do we ever stop to consider how so many of the traditional parenting techniques accepted in our culture work contrary to this primal goal? Traditional parenting techniques that involve consequences, controlling directives, and punishment are fear-based and fear-driven. They have the ability to undermine the parent/child relationship and because they are tied into behavior, children easily interpret these actions to mean, “If I’m not good, I am not lovable.” Thus, children often build a subconscious foundation that says that love and approval is based off of performance…
So the next time your child becomes defiant, talks back, or is simply “ugly” to you, work to be in a place not to react to the behavior, but respond to your child. Respond to your child in an open way—open to meeting him in his heart and helping him understand the overload of feelings that are driving the behaviors. He doesn’t need a consequence or another parental directive at that moment; he just needs you to be present with him. As your children learn to respond back to you through the parent-child relationship, they won’t have the need to communicate through negative behaviors anymore. You’ll both have more energy for each other, building a relationship that will last a lifetime.”
Please click the link to read the full article: Parenting Beyond Consequences By Heather T. Forbes, LCSW
The good news, everything can be healed in safe, nurturing and responsive relationships today. Every day is a new day to try again and you have the power to create more of what you need.
Take wonderful care,
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Disclaimer: Positive Reframe shares resources with the intent of the positive progression of informed decision making related to issues associated with emotional, relational, physical and spiritual wellness. While I share personal and professional perspectives, my writings reflect my personal opinion and not intended to substitute professional advice, diagnosis, and treatment. The online medium does not lend itself to the level of detail and rapport building required for thorough assessment and therapeutic intervention. Thus the content shared on this page is for informational purposes only. To make well-informed decisions that best meet your family’s unique needs, I highly recommend exploring and researching available options, consulting primary health care providers, engaging in respectful dialogue with friends and family as well as seek referrals from a trusted source for professional counseling. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy in the state Illinois, USA