If I could only tell you one thing, it would be this: Our children are not broken.
They are not a problem to be solved, but a mystery unfolding; beauty emerging.
All of these words…
Anxious, impulsive, strong-willed, highly sensitive, gifted, neurodiverse, Sensory Processing Disorder, differently wired, indigo children, ADHD, ODD, OCD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and so many more;
All of these words to describe children.
These words have a purpose. They help us gain a greater sense of understanding about our kids and open the door to more support.
We need to ensure these words don’t become badges of shame or limitation that our kids wear everyday.
What if it’s possible that there is nothing wrong with our kids?
What if it’s simply human evolution out-pacing the evolution of our educational system, medical protocols, and parenting philosophies?
If so, then it’s our job to CATCH UP!
For me, there was no big lightbulb moment. I wish there was. Instead, it was a slow creeping realization that the strategies that had previously helped the kids I worked with in my counseling practice, were no longer effective.
I was seeing more kids who didn’t care about consequences or who cared so much that they would mentally beat themselves up for days.
Kids who either didn’t care about rewards or who knew how to game the system and would earn the rewards without creating any lasting behavioral change.
We can look at what’s going on and say our kids are just being bad, not listening, being disrespectful, not behaving, or being entitled.
But as Dr. Ross Greene says, “Kids do well if they can.”
The magic is when we can look beneath the behavior and determine if our child/our student/ our client is:
- Lacking specific emotional skills
- Not at the developmental level to be able to meet the expectations
- Challenged by the expectations of the environment
- Lacking connection
- Responding to our emotional dysregulation
- Or something else
I began to look at what was creating real shifts for my kids. What I discovered was the foundation of it all was our relationship.
The relationship transcends behavior.
When I focused on our connection (our relationship) it allowed the space for us to collaborate and explore what they were experiencing and how to shift things that they wanted to. It wasn’t according to MY agenda, but things that they knew were causing them pain and distress.
There was no one strategy. No perfect thing to say at any given time. No specific coping tool that solved everything. (Yes, you can breathe a sigh of relief here.)
It was being in relationship, connecting and co-creating ideas.
We can approach kids with deep curiosity and compassion without worrying they’re getting away with something.
How powerful would it have been for you as a child, to know that even in your worst moments, all of you was loved and accepted? Your actions may not have been acceptable, but YOU were and are.
This is what I’m about and this is what I’m creating—A world where all kids grow up loving themselves.
If you want to be part of this and you’re wondering what you can do to create this with and for the kids in your life, click here to join our online community, the Emotion Guide Collective.
What is the thing you stand up for? I’d love to hear your ONE THING. Share it below.