I am reading a book titled Parenting From the Inside Out, and it’s eye opening. Some of it gets repetitive with multiple large words having the same meanings, but otherwise, it has good content.
It talks about our reactions to our children and why they sometimes are inconsistent with how we would like to be. Basically, if you haven’t dealt with your baggage, it will carry over. BUT, before you roll your eyes and say, “I have heard this a million times,” listen in.
It talks about the science of memories and their developmental link to emotions, and how certain events at certain ages can create physical memories that are irretrievable but nonetheless affect our actions.
My first step is to figure out and pay attention to my triggers. Those of you with children will understand. Sometimes, it’s an annoying habit, or perhaps the fact that they can’t seem to keep clothes from being strewn all over. Perhaps it’s grades, or their lack of responsibility around the house.
Whatever the trigger is, stop before reacting, notice your bodily sensations, and see if anything comes up. At some point, you may have a memory of something seemingly unrelated that created anxiety, or helplessness, or perhaps anger in your past. Often, our habituated responses to our children are in response to something we hate in ourselves, or something we can’t or haven’t dealt with. When we feel helpless ourselves, it can be hard to deal with the neediness of a child. While we want to be sympathetic, sometimes we find ourselves snapping at the child, or walling them off, or denying them joy.
I am not far into the book, and this is highly simplified, so probably misses a lot of the main ideas. I would venture to predict that I will have more to say after reading more of this book, and after being more aware of what is coming up when I am triggered.