I am a big proponent of developing emotional intelligence. I know that because I learned about emotions as an adult, I was able to build a strong emotional base for my relationship with my daughter while she was growing up. Because I had an understanding of and handle on my own emotions, i could keep from being triggered with her behavior. This led to me being present to her needs rather than involved in just my own.
The parenting ego can create a wall between ourselves and our children so we are no longer present for their emotional needs. A dad I am coaching could see how threats along with a heightened power struggle could emerge when he wanted his son to get ready for bed. Pulling out a threat came quite naturally, “If you don’t get your pajamas on now, you can’t play angry birds tomorrow.” Right away the dad is an adversary, pulling out the big guns.
What about instead if the dad used play as a means to working together to get his pajamas on? Lawrence J. Cohen wrote a wonderful book, Playful Parenting, that teaches parents how to build cooperation through play. His son would start running around, playing on the rocking horse and hiding. How about instead of using threats, make what he is doing into a game. “Now, before you put on pajama, you need to run around the room 3 times, rock on the horse 3 times and hide until i find you.” He has used play in the past, so i know he will continue to grow in his playfulness. Sometimes we just need a third person to help point out how we are emotionally disconnecting from our children.
I just viewed a beautifully composed video posted in 2008 from an organization promotion emotional literacy for children. Please enjoy.
©2012 Cynthia Klein has been a Certified Parent Educator since 1994. She works with dads, moms and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children of all ages. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking, webinars, and private parent coaching sessions. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and writes the Middle School Mom column for the magazine Parenting on the Peninsula. Contact Cynthia at bridges 2 understanding, bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com or call 650. 341.0779.