I suppose it has been going on since the beginning of time, children in trouble. And I suppose, to feel alone while going through troubles, also, has quite a history.
Today’s post will identify some patterns that cloud our ability as parents, to truly assist our children when they are in trouble. These patterns are mind grooves, which are more satisfying to our egos- enhancing our selfishness, ignorance and fear, but WILL NOT help our child who is in trouble. But first we must be willing to SEE WHAT IS, and remember this is about them, and not us.
- Worry & Fear I have one child I don’t worry about. I have another I do. With this child, my eyes, one would think are a bit wider, paying attention a bit more. But quite honestly, even while in the womb, this little girl, of 11 now, troubled me. We were told she might have Down’s Syndrome, but as it turned out she just had a lot of hair. But even so, this child of mine is different. She is the one, I saw on the side of the road after the car accident. She is the one who carries such intensity, it overwhelms even me, who also carries intensity. My own fear and worry for her, and overwhelm, has often prevented me from seeing where and who she is, and what she truly needs from me.
What I am learning, is there is a space, not often easy to get to, beyond the fear and worry, that is in a way neutral, and intensely focused on our child, and only our child. In this space, we face what we must and assist how we must. We can fall apart later. Just knowing there is a space beyond worry and fear, can be enough for us to get there, if this is what we intend.
- But, you don’t understand my child would never do that. I had a friend once say, his young daughter of five, wouldn’t get into trouble, that somehow he, as a parent, would not have to deal with it. He wasn’t kidding. I knew then, having older children, she probably will surprise him. As uncomfortable as it is, we must open our eyes and really SEE our children. They too, are developing patterns and mind grooves, and showing us how they perceive and deal with the world around them, and beyond them. Seeing might even save their lives.
- Where did I go wrong? This question can haunt us, and seem perfectly justifiable, but depending on the kind of trouble your child is in- how does pondering this question serve them? We must instead wonder what is immediate right now. This isn’t to say, self-reflection as a parent is not necessary, but it is only useful if we can truly SEE with understanding where we might have abandoned them and correct it now, and for the future. It is not useful to just sit and swim in.
- I miss the little girl she was….We wonder where the smiley, happy, child went, especially in pre-adolescence and adolescence. We want them to stay innocent. We are afraid for them. We remember our adolescence. Maybe have regrets. When they were little, they talked our ears off and we were tired after a long day, but at least they were happy. At least they talked. As we know we can’t go back, but we can be with them where they are.
- Punishing. Yelling, and other behaviors that arise from feeling out of control, and only serve to shame. Often our children keep secrets because they think we will yell at them, even if we aren’t yelling parents, but secrets keep our children sick. We need to hold a space for them to share what they do, how they feel and what they think. My parents provided a safe enough container for me to tell them the first time I had sex. When I was pregnant at 19. When I was drinking too much in junior high. Speaking saved me. Their support made it easier to stay “saved.”
As difficult as it might be, just listen. Look at them. Hear them. Hold the space, and remember you are their parent first and foremost. Our job is to guide them, and that is what they need, and sometimes you might need to get really firm and absolute, and say -ENOUGH. It is also time, after all these years and years and years and years of shame, coming from the church, the school, the household, to say ENOUGH to shame, and break that old, tired cycle.
- I have no right to go through their ipods, phones, computer...Privacy is a privilege for those still in our nest. I didn’t use to know this because child number one had a strong desire to please and be a “good girl,” so she had a lot of space and privacy. This is the way I prefer to parent, but child number two shows me she needs less space and more restriction. What is terrifying about our culture for me right now, is the access to technology. There are networks “out there” that support suicide. Eating disorders. Cutting. Our children, even at 11 or younger are being subjected to thoughts, ideas that are very distrubing.
Maybe this is too much information, but I remember being 10 years old and walking into my mother’s boyfriend’s room and seeing pornography for the first time. I was horrified. I felt assualted. At 10, 11, 12- even 13, 14 and 15 we are still innocent, close to the womb, or as Lilli said as a little girl, close to the “The Place Called Love.” These images and words and thoughts are too much for them. They are carrying too much. And it is confusing because they think being exposed to this means they understand, and they don’t. In fact, their young brains won’t even allow for it. They are not developed enough to process through such things, so if you feel your child is in trouble, investigate, and know you are doing it because you are looking for signs to see what she or he is going through, so you can assist, and let them know, you know. Secrets keep our children sick.
What we all really want to know, beyond all of our patterns and mind grooves, is- do the people in my life know how I much I love them. As we reconnect to this, we will always do what’s right.
The Soul Reporter