From Parenting Break Down to Whole Family Break Through
Confused and finding my footing as a new mother, I wondered:
“Why, when my child cries, do I feel angry? Why would I feel rage at my precious, innocent child?”
Have you ever worried, in those heated moments with your kids, that despite your best and biggest efforts you are turning into your parents?
- “How did those words just come out of my mouth?!”
- “How did I even think to do that? I don’t even believe that!”
- “The thoughts in my head are exactly what my mom/dad said and did to me! Oh no! I am turning into my parents!”
Why do we find ourselves battling our past when we seek desperately to be present with and for our children?
Literally. We are wired for punishment. For withdrawal of affection or presence. For withholding of care. For anger. For yelling. For guilt. For deep shame that is so secretly painful we turn off the hurt and mask it before we drown with a single stroke.
When my mom was 5 or 6 she was sent with her younger sister by her parents from Bahrain where her parents were living at the time for work to live with her relatives for a few years. From then on, for years, while she did have food to eat she was also beaten at a moment’s notice and made to do things like stand on one leg reciting all the multiplication tables. It is no wonder that my own memories of multiplication tables include tears, though no standing on one leg. It is no wonder that my own instincts are to yell and say pointedly hurtful things, though not as much to hit.
My mom, like any human would, soaked up the experiences of care, or lack of care, she had when young.
In times of internal distress (hers and mine), these are the reactions that would come to the surface for her. While I was spanked as a child, it was not for every infraction. She made several strides away, whether by conscious effort and choice or not, and moved towards a gentler way of being with her children. I am doing the same.
Through no fault of our own, even despite the best efforts and good intentions of our parents, we are wired, for disconnection, disharmony and dis-ease.
After giving birth to my first, I had some dark, hard nights. These were likely brought about from hormones, sleep deprivation and hours upon hours with a crying child. My internal experience was one of loneliness, despite having support. The intensity, the lack of understanding, resources, tools on my part, on top of this deep well of need in my beloved new baby, sent me deep into a dark anger. When my second was born, I had a plan to manage my hormones: Yup, the popular placenta encapsulation. That would (and did) help me with the sleep, nursing, physical recovery, emotional stability, nutrient intake and more. I felt way more able to handle the terror of an entire first week with no milk coming in, the anxiety of pumping and syringe feeding colostrum to my newborn, and the exhaustion of heat lamps all day and all brightly lit nights.
I know now, and sensed when a new mother of two, that there were a number of factors disrupting our/my love hormones and our bonding experience as a growing family.
Still, when my just turned 2 year old would hop up on that bed to “love” her brother more roughly than I would like, or she would touch his nose and get in is face, my sleep-deprived, anxiety-ridden new mama self felt rage. Instantly.
Inside, I would go 0 to 100 in a split second, and who came out in these moments?
…. My mother. Her rage. Onto my tiny little girl who shockingly and suddenly had turned into a monstrous giant before my very eyes, threatening this fragile little person I had the responsibility to protect.
In the heated moments, I was wired for disconnection and disharmony…and this caused me deep, deep pain as a mother.
Now part of what I needed in those moments was some support. I noticed that generally families get less support after the first when the need is exponentially greater, especially in terms of meeting the older child(ren)’s needs for connection with friends and other fully attentive caregivers. I went on, of course, to gather more resources for a number of transformative choices, including diet. More than anything, though, this time I was gathering powerful tools I could use with my kids.
Through my hurt and confusion, I endeavored, in this round of parenting and nurturing, to consciously leap forward.
I would find a way to rewire for connection and peace. I would share this with anyone willing to listen. I would guide anyone willing and ready for hands on learning of some tools that I was 100% committed to finding.
What did I realize, when I went looking for the most effective, the most respectful, the most transformative parenting tools?
I joyfully discovered that I had in my possession from the very first months as both a teacher and as a mother years before two powerful approaches to parenting and relationships: Nonviolent Communication and Hand in Hand Parenting’s Parenting By Connection and Building Emotional Understanding. I didn’t realize, but I already had knowledge of and experience with Parenting Power Tools to build peaceful, cooperative relationships with my children and my partner, and my mother and anyone in my life, including myself.
“When falling, dive.” ~Joseph Campbell
Fully committed, when I recognized the powerful effectiveness of these tools, I turned my fall into darkness around into a focused dive into the mysteries of connection, peace, love, community, and joy.
I learned. I grew. We changed…together. From that time, I created A Living Family: Tools, Resources and Support for other parents like me who wanted to break the cycle and move their families forward.
I believe in this work and the efforts parents can put in and the shift they can create for themselves and their families.
I am so deeply grateful to be able to offer these power tools to other parents. I believe deeply in these tools, the resources I have gathered and the support I offer through my free Community Calls, my Nonviolent Communication (NVC) workshops, and uniquely powerful Nurturing You program. I know they can transform those parents out there who are saying to themselves, “Maybe change isn’t possible. Maybe this is forever. Maybe I should give up or give in…” If this is you…
Dear Hardworking Parent,
You do not have to give up…on yourself or your children. You do not have to give in…to fear, worry, anger, guilt, or even that secret, deep down shame.
You can choose love, connection, peace, presence.
You can find cooperation, consideration, courage and commitment.
You can do this.
You can rewire yourself and your relationships for the things that matter to you.
I know that you can do it because I have done it. While I and my tools are unique, I am a human being like all the other parents out there. That’s why I’m passionate about getting these tools, resources and support into the hands of others.
My purpose is to sprout peace on the planet, one heart at a time….and I started with mine.