How many times have you heard yourself say to your child, ” I need you to……” whatever it is? I learned to say that instead of “you need to……” and yet when I truly look at it is it any different? Both are coming from my need and not taking into consideration my child’s.
So many times, when I am frustrated and need her to do what I want, I pull out this technique in hopes it will get me what I want. Instead of looking at my own need to be heard or validated, I project this out and expect my daughter to take care of this need. When she doesn’t I call her defiant, disrespectful, or uncooperative. I forget to see what is truly going on for her. It becomes a one sided equation and if I get frustrated enough I pull the power card which makes my need MORE important that hers.
I can use shame, blame, or rationalize that this is “good” for her! Instead the work is to go in and look at my own need and to see if I can take care of it or go to a mature friend or partner to support me. Asking my daughter to take care of my needs always backfires. This doesn’t mean that once I have attended to my need, internally, I can’t move toward her opening to her need and we find a compromise that takes both of us into account. I am coming from a different place though than allowing my own needy child to be dependent on my daughter.
Practice: Today when you find yourself feeling needy and asking your child to take care of your need stop and take a moment to be with yourself. You can acknowledge your need, see if you can address it and return to a present moment awareness with your child. When we come from a clear space inside, our children have a stronger capacity to hear us and open to working together.