It's so easy to react when kids are rude, unkind, bossy. And not so easy to look past the behavior and wonder what's up with them.
When I take things personally, I make up a story about myself along with the story I make up about my kids.
They shouldn't act that way.'
'I haven't done things right.'
But sometimes, with all people, there's just a problem that I know nothing about. They bombed a test at school today, a friend is having trouble, they don't feel well, they're tired. Something.
It's not about me.
I'm learning, learning to listen when one of my (now teenage) kids is complaining about something I've done, yelling, overreacting. When I stay quiet enough to pay attention, I can see the pain, the worry, the suffering under the difficult behavior. Sometimes I can just listen and love them, recognizing that what's under the unpleasant behavior is their own pain.
Some parents think this makes kids entitled and rude. And the truth is, it doesn't help anyone if we treat them like they're fragile and can't handle life's up's and down's. It's good to stay real with them. AND there are (not so frequent) times to talk about their behavior and other times that modeling behavior is more powerful. When kids feel heard, seen, and loved they develop the ability to hear, see, and love more fully.
If you think you're been taking things personally that might not be about you, join me in getting curious about your children. Ask yourself some questions.
What is s/he feeling right now (watch for body language, expressions, word choices that will clue you in)?
Is this really about me? Or is it them?
Would it be better to jump in and talk about this or wait and see?
For me, the outcomes are almost always better when I respond more slowly.
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.