Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Connecting to Our Children, Connecting to Ourselves

I've settled on a title for my upcoming book and wanted to give you a peek as a thank you if you are managing to find my blog and actually read it!  :-)

The full title is Connecting to Our Children, Connecting to Ourselves: A Relationship-Focused, Research-Based Approach to Parenting with Unconditional Love and Respect

The book is organized by 9 guiding principles and I thought I'd share the first one with you right now.  If you have feedback or examples of these principles, I'd love to hear about it!  

Principle #1: Behavior reflects the internal state of the individual and the relationship's level of connection.  All behavior is a communication.

We, as parents, tend to take our children's behavior personally.  If our child refuses to do something, we may automatically find ourselves upset at our child.  Let's explore an example that happened at my house today.  (I'm full of examples of all of these principles!)

My older son was dysregulated this morning because he was worried that he was going to be late for school.  I think my track record is quite good for getting him to school before he needs to be there, but my son wants to be there as soon as he can be dropped off and for that my track record is less than stellar.  He was anxious and dysregulated.  I found that he was sometimes staying calm and other times he was yelling.  His behavior was really reflecting his internal state.  

Some mornings, he'll be in this same place and I'll be totally dysregulated myself.  When I'm struggling, he struggles more.  Other mornings, I can stay present with him, truly feeling that this isn't about me.  I can help him shift out of his dysregulation and help him get ready for his school day.  When we are generally connected, this shift happens relatively easily.  When not connected, I'm distracted with everything I need to do to get 3 people out the door on time in the morning and things don't go as smoothly.  All behavior is a communication and an opportunity to connect or to create disconnection.  By focusing on the behaviors, you'll get more disconnection.  By focusing on the relationship, you'll create more connection.

Next time, we'll take a sneak peek at Principle #2.

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