When my daughter exhibits a behavior, which causes me discomfort, I often contract in fear. When this happens I box myself in and instead of reaching out to support my daughter, in that moment, I can only think about myself. My attention turns inward and I see her as the enemy. I’m sure she is causing my pain and from this vantage point I want to control her so I can return to a calm centered state. Instead of taking responsibility, for working with my discomfort, I act under the false assumption that she is causing my pain and therefore she can fix it.

Taking the time to work with my discomfort teaches my daughter how to work with hers when it arises. When feeling the discomfort I’ve learned to pause and tell the truth about what is really going on instead of blaming her. I tell her she doesn’t cause my anger so she can’t fix it and I’m going to sit down and work with it. Taking the time to pause, allows me to find the need driving the anger and to take care of this need instead of asking my daughter to. I’ve learned to take the power out of the external, being the cause of my emotional well being, and return that power inside where it belongs. She gets to see me taking responsibility for my feelings and therefore learns to do the same. It is a win/win situation.

Practice: Begin to notice when discomfort arises in relation to your child’s behavior. Instead of controlling the behavior, take a moment to pause asking yourself what you need. When you are able to hear yourself, you have a chance to attend to the need instead of asking your child to.