A glimpse into one boy’s emotional development

When my son was six years old, I had two teachers suggest that my son was “emotionally immature.” Honestly, these complaints were very hard for me to swallow on many levels, especially since I am passionate about emotional intelligence and helping children to cope with emotions.

I, as respectfully as possible, accepted and validated their comments because of course, he is emotionally immature: he’s six years old. I felt defensive, shocked and angered. I just wanted to rip my son away from these people who I had entrusted to care for him. I even home-educate my son because most affordable school environments, in my opinion, are emotionally neglectful and abusive.

I internally chewed long and hard on their statements. I really had to grieve this situation. I typically blame myself whenever negative situations occur and worried intensely if I had messed up somewhere… I felt guilty for adding stress to the teachers; Was I crazy for teaching him to question authority and share his feelings? From their point of view and context, I could see where they were coming from yet it sickened me that this is the mind frame of most.

I want to just shine a bright light on the world about emotional development… You see society tends to think that one is emotionally mature because they handle their emotions. This is true to a degree, but one needs to have opportunities to express their emotions in order to learn how to handle their emotions in various settings and relationships.  There is a learning curve for every new dynamic or experience.

It seems we give kids until about the age of one to three years old to work this out, then we demand they listen and obey us without whining or tantrums. Sadly, what many think as an emotionally mature child is one who is appearing obedient under the guise of actually feeling fear and freezing (like in a state of fight, flight or freeze). They don’t know what to do but have learned that more negative energy will be directed at them if they don’t just stop.  Eventually, this leads to suppressing emotions and even dissociating when triggered in stressful environments. Far worse consequences and dysfunctional patterns develop from here.

Here’s is one my favorite quotes about emotional development and children:

“What is a normal child like? Does he just eat and grow and smile sweetly? No, that is not what he is like. The normal child, if he has confidence in mother and father, pulls out all stops. In the course of time he tries out his power to disrupt, to destroy, to frighten, to wear down, to waste, to wrangle, and to appropriate…At the start he absolutely needs to live in a circle of love and strength (with consequent tolerance) if he is not to be fearful of his own thoughts and his images to make progress in his emotional development.”

-Donald W. Winnecott, The Child, The Family, and the Outside World

Now, back to my sweet, sensitive son… Anyone who knows him well has seen his empathetic, kind, and resilient nature as well as his ability to regulate himself. He started initiating group hugs when he was two and doing the meditative “umm” when he was in pre-school to calm down. He made a dragon from Legos to guard his baby sister’s ashes and deeply mourned the loss of his great-grandma. When I am stressed, he echoes the words of the sage in me. He’s my buddha boy, and this is just a quick snapshot of the gracious qualities he shines upon his family and dearest friends.

During this same period of time, my son was overwhelmed by contradictory messages. He would complain about how come he often sees other kids hitting other kids and their siblings. I validate that it is confusing and may seem unfair yet stress he has learned a special skill and can control himself even when he feels so angry. I describe how many others are still in the process of learning to control their emotions and behaviors and how their brain gets flooded and they can’t get to their loving, smart files.

He also would ask why he cries so much but no one else seems to cry. He agonized about what’s wrong with him and feels stupid that he cries so easily. I validate his pain yet stress that he cries because he has a big heart: he cares so much about what people think of him and the quality of work he produces. That although he appears weak and dramatic by society’s expectations for “normal boy” behavior, he is indeed strong, brave, spirited and willful. Sadly, with so few kids to empathize with him, he was starting to wish he didn’t care so much.

Another sad part of all this is that when a kid, or even an adult for that matter, is being emotional, that can actually be a sign of trust; that they feel somewhat safe to process their hard and vulnerable feelings with you.  Emotional outbursts are opportunities for connection and growth yet we as listeners can’t often handle the feelings. We feel too uncomfortable and just want to contain them as quickly as possible. Teachers fear they are disturbing learning environment instead of seeing it as an intense learning experience. Even with my successful experiences of utilizing intense emotions, I still get triggered by fear and just want to stop the discomfort and run away. It is also hard to be compassionate and present with an angry child especially when the child in you just wants to fight back.

The next time a child is giving you grief, take a deep breath and give them the gift of your presence, attention, a warm embrace, a shoulder to cry on and listen. You don’t even need to think of things to say just be still, present and listen. If it feels right, reflect only what you are hearing them say like identify feelings.

‎”When children feel understood, their loneliness and hurt diminish. When children are understood, their love for their parent is deepened. A parent’s sympathy serves as emotional first aid for bruised feelings. When we genuinely acknowledge a child’s plight and voice her disappointment, she often gathers the strength to face reality.” ~Haim Ginott

I recommend the book Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Boys by Michael Thompson, Ph.D. & Dan Kindlon, Ph.D.

http://michaelthompson-phd.com/books/raising-cain/

http://www.pbs.org/parents/raisingboys/

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/11/17/boys-emotional-support_a_23280737/

Here’s also a video on how important it is to meet emotional needs

Take Wonderful Care,

Debra

Learn more about me and Online Therapy services

 

lessons from my son meme (2)

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, and referrals from a trusted source for professional counseling. I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapy in the state of Illinois, USA

lessons from my son

I wrote this poem about my parenting journey with my son which has been published in the book, Poetry of Yoga  by HawaH

I thought I knew it all

                                          Then you were born.

You touched my soul to no end:

          Your cries burrowed a well

                     Stirred my consciousness

                                   Awakened humility

A collaboration of love and labor in its purest form.

I see my reflection in your brilliance and turbulence;

                 Shadows of the past to heal

                                 Vital needs to nurture

                                              Dreams to actualize

You have much to teach me

                                                        I am ready to learn.

 ev smilesmeditation

Teaching responsibility

When my son was three, he had a small snow globe with Pluto the dog in it. Every time he’d play with it, I would say, “Be careful, it is glass so if it falls it will break.” One night, he played with it intensely, not heeding my warning, he dropped it and it shattered. My plutoinitial reaction was one of exasperation and panic as I quickly removed him from the area. I fought back the impulse to snap, “I told you so… you didn’t listen” but I know he still felt that negative energy as he felt horrible, broke down in tears and was inconsolable. My husband and I both hugged him, and I stated, “It is my fault because I should have taken it away from you. I knew better.” I calmly as possible suggested he go play with his miniature sandbox and he agreed that would make him feel better.

I think many would be taken back that I took responsibility in this situation (and I do this in most parenting situations). I frequently get comments about how will he learn responsibility? How will he learn if there are no consequences? I was first exposed to this response in a training for regulatory parenting. The presenter, Juli Alvarado, gave numerous examples of “taking responsibility” topping with a story about her standing before a judge for a foster child and stating that she will take responsibility for his actions. These stories surprised me because they were counterintuitive to what I was raised to think, but her reasoning, and better yet the progress, sold me.

So I will apply the reasoning to the situation with my son. First off, there were consequences. They were natural and inherent in that specific situation like sadness and grief for a broken cherished item which we never replaced; instant feelings of guilt for knowing he broke the snow globe; added negative feelings from disappointing his mother; time away from his mother whilst cleaning up. Also, I did not take responsibility for him, I took responsibility for my behaviors. To be honest, I have problems setting limits and being firm as well as lacked the tolerance to deal with my son’s negative reaction if I did take the snow globe away. It was not appropriate for me to expect a three-year-old to truly conceptualize the risk and control himself. Ideally, it is the parent who is the one with more knowledge, more experience, more skills, more resources and is responsible for meeting the needs of a child.

By me taking responsibility, I decreased the negative energy (i.e. blame, disappointment, shame) being absorbed by my son as well as calmed myself down. All negative behavior comes from a state of stress (see Stress Model by Dr. Bryan Post ). When we are stressed, we usually react negatively and inappropriately. Scolding, raising my voice, or punishing would only add more stress, which a child (and most humans) can’t handle as well as escalate the situation. It also causes the child to focus on and retain negative feelings about the parent as well as lessen their ability to internalize the actual event and subsequent lesson. When we are calm, we are able to respond gently by becoming aware of as many variables as possible and collaboratively problem solve effectively. I was also role-modeling for my son how to take responsibility.

Teaching Responsibility = Role-Modeling the Ability to identify your role in the negative dynamic & Respond appropriately to get needs met

I believe we all deserve respect and compassion so “appropriately” to me means with respect, compassion, and guidance based on context, skill level, and temperament. There are complaints that there is not enough discipline and kids have no respect anymore. I agree in part as many are behaving how they are treated. I believe discipline means to teach and to control oneself, and that everyone deserves respect, especially children, and our society is extremely disrespectful to children. I think we need more positive, respectful, and responsible role models.

I can’t tell you how many times I hear a parent or adult snap “Don’t you raise your voice to me!” in their elevated and harsh tone, and the countless other times that parents lose control of themselves. Another common parenting contradiction is “Don’t hit her sister/brother!” then threat…”I’ll spank you if…” and then the child witnesses or experiences domestic violence. I once heard Dr. Bruce Perry comment, “If you speak English, you learn English; if you speak rudeness, violence, anger, then you learn rudeness, violence, anger…”How is one able to learn respect and empathy when they are rarely given any? Or only given when certain conditions are met depending on someone else’s mood or power?

I really wish adults would become aware of their power, their feelings, and mood as well as notice all the things they complain about or demand of their child (and partners). Then, I want parents to really reflect on how many times they have committed a similar offense of overreacting with heightened negativity. I continue to do this experiment and I have yet to find a time I have NOT behaved or reacted in a similar, negative way. I then choose to hold my complaint until I have successfully worked on changing my own behavior.  By then, I have gained enough insight and empathy for the person that the original complaint seems hypocritical, unreasonable, and even petty in some cases. A child will learn more positive skills and values from a vulnerable and calm adult who reflects on and changes their own behavior than a defensive and angry person who threatens consequences and dismisses their child’s needs and feelings. I know threats and punishments seem to work, but they work for the wrong reasons and promote more destruction than you can imagine, at so many levels.

So back to my son and the broken snow globe…after about 15 minutes, my son called to me. He said he felt better and asked if I would help put his sandbox away to keep it safe. I did and we went to his room for story time. He immediately went to the spot where he broke the globe and calmly said, “I am sorry Mommy for breaking it.” I accepted his sincere apology and we got back to our bedtime ritual. Reflecting on this event, I wish my response had no shaming tone to it, though I know realistically how difficult it is to have a neutral tone and there is inherent value to have my son experience processing negative reactions from others, especially with people he loves so deeply. Since this event, I learned the benefits of avoiding saying “Be Careful” and to make more specific, related statements. Click here to learn more about what to say instead of “Be Careful”

Parenting is a journey; a portal to growth, healing, and connection and like our best lessons, can only be learned through a conscious and compassionate process of trial and error.  You have no power to change or improve anything if you are not aware of your own role in the dynamics. Fortunately, neuroscience is proving that the brain develops optimally and cultivates positive connections when we are supported by at least one calm, nurturing, and safe caregiver and there are so many fun, respectful, and mutually satisfying ways to achieve this. My son is now a teenager and he amazes me daily with his integrity, empathy, and responsiveness. He consistently role-models responsibility to his younger sister and his peers, he genuinely apologizes and changes his behaviors on his own as well as holds others accountable for their negative reactions. He is the most responsible and compassionate teen I have ever known, and yes, I am biased 🙂

Here are a few of my favorite articles on discipline and natural consequences:

The Word DISCIPLINE Means “to Teach or Train”

What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?

https://www.positivediscipline.com/articles/natural-consequences

What is meant by “Parenting Beyond Consequences” by Heather T Forbes

Take wonderful care of yourself and family,

Debra

You can learn more about me and my services here at WeCounsel

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 of Illinois, USA

Healing Song

I have inherited some devastating negative core beliefs that get triggered easily like when anything goes wrong, I instantly feel that It’s all my fault. When I break something or make a mess, I feel I am a complete failure and utterly stupid. Sadly, I have unconsciously passed this same negative tape onto my son. It has grown more apparent the more I expand my awareness for it. Even though I know they are not true, they still feel very real to my body, mind, and soul and as much I tell myself and my son they are not true, we need to heal and rewrite in the moments we feel them the most.

As we were getting ready to leave the house one day, he boisterously bounced into the wall and a picture frame crashed to the floor. As I am aware that things breaking are one of my triggers, my body viscerally reacted negatively. Almost simultaneously, my son hung his head down saying  ”I’m so stupid.” As soon as possible, I told myself out loud to “let it go” and move onto to next step. Unexpectedly, he went back to the frame to try to fix it and I reacted negatively again as I was afraid he’d get hurt from glass and we were under a time crunch.

His head hung in shame again, he stammered toward the door, muttering “It’s all my fault.”

The next feelings and thoughts poured through me in a matter of milliseconds….At first I was filled with anger and disappointment of how could he feel so bad about himself; how I don’t have the time to deal with this now; how many times do we have to go through this…then feelings of guilt and shame came of  how could I have let this self-hatred seep into my son’s self-consciousness and how come I cannot heal us both and get over it…

I caught the negative tape going wild in my mind and chose to give myself and my son the same love and compassion I wish to give everyone.

As my son turned the door handle to escape outside, I told myself I must not let him start his day this way. I ran to him as boisterously as he bounced into the wall just moments before, pulled his head up and bellowed “Raise your head.” As this was happening so quickly, I could still feel the tension in my hands.  His look instantly told me to get my body, tone, and words to match the message of love I wanted to give. I hugged him and began singing,

I love you no matter what glass breaks.

I kissed him in tune to my melody on his cheek and I looked at his eyes as they began to well up. I continued to sing:

I love you no matter what breaks.

again I repeatedly kissed him on his cheek and as I saw tears beginning to fall, I sang:

You could knock the house down and all I would care is that you were safe and sound.

followed with more kisses, he tearfully said,

“That is the kindest thing I have ever heard.”

I responded that every word of it was true and we hugged. His younger sister who was watching the whole thing then joyfully pleaded, “I want kisses on the cheek too.” We went on to have a great day and I believe some of those negative messages have healed.

How embracing negativity brings positivity…

“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,

Debra

You can learn more about me and my services here at WeCounsel

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

Conflict Reframe

Conflict, or times of significant stress, can often be the greatest opportunities for connection, healing, and growth when you learn to embrace the negativity and trust the journey. It is scary to be vulnerable and even though I have experienced the benefits of this experience, a part of me still gets triggered to fear and naturally wants to resist and that’s OK. It matters more how we choose to respond, to love ourselves and everyone else through. ~Debra

“Conflict can be a sign of where we are in conflict with ourselves: It can signal an unmet need that we’ve ignored for too long. It can give us a clue to where the fire’s burning so we can find ways to put it out instead of letting it spread and destroy us. It can point to where we’re stuck in our lives. It can invite us into awareness and reduction of stress. It can alert us to the first symptoms of illness. Conflict also can help us cultivate deeper connection: It can show us what’s unresolved in our hearts that keeps showing up in our lives and in our relationships until we confront it. Conflict resolution is a way of being rather than a method of getting along. When we practice being conflict resolutionaries, our children learn to embrace conflict as safe, fleeting, and a compassionate window into our humanity.” ~Lu Hanessian

My grandest positive reframe…

*Trigger warning for pregnancy loss*

On September 19th, 2007, I gave birth to a beautiful girl named Anais. She had ten fingers, ten toes, and a delicate face. When she was born, the doctor exclaimed, “She’s perfect,” yet she was dead…

I used to have a visceral reaction when I heard the word ‘perfect.’ I would cringe, feeling angry and focused on what I had lost trying to live to those expectations. When I heard the doctor describe Anais as ‘perfect,’ I felt offended and thought “she’d be perfect if she was alive.” My reaction was normal under the circumstances (20+ hours of labor and three pregnancy losses) but now I can see that she is perfect.

In order to achieve this positive perspective, I had to give myself permission and space to:

  1. Express and process through all my negative feelings and thoughts,
  2. Be validated for my loss, and
  3. Redefine life, perfection, and all its components.

Merriam-Webster defines perfect as a: being entirely without fault or defect, b: satisfying all requirements, c: corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept.

How could one be human and perfect at the same time?885711_10200369643260248_1620706323_o

What we perceive as faults, requirements, or the ideal depends greatly on context. Some faults are strengths in different situations. When you do not meet all the requirements for one position, you may very well open the door to a better one. There are many different paths to reach the same endpoint…

Thus perfection has evolved to mean when my behaviors, thoughts, and feelings are harmonious and encourage me on the path that most honors my authentic self as well as evokes deep connections with others. My baby angels and all children are guides for me on this perfect path. Embracing loss, chaos, negativity, discovering my true self and seeing all the miracles we take for granted is perfection and a grand leap to peace.

As my partner eloquently describes “I am forever grateful for this loss. It was the beginning of my great realignment with my true compassionate self. A life not measured by accomplishment but treasured through connection. She is always with me, tempering my anger, flattening my ego and helping me keep my hand outstretched with kindness and generosity.”

Upon deeper reflection, I discovered another gift that Anais’s and my other babies’ deaths gave me, they were wake-up calls for me to prioritize and nurture myself. Anais especially as I’ll never forget her last movement…I was at work late faxing documents to a lawyer. I was an in-home intensive family therapist for the department of human services dealing with gut-wrenching scenarios. I chose to minimize my discomfort and fears to keep working. Even though I went through a period of self-blame, I know that everything that happens to us has value and meant to teach us. I could not have done anything differently at that point yet I now cherish every day a gift as you never know when it will be your last.

Below is what I sent all my extended family to inform of my daughter’s death…

27797820_1721594484530399_5080444741376729075_o.png

Here are some resources on your journey:

“First off — we need a new word for it. ‘Mis-carriage,’ in an insidious way, suggests fault for the mother — as if she dropped something, or failed to ‘carry.’ From what I’ve learned, in all but the most obvious, extreme cases, it has nothing to do with anything the mother did or didn’t do. So let’s wipe all blame off the table before we even start.” ~James Van Der Beek, via  https://www.today.com/parents/james-van-der-beek-opens-about-miscarriages-emotional-moving-post-t137092

https://www.seleni.org/advice-support/miscarriage-child-loss

http://www.postpartumprogress.com/13-things-you-should-know-about-grief-after-miscarriage-or-baby-loss

https://www.famifi.com/21409/how-to-help-when-your-wife-has-a-miscarriage

http://time.com/3982471/men-are-the-forgotten-grievers-in-miscarriage/

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-grief-and-loss.htm

https://www.mendinginvisiblewings.com/

https://pregnancyafterlosssupport.com/

Take wonderful care of yourself and family ❤

Debra

TRUST vs fear

When I first saw this slide it was entitled “Love based parenting vs Fear-based parenting.” Fear induces the release of stress hormones which over time has many negative effects. Ocytocin is our loving, bonding hormone which promotes optimal development, positivity, and connection. This visual displays vividly the continuum I feel in my heart, the dichotomy that exists in our society, and the constant conflict I face when I show others love-based responses. As I have been counseling families since 2001, I now prefer to say trust-based responses.

Sadly, much of traditional parenting is fear-based and punitive. I believe punishment is any fear-based reaction by caregiver that deprives child of a vital need, adds toxic levels of stress and the child has no safe place to process, express and have new understanding of the overwhelming emotions, behaviors and/or events. Most times when I witness parents interact with their children, they are operating from a fearful lens. Parents tend to view their children’s behavior as a report card that reflects how they are doing as a parent. They fear if the child is behaving this badly now, then they are for certain on a destructible path to failure and hardship in the future. This naturally instantly triggers fear and insecurity for the parent causing them to react negatively, mostly with threats and statements that send a message of mistrust or “What is wrong with you!?”Parents also lack understanding about normal development and have their own build up of unprocessed negative core beliefs, unmet needs, stressors and reactions based on how they were treated when they behaved similarly as children.

I understand how it may seem impossible to believe trust-based responses truly work when you are in the grips of fear and perpetually stressed. One is constantly being triggered into a reactionary state when our stress buckets are full and our vital needs are neglected. Taking deep breaths and becoming mindful of our thoughts, feelings, and actions help us slow down and choose an appropriate loving and respectful RESPONSE to relieve stress and get everyone’s needs met. Feeling safe and understood is VITAL for optimal growth and connection. Please fear less, LOVE MORE.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~Viktor E. Frankl

The image at top is from this webinar on “Oxytocin and Children” by Dr. Bryan Post and Helen Timpone which you can watch below…I want to comment about how under the “Oxtocin Poor (fear-based) Parenting” list includes using medication which I agree is true when it is the first reaction. I believe medication can be useful yet best to first address other relational and environmental factors to best meet the child’s needs.

I recommend this article by Heath T Forbes on How to explain “Parenting Beyond Consequences”

Read books:

Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control  www.beyondconsequences.com/

From Fear to Love http://postinstitute.com/store/fear-to-love-ebook/

For more about ocytocin read: http://www.amazon.com/Oxytocin-Factor-Tapping-Hormone-Healing/dp/0738207489

 

The Love We All Need and Deserve

 “The essential message of unconditional love is one of liberation: You can be whoever you are, express all your thoughts and feelings with absolute confidence. You do not have to be fearful that love will be taken away. You will not be punished for your openness and honesty…There may be days when disagreements and disturbing emotions may become between us. There may be times when psychological or physical miles may lie between us. But I have given my word of my commitment…So feel free to be yourself, to tell me of your negative and positive reactions. I cannot always predict my reactions or guarantee my strength, but one thing I do know: I will not reject you! I am committed to your growth and happiness… There is nothing else that can expand the human soul, actualize the human potential for growth, or bring a person into the full possession of life than a love which is unconditional. We have labored for so long under the delusion that corrections, criticism, and punishments stimulate a person to grow. We have rationalized the taking out our own unhappiness and incompleteness in many destructive ways…Unconditional love is the only soil in which the seed of a human person can grow…Of course, free will is a factor in every human life. Everyone must say his or her ‘yes’ to growth and integrity. But there are prerequisites. And one of these is someone must empower me to believe in myself and to be myself. ”

 Excerpt from Unconditional Love  by John Powell

Family Hug

This description of love is the epiphany of what I aspire to cultivate. I am blessed to reap the benefits of this intense connection. My marriage has liberated (and challenged) me in ways I have never dreamed of. The problem often comes that although we all deserve unconditional love, when we are not getting it, our fears, negative core beliefs, and most insecure parts of ourselves get triggered.

Our defense mechanisms ensue, resulting in a host of negative reactions and cognitive distortions. We become hyper-focused on the threats and negativity. It very quickly becomes a volcano of negative thoughts, feelings, triggers, unmet needs and hurt. As the unprocessed pain keeps building, our minds, bodies and hearts become overwhelmed with stress, and resentment takes over. This negative chain of reactions unconsciously distorts our efforts to give our love unconditionally as well as thwarting those who wish to give it to us.

I see this pattern push children and adults over the edge and make amok of marriages. We wonder how a couple can be so in love on their wedding day then filing for restraining orders or divorce years later. When I listen to people talk to or about their children and/or partner, I am not surprised by our state of affairs.  So when your child says they hate you, or your partner says they no longer love you (although we usually “act out” way before ever saying this, and kids are more honest and direct), do you retaliate with the things they did wrong or truly listen and empathize with their fears, feelings, pain, and needs?…

We are biologically wired to be in relationship. We need one another to feel seen, safe, soothed, and secure. We will naturally still get triggered and activate defense mechanisms to protect ourselves but what matters most is how we choose to respond and get needs met in proactive, nurturing ways once we are aware of out negative reactions. We heal best and regain trust through connection, when we feel safe and supported in a relationship with another. Every moment is a gift to transform fear to love, suffering to resilience, reaction to response. We are all born with the innate resources we need to choose wisely. Slow down, notice what you are sensing… breathe…this will connect you to your innate intelligence so you may choose to respond and align your intentions with your actions and thoughts.