Feeling from a child’s perspective
Today I had a wonderful session with one of my coachees- a dad with a 2 year- old son.
Tony ( not his real name) mentioned often in the sessions, how, as a little child, he would look forward to seeing his dad come home from work; how the very presence of his dad meant so much to him and how, to this day, he wished his dad had spent more time with him when he was a child.
This also reminds me of the interview Oprah had with President Obama when he was asked what his daughters said when they were asked ” why I love my daddy.” Pres. Obama replied ,” the one that touched me most was when Malia said”, “When I smile, you smile, and when I cry you cry, and when I’m happy , you’re happy.”
I would think that many of us, parents, and I am not an exception , don’t take even a moment in a day, to reflect on how much our children look up to us, how much they value us and how much we mean to them. We forget that they need us to be their leader, their navigator, their shining star. We forget that we are their best source of inspiration and that we are their best cheerleaders. And many times, we fail to see that sometimes a tanrum,or a whine is just a signal asking for our attention, or a hug or just an appreciation- or maybe even just an acknowledgement that I am here.
We are so busy trying to make our life and our children’s lives very comfortable and provide them sufficiently so they are, at least, at par with their peers, that we completely fail to remember that our children need us even more than anyone else.
Now, as I become more and more aware of how and what makes a child strong and brave and confident, I see that it really is all about us, parents, being mindful of who our child is. It is taking the time and being conscious of knowing her/his strengths,and limitations, what triggers her/him to anger,and what makes her/him happy. Mindfullness- really being in the present moment with her/him, feeling what she/he is feeling, thinking what she/he is thinking and actually connecting, spending that moment each day just making it her/his time , and rassuring her/him in all ways that whoever she/he is, is okay by us. It is simply rejoicing in who she/he is , embracing everything about her/him- all her/his gifts and flaws.
When our child is having a tantrum or misbehaving, instead of shouting at the top of our voice and trying to take control of the situation, it would help to pause for a moment, take a deep breath and think, ” What is my child feeling or experiencing that is causing her/him to behave this way?” What are my intentions? Is my goal to convince my child that she/he is wrong and and I am right, or is it to trully understand how she/he is thinking and where is the emotion coming from? Shall I be with her/him in this particular problem or at her/him? What do I want my child to take away from this experience?When our child sees and feels that we can be with her/him without judgements during her trying moments, this gives her/him a sense of stability and somehow lessens the fears that surround her/him during that time.
When we try our best to really LISTEN to our child, we will be amazed at how wonderful she/he is; how many great ideas she/he has and how contributory she/he can be, no matter how small she/he is. And the best part of it all- it will fill your heart with this beautiful warmth of affection,knowing that this little angel is with us, without judgements, no matter what our decsions may be. I remember one time when my daughter was 5 years old and she saw me pondering on my desk, anxious over whether to move to a new job or stay in my old job, and continue to be unhappy. She looked at me with questions in her eyes. I could sense she felt how I was feeling at that moment. I told her my concern and why it was important to me to move to a new job and also expressed my fears of being in a new environment and people. She merely hugged me and said, ” whatever you choose, mom, for as long as you are happy”. I could never forget that feeling of relief and consolation. That hug gave me the strength to move forward and not look back. I encourage you, today, to take your first baby step and give your child that moment all to her/his own. I encourage you to ‘feel’ how it is from her/his mind and give her/him that same warm affection that she/he is in a safe, trusting place, without any judgement, no matter what. I encourage you to not waste time to try because soon, your child will be a grown-up and this one tool will be the very tool that will help her through the turbulent times.