Read on to find out 3 ways to show up for your kids - in their most vulnerable and challenging moments.
How many of you try to make it to your kids soccer games? Or read them a story at bedtime? Or maybe even join in their play at home?
All of those things are wonderful and so appreciated by your children!
But many parents find it more difficult to show up for the "hard stuff." The meltdowns, the challenging behaviors, and the conflicts. I know I used to wish I was anywhere else so I could escape the embarassment and discomfort I felt from my child's behaviors.
What ended up happening was more disconnection and more challenges nagivating the big emotions and tough behaviors.
Today? I am able to be present during these really important times with my boys and have learned how to shift away from managing their behaviors (so I can feel better) to focusing on our connection (so TOGETHER we can help them feel better and keep our connection strong).
The 3 things you can focus on when trying to show up for your kids in their toughest moments, include - Presence, Perserverence, and Purpose!
This is where you commit to be as present as you can be in your body, heart, and mind.
It means that you are willing to practice the art of being exactly where you are, despite how uncomfortable it is or how many other things you need to get done.
You're willing to actively question and break down whatever keeps you from accessing full presence in the moment.
You practice cultivating trust in your intuition so that you can attune to, and appropriately meet, your kids. Exactly where they are, in that moments, and now where we think they "should be."
In real life...what does that look like?
When my 3-year old is crying because he is super tired and wants a bath but doesn't want to take his clothes off for said bath, it's being present with him and attuning to his internal conflict and fatigue.
The bedtime routine could be rushed with some firm directives but he's already in a state of dysregulation. Being more dysregulated means escalted emotions and more resistance. He's exhausted and can't see past the taking off of the clothes to the bath. Taking of his clothes is so not fun and takes soooo long.
Yes, our ultimate goal is to get a bath but being there with him in his frustration and fatigue, and bringing myself into the situation as.it.is will only allow us to connect so we can move forward together.
Being present for me meant grounding my feet into the carpet. Digging my toes into the carpet and then flexing them. It meant taking a deep breath, several of them, and rolling my shoulders. And bringing my awareness to the feel of my son in my arms and the pace of my heart. I then needed to bring my thoughts into focus too. I reminded myself that "he is so tired right now" and "once we can hug and re-regulate we can move on to the bath. We'll get there."
When we can be present, fully present, the answers typically flow and we can follow the connection between ourselves and our child. It will always lead us in the direction we're meant to go.
Parenting is the long game. Hate to break it to you! But when we commit to being fully present, and helping our children build life-long skills, we understand that we will need to be perserverent.
Every day, we consciously commit to the process.
We let go of the mindset that is hyperfocused on immediate results and pushing our kids to do more, faster, and earlier.
We commit to moving through the inevitable ebbs and flows of connection with our children with flexibility and resilience.
So, some days are super tough to stay present and be in the moments with my kids. Some days I need to switch out with my husband before coming back. Some days I mess up and repair. Some days I'm impatient and judgemental.
But the towel's not thrown in.
When we perservere as conscious, responsive, parents we know that no one day is going to ruin all the ways we show up each day. We know that relationships are filled with tough and easy moments and that being flexible allows us to remain connected to ourselves and our kids.
There's a purpose behind our presence. We trust that, what a child needs, of any age, is a caregiver who believes in their relationship and understand the power of their connection.
We don't use connection as a means to an end. We see the connection with our children as the focus and the purpose of our relationship with them.
You will find, time and time again, that connection is the answer.
Pause. Inhale. Exhale.
This is a life-long process. It is never too late to begin and commit to presence. it is never too late to shift away from managing behaviors to prioritizing connection.
Wherever you are in your current capability, capacity, and willingess to show up...it is okay.
You are welcome here.