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Mindful : April 2014
April 2014 mindful 41 Tuning in with nonjudgmental awa reness to her frustrations, to the root causes of escalating anger, helped Caroline do three beneficial things: One, she could challenge the stories she tells herself about what her children’s upsetting behavior means. For example, her son Carson’s unwilling ness to clea n up his toys might be more about his wanting to keep playing with them than about being ung rate- ful or disrespectful. Two, she could allow the sensations of frustration to dissipate by allowing herself to simply feel them, without trying to resist or change them. When Caroline allowed her unpleasant feelings to move through her body with gentle awareness, they would naturally dissipate. And three, she could consider what old but- tons of hers were being pushed by her children’s challenging behavior. Most of us become reactive when something from our own childhood is being played out in the present. Because Caroline hadn’t felt heard as a child, she was particularly vulnerable to getting upset when her children seemed to be tuning her out. The challenges we experience in our parenting life offer opportunities to heal wounds f rom our own childhoods—and step into a role that brings our children the security they so require. Parenting is not easy. We each come to the task with our own insecurities and hurts, often reacting to our children rather than responding in ways that help them. Thankfully, as I’ve discovered, small course corrections can make a sig nificant differ- ence in the quality of our day-to-day lives with our children, allowing us to sail mostly calm seas with confidence and enjoyment. ● For more information about Susan Stiffelman’s approach to parenting, go to mindful.org/parenting