It takes courage to listen. It takes courage to become close to your children. We have to become vulnerable and feel our feelings. We also feel our children’s feelings. Most parents can’t listen to their children’s sufferings. It triggers their own deep suffering that has been lingering in their emotional limbic system for a long time. Most parents try to take away their children’s suffering so they don’t have to feel their own suffering. They tell their children how wonderful they are, they tell them to stop whining, they tell them that they don’t want to hear unpleasant feelings.
Children try and try to be heard by their parents. They eventually give up. Instead, the children bury their own hurt feelings in their limbic system to be stored away. These feelings forever influence their future actions without knowing it. The cycle of hurt continues. These children tell their parents that they hate them, that they are mean, that they don’t listen and can’t wait to get away from them. Or the scarier option is that the children shut the door and speak no more. The feelings fester inside and destructive behaviors emerge. They become destructive towards themselves and others.
Their parents wonder, what is wrong? Why is my child acting this way? Do they need psychological help? Do they need drugs to fix them? Perhaps, we should ship them away and let someone “straighten them out” then we’ll accept them back.
These parents take no responsibility for their children’s negative reactions to their world based on hurt, fear and humiliation. I want to help parents break this cycle and see what is going on. I want to help parents learn how to be close to their children; to be their mentor in life. To be the stable force in their children’s lives so that children can shed their fears and tears in safety. So they don’t have to carry them their whole lives and infest their interactions with their own children.
In my Mother’s Day card, my then 21 year-old daughter wrote, “I love you and appreciate you more and more each day. I am honored and proud to call you mom. When I am not strong enough to stand up, I do it for you. I do it because I know you love me too. To hurt me is to hurt you and to hurt you is the last thing I could ever want. So I fight. So I stay strong.”
I had to learn many new ways of believing and being to build this relationship with my daughter. Everything I know can be learned. I want to help each one of you on your journey to become your children’s own mentor. You only need to choose to begin.
©2013 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Certified Parent Educator since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children of all ages. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking and private parenting coaching sessions. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and writes the Middle School Mom column for the Parenting on the Peninsula magazine. She works with parents of 4 – 25 year-old children. Contact Cynthia at bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com, cynthia@bridges2understanding,com, or 650. 679.8138 to learn more about creating the relationship you want with your children.