Compassion is a state of the heart. It is an intimate state that touches us deeply and connects us lovingly with our children. Compassion is available to us when we are in our hearts. When we are in the busyness of our minds, with all that we have to do or should do, we are not connected with to our hearts. In our day to day reality we often reside primarily in the mind space rather than the heart space, where the mind thinks it’s in control of our actions and reactions trying valiantly to keep us safe in every moment.
Nowhere does this play out as strongly as with parenting. We love our children so much and we want the very best for them, and yet we can be so controlling, domineering and judgemental with our kids. The exact opposite of compassion!
In the morning rush we can find ourselves a million miles away from the loving parent we want to be as our minds are in overdrive frantically trying to turn the morning chaos into some form of normality.
Here are 3 simple steps that can help you centre yourself and regain compassion for your child and yourself, and guide you to ride the waves of parenting effortlessly and compassionately, rather than being dragged down under the dumpers!
1. Connect first!
This is so simple and yet in the heat of the moment it is the last thing we do. Children don’t live in the busy world of your mind. The first 7 or so years they live predominately in a theta state where imagination and reality often blur into one. This is a natural space for kids but it doesn’t always fit into the rules and time schedules of modern day parenting. So connect first, before you direct! If you are yelling orders from the next room there is no connection and the words will not be heard and certainly not heeded. Give yourself a moment to reconnect with yourself before connecting with your child. You will find that when you are centred in yourself there will be more time and more space and you will be able to connect with your child and then direct them in a way that is nourishing for you both.
2. Look out through your childs eyes!
The world of the child is a very different planet to the world of the adult. If we parent from our own perceptions without being aware of our child’s reality, the messages wont be clear or understood and can lead to frustration and unwelcome behaviour from your child…AND from yourself! The simple action of pausing and connecting with your own heart, and looking at the situation through your child’s eyes is a profound and constructive parenting practice that can shift a challenging situation to one of compassion and cooperation.
3. Be real with your expectations!
Some wise person once said ‘’Expectations are the pollution of life’’. This is especially true with parenting. Look at your expectations of yourself as a parent. Are they realistic? Do you set yourself an impossibly high standard that you never seem to be able to fulfil? Are they your expectations or were they dumped onto you from your parents expectations when you were a child? Look at the expectations you put on your children. How realistic are they? If you are struggling as a parent and if parenting isn’t a joyful and relatively effortless experience, then look at your expectations as they may be blocking you from the simple joy and delight of connecting compassionately and lovingly with your child.
If you are looking to deepen your relationships and learn the basics of authentic communication (with yourself and others) take a look at this online course – Transformative Communication – an easy and life-enhancing approach for better relationships.
Sharon Turton is a Sydney based parenting coach & counselor. Her mission is to foster a deeper connection between parent and child. Sharon is available for consultations via phone or skype. For her free E-book see – connectingkidsandparents.com.au