Sometimes I find myself irritated and annoyed. My son gets on my nerves. He is a – very smart, funny, well-spoken, and outspoken – ball of energy. He is my answered prayer, our love child, and most times the glue that binds us all together (we are a blended family). He is sweet and affectionate and he LOVES his family. But he gets on MY nerves!
Why? Because mommy is sorting through some emotions of her own and trying to HEAL. Mommy is withdrawn sometimes because mommy is dealing with a lot in this season. Because if mommy is being honest (and that’s the only way she knows how to be), mommy is still learning emotional intelligence and it’s easier to withdraw than be present. It’s easier for mommy to feel like she’s in control than it is to relinquish control, be still and hear what Spirit has to say as it relates to parenting. These are not excuses, these are facts!
My son is 3, almost 13 and definitely triiiiiiieeeesss me on a regular basis. “Trying me” ranges from just flat out not listening to talking back to tantrums (pouting, crying loud and hard for no apparent reason, etc). If he sees the sky is blue, he will argue me down that it’s green. If his paw patrol shirt or pants without buttons (sweatpants) are not clean when he wants to wear it, it’s a problem. If I say go left, he’s definitely going right. This is normal 3 year old behavior, I know. But this is hard. I’m stuck in between asserting my authority as a parent and relinquishing control to allow him to process and figure out his own emotions. How can I teach him emotional intelligence if I can’t always control my own?
I’m learning that the more I try to “control” him, the more he rebels. I am finding the balance between much needed structure and allowing him to explore, learn and express himself. It’s a constant balancing act. I have a need to be in control and my son refuses to be controlled. Triggered!
But you wanna know what I learned? My need for control (across the board) is a trauma response… YIKES!!!
Ever since I had him, I have been learning (shameless plug to go read my prior blogs). I am continuing to learn… about parenting, life and more importantly, MYSELF. So far, some aspects of this parenting thing has been triggering for me because I am healing – on a journey to understanding myself and becoming a better *ME* along the way.
If you find yourself withdrawn, easily annoyed, quick to anger (spanking), etc. along this parenting journey, here are some things that help me:
- Breathe. Sounds simple, but it WORKS. The breathe feature on the apple watch is great.
- Do an activity together. Be intentional about being present with your child. Find an activity you can do daily to connect and interact with them.
- Take a break. Find a babysitter and take a break. If you can’t find a sitter, take a “mental health day” OFF from work and reset, relax, and spent time alone while they are in school.
- Meditate. I love the app “Insight Timer” for meditation. I try to do it at least once a day, at night or in the morning (or both).
- THERAPY! I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention therapy. Therapy has been a God-send for me. It helps me in ways I can’t always put into words. I know of a few resources. If you’d like to explore the therapy option, let me know and I will be glad to point you to those resources.
- Emotions are learned behavior. If you grew up with a parent who was emotionally unavailable + unstable it’s confusing to know how to process your emotions, or even if you should process them at all.
- As children, we adopt and adapt to the behavior of the environment around us.
- Behavior is a result of conditioning and conditioning can be unlearned
Post that inspired this blog – “Let me tell you something that no one told me before I became a parent. Parenting is triggering. All of your insecurities, traumas, and fears will likely be resurfaced and laid bare”
As always, thanks for reading.