On one of the courses for professionals I was running recently, someone said to me “Connective Parenting NVR is really challenging, because not only are we helping the parents or carer, it makes us reflect on ourself as well. If we want to be able to teach this well, we need to be willing to do too”.
That really resonated with me because we can’t teach our children – or if you’re a professional, other parents and carers – to do something if we’re not willing to do it ourselves. It would be a bit like having a personal trainer who sits on the sofa eating crisps all day, whilst telling you to move your body and eat healthy foods.
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“Someone telling you to do something they’re not prepared to do themselves is something I struggle with.”
Often I have times when I don’t want to talk about something, I don’t want to think about something or I might not even want to acknowledge that something has happened.
I don’t think I’m the only one in that situation.
We all have times when something is maybe too painful to think about. Maybe it’s embarrassing or we feel ashamed of something we’ve done or said.
Maybe it feels too scary or sad to relive it. Maybe we’re just not ready to deal with it or face it. I know that I’ve had those times in my life.
I think that’s really normal for us, as humans, to have times when we just can’t deal with something.
Before the pandemic started last year, a dear friend of mine and mentor, lost her life. She died from cancer and I know that I was really struggling to deal with it. She hadn’t been ill for that long but I knew it was coming and I still found it really hard to deal with. Even as I’m writing this, I can still feel those painful emotions, that really deep sadness that she’s no longer with us.
Sometimes it’s easier not to think about my friend because of the sadness that’s associated with it.
We have to know that avoiding emotions is normal, it’s part of our lives, but also over time hopefully learn that it is ok to talk about these things and that we are in a safe place to connect to difficult emotions.
We need to find those safe places and safe people, where it’s ok to talk about things we might be struggling with, and connect with those deeper emotions because it is challenging.
I think it’s absolutely right to find the Connective Parenting NVR approach quite challenging. If we are telling our children to share their emotions, and telling them to connect and understand their own emotions we, ourselves, need to be able to do this as adults.
I can’t help my son manage his anger if I’m not prepared to do the same thing myself. I have to be changing my own reactions and understanding my own thoughts and processes. If I’m not prepared do to that work to change my own approach because it’s too scary, then I think it’s very hard to expect my child to.
So often the thing we don’t want to deal with is the thing that will help set us free. We know what we need to resolve, but that fear of doing the thing is so huge that we don’t go there.
For me, part of parenting has been really making sure that I am managing my own emotions and I am by no means perfect.
For a while now I’ve been focusing on this inner work It’s a working progress and I’m sure it always will be, but the more I have had the support to deal with whatever has been going on for me at the time, and the more I’ve been able to heal old wounds, the more I’ve been able to connect with my son and help him with his emotions.
Sometimes I’ve been able to work through things myself and sometimes I’ve had therapeutic support.
However you need to work through it is ok. Going there is an important part of the Connective Parenting NVR approach and this is something I work with so many to do.
If you are a parent or carer and would like more support on this how to work on changing your child’s behaviour, you can come and join us over in The Connective Parenting hub, where I do weekly Ask Me Anything sessions to help you with exactly this!
If you’re a professional who works with children and families, click here for more helpful resources and support.