Have you noticed getting triggered by your children lately?
If you’ve found yourself asking them a hundred times to get in the shower, get off their phones, play nice, do their homework or watch their attitude, you’re not alone in feeling exhausted and frustrated.
Parenting is no walk in the park and parenting teens and pre-teens is a whole different ballgame. During those years, the usual quarrels quickly escalate from a four to an eight and many parents feel blind-sighted and lost.
If your children are nearing adolescence (preadolescence begins around 9-10 years old), you’ve probably asked yourself once or twice what took over your sweet little children. All of the sudden, they’ve gone from being sweet as pie to mouthing off and questioning everything you’re saying as if you were born yesterday.
While the change in their behavior may indicate the beginning stages of adolescence, often, rude, defiant, or irrational behavior stems from feeling disconnected or disempowered.
When our children misbehave, act entitled, or lie, we lose our cool. How is it possible that they know exactly which buttons to push? How did they get to have so much power over our emotions? I know because I used to ask myself the same question. How does this little person know how to get on my last nerve? It was like he had a secret map of all my vulnerable places and went there…at least once a day.
Having gone through my own parenting transformation, I was shocked to discover that our children, or anyone else, for that matter, don’t have power over how we behave or respond to them. That power is within us, and it’s up to us to learn how to use it.
I think it’s safe to say that parenting is filled with plenty of hair-raising moments and in the heat of a moment, many of us feel like we only have two choices — to scream or punish. When our children push our buttons, our first reaction is to take things very personally and allow our ego to get the best of us. We begin to lose control of the situation and respond from an uncentered place.
Whether we like it or not, the reality is that our kids are going to screw up.
This fact doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s always a reflection of our ability as a parent. At the end of the day, our children are also human, going through their own experiences and trying hard to figure out how to best fit in in this world. They’re just as vulnerable and susceptible to making mistakes as you and I are.
So when we react from a place of anger or frustration to behaviors we don’t agree with, we’re unconsciously sending them a message that what they’re experiencing isn’t important. We then follow up with a dose of judgment or criticism and make our final verdict by taking away privileges or punishing them in some way.
This is our parental ego…
and it’s constantly fighting to remain relevant, so whenever it’s presented with an opportunity, it gets hooked. We essentially lose our ability to teach and guide our children through love, and instead, begin to project all sorts of emotions onto them
Unfortunately, we do this several times throughout their lifetime, and our reactions become their internal voice. They start to see themselves through our eyes and begin identifying with our opinions of them. For example, if we’re constantly coming down on our children for being irresponsible, they’ll have a hard time learning how to become responsible. Here’s why: they’ve internalized our opinions of them and will behave by those opinions.
If our goal is to empower our children and get out of what seems like a never-ending cycle of power-struggles, we must take the lead and change our behavior toward them first.
We must begin to recognize our triggers, pause before reacting to them, and ask ourselves the following questions:
“Will my words or actions help them feel….”
- … connected to me or will they push them away?
- … worthy, despite their mistakes?
- … like they matter, regardless of my beliefs?
When children feel seen, heard, and validated by their parents, they grow up not only feeling confident in their abilities but also feeling more connected to themselves and their family. And when we’re all more connected, there’s less room for power-struggles and more space for guidance and love.
So you see, our power always lies within us and we absolutely have control over it.
Despite what we’ve been taught, no one has the power to make us feel disrespected, angry, or anxious. Those feelings are ours to own and work through. They are not our children’s.
Our children are simply holding up a mirror and asking us to heal those vulnerable pain points so we can parent them differently…perhaps in ways in which our parents couldn’t parent us. This concept is the beauty of the parenting journey, to allow our children to show us the way to enlightenment.
Did you know that our parenting style directly influences our children’s behavior? Take my free quiz to discover your parenting style! You can also come discuss this blog and other topics with me and others in the Wright Wellness Center Therapeutic Online Community aka Facebook Group.When children feel seen, heard, and validated by their parents, they grow up not only feeling confident in their abilities but also feeling more connected to themselves and their family. Click To Tweet