I truly believe one of the greatest skills we can recognize and develop further in ourselves is compassion. With compassion we are able to truly understand and then share love.
Children are a good place to start because not only do they benefit from our calmly driven guidance, but we tend to be more understanding of, forgiving towards, and patient with where they have yet to grow. Children have a way of bringing out tenderness in each of us that we can learn from and then move on to applying that compassion to others in our lives that we may not be so naturally tolerant of, perhaps our colleagues, our ex's, the homeless, those we see as different or less than.
I thought this would be a perfect place to take the opportunity to understand these special people in our lives and all they have to teach and grow within ourselves if we will only step down from our place of "authority" and instead put our efforts on really teaching our kids how to make decisions rather than try to get them to do what we tell them to do. Not only does this add permanent value to THEIR lives, but it teaches us to be more accepting and tolerant to understand other people's view points and work together from a place of difference.
Let's start with a biggie...how we speak.
How we speak and the words we choose can make all the difference...not just for your day but for your child's sense of self. I hear it in my clinic all the time, "Why won't they just LISTEN to me? I'm right, why won't they just do what I'm telling them to?" Okay, so yes, here are the magical phrases that will make your kids do your bidding like obedient little minxes.
Ha, just kidding, they don't really exist. But it got your attention didn't it? Because face it: Sometimes we want to believe that life would be more peaceful if people would just do what WE wanted them to do, starting with your kids. And therein, you can appreciate the humor, because this is not a possible, nor worthy task by any right. In the long run, it really WOULDN"T make your life easier because then NOBODY would be able to do anything without YOU! Is that really what you want? Maybe that should be the first topic of conversation. We are here as guides, doing for our kids what they themselves are not safely capable enough to do for themselves. We help lessen the burden of hardship as they grow and develop their maturity.
Having said all that, you can understand that these little souls really are independent in their own right, have a greatness all their own, and just need experiences and encouragement that can set their wings free. Doing so during their childhood years can be a challenge as they learn of their own independence, and the fact that they, just like you, like things a certain way. Apple doesn't fall far from the tree does it?
Knowing this, we can establish an environment of honor and respect among ALL family members no matter how young or old. So, truly, yes, there are some wonderfully empowering phrases that will get their attention to let them know that you "get" them.
Now, I know, the common theory in the past has been around "validating their feelings", something like, "You feel mad...I see you want that..." I'm not saying those are bad and heaven's sake, use them if they work. But I found that what would work if someone said it to ME would generally work with my kids. Helpful people tried these "feeling phrases" when I found myself confined to a wheelchair a few years back. I was hanging on for dear life and these phrases drove me crazy! I asked myself why these bothered me so much when they clearly were just trying to help me. I think it was because underneath the surface of the "feeling phrases" was really the sense of frustration that he/she didn't want to show and was trying hard not to, rather than being honest with me. It felt passive aggressive, like something was wrong with me for feeling what I felt. It also felt pandering. I just wanted someone to help me cope, give me tools for being okay, not poo pooing me, placating me just to calm me down. I was un-calm for a reason, and I needed to work it through. Our kids are the same. Did you know that kids deal very honestly with their emotions, and that's why they don't hang on to things? They let the pain of the situation, the emotion of the problem work entirely through them, as in a tantrum or outburst, tears or yelling. And once released they don't hang on to it. We, however, as adults have been taught to "be nice" don't be a "burden", don't air your laundry in public, etc. I'm not saying we have to start being a mouthpiece with our emotions, but if we acknowledged them and learned to cope with what is real and honest, maybe we wouldn't be harboring so much anger, pain, and hostility at times.
Back to my point: There are some phrases I find that can be instant game changers with my kids. The big point is that I am trying to emit the understanding and compassion I feel in my heart, and give coping skills and tools at the same time. My hope and intention is that they can get through the tough stuff, they can feel empowered that they did, and all the while know they were supported and weren't left to fall.
1. I love you.
Seems straight to the point, but sometimes when there is nothing you can say, but you know the problem is real, whether they are sad, mad, hurt, whatever. Just saying I love you helps them refocus on powerful vibrations of love rather than the lower vibrations they are currently feeling, reminds them that they are not alone, that there is time to breathe.
2. You can do this.
Sometimes don't you as well, just need to be told that someone believes in you? As loving parents, we so often interfere in our kids' life lessons to make it faster, less painful, less inconvenient. We simply need to stand by at the ready and give them the chance to figure it out. Enough said.
3. I know you can.
Slight variation on #2, but speaks volumes differently. "You" can do this puts their attention on themselves and gives them back their own strength. "I" know you can is really just you recognizing that they are feeling lost and "need mommy"and by adding "I know you can" to "You can do this" is very powerful. They need to hear mom knows the answers. Whether they are threenagers, tweens or teenagers, everyone needs to know mom or dad is there. Remember being sick and mom or dad were who you wanted? Plus, kids look up to their parents, until a certain age that varies for every kid, parents are heroes. Having someone so "powerful" say this phrase to you. Wow! Just think if Jesus walked up to you in the street where you were crying and instead of him performing a miracle to fix your woe, which he could easily do and does for a reason, instead he said, "I know you can". Holy cow! YOU believe in ME? Powerful!
4. I trust you.
A little of the same feeling as above, but maybe more importantly, it reminds YOU that you need to trust the process also. It shows them you believe they are capable of making good decisions. Of course, you have conveniently laid out the few options or opportunities to choose from. As they are older, these appear as suggestions, only AFTER you have asked them what their options are, and only AFTER they have asked for your advice. Remember, trust, honor, respect, guiding not overtaking, non-interference, and encouragement.
5. This is your responsibility.
No, I am not your servant. Yes, you can do this. Yes, if you want this you need to help yourself. You are capable and this is for you to take care of. It is not said coldly, but the keys are handed over that they are in charge of their own happiness. If you do everything for them, not only do you add stress and an empty cup to your equation, but you take away the fantastic opportunity they have to grow to be giving productive members of the community. Instead of teaching them to expect things to be done For you, that you don't have to work for anything, and taking advantage of people, you teach them to not only help themselves and grow, but that turns around into helping others because they can and it's empowering. They learn that they are not here to be entitled, but that they are here to be responsible for what they CAN do.
You can see, it isn't about getting them to do what you want(which I'm assuming, is be peaceful)but that ability to know you understand, are there for them and believe in them will encourage them to grow maturity, bringing you the peace you so desire.
Of course, all of these phrases work best if you have set up an environment that is kind, patient and un-hurried. Where you have planned ahead, are organized and prepared, and have set positioning in your home where responsibility and success are POSSIBLE for every one of your kids.
Now, if I've gained your attention, I will endeavor to say....did you notice these are not only phrases for your kids, but perhaps something you could say to yourself? As centers of our family, as glue for their cohesiveness, as the decision makers that set the stage for their health and character, it starts with us. Say these things to yourself, believe them, empower yourself, and it will be easier for you to let God move for your kids' every need instead of you.
Then, move on to allowing this same kind of compassion to work through you towards others. In many ways, we are teaching our kids how to empower themselves, and also how we want them to empower others. Through compassion we create a world that works for all.
Wild Blessings as you enjoy this narrow window of opportunity that we are given with our kids!
Was this article helpful? Comment below or send feedback
Like what you see? See all DrFoodie has to offer.
Join our monthly teleclass and keep learning!
Like this article? Subscribe to this blog’s RSS feed using: https://drfoodie.live/blogs/news.atom
I'm also excited to announce the latest in our panel of offerings...the Health Rocks Cafe is coming soon! Health Rocks Cafe is the educational vitality cafe open 24/7 playing out in an online experience where you can meet, hang out, and learn with others who want to learn the wellness tips and tricks to keep yourself healthy and get healthy when you're not! Unique menu style education you can pick and choose, growing as you learn! It's Coming! Take a Sneak Peak HERE (it won't allow you to register yet) so Sign up here to stay informed and take part when we're up and running!