Your child’s feelings are not about you. Let me share some insight with you: you are not so special that every single feeling and behavior that your child has is based on you. Your child’s experience is their own. It is not personal. Your child is not having a tantrum to piss you off. Your baby is not crying to manipulate you. You do not need to control the baby / child / situation.
My eldest was in a bad mood yesterday. I almost took it personally. I wanted him to feel better so that I could feel better. I wanted to understand why he was upset because I needed answers. I wanted to push him to talk because I had tried so hard to make him happy that day and I was taking his anger as him being unappreciative. I wanted to so much to make it about me. All of my insecurities were screaming to demand answers and to try to change his current state. It was making me feel uncomfortable.
Instead, I stayed silent and I reflected on my own state. I stayed silent in my mind and I stayed silent as we drove. I focused on his beautiful spirit through his behaviour. I focused on how hard it must have been to be stuck with the feelings he was stuck with. And I thought about how much worse I would make it if I exploded. I sat in that moment silently.
Your child is having feelings and that is ok. Let them have their feelings.
There is no need to suffocate their feelings, shame them, punish them, discipline them or to try to make them happy. There is no need to be triggered by someone else’s feelings. By doing this, you are making their sovereign situation about you and your behaviour is coming from your own insecurities. You want them to regulate their emotions when you can’t regulate yours! (And your brain is fully developed – so what’s your excuse?)
Instead, back off and let them have their feelings without judging their feelings and making it about you. Stay in your lane – give them space and stay silent or if they need, connect with them in your heart and hold space for them. You don’t need to resolve everything. Let that expectation of yourself go. It will liberate you and it will allow you to act from your heart (not your ego) with your child.
Within a few minutes, no kidding, my son was chirping normally about something he had done through the day. And there I was. Stunned. I could not believe how much I mentally projected on his momentary moodiness and how personal I took it. I almost made a big deal out of it for no reason and I almost ruined at least a few hours of our precious afternoon.
Not only did I not have to create a mess and an argument about it. I didn’t even need to make him happy. All that was needed in that moment was silence. All that was needed was for me to kill every single thought of action and feeling of unworthiness I, myself, created about the moment.
Sometimes, silence really is golden.