Lots of the time, when a child is upset, it's possible to be with them and allow them to be upset without doing anything. We are so conditioned to do something--to explain, fix, teach, scold, or change our child's experience, but those things rarely work well. And just being present and loving can work amazingly well! It allows a child to feel upset and loved at the same time, which is really healing.
There are times when it's not enough to 'be there' when our kids are upset. If your toddler is throwing shoes, they need you to step in and stop them. Not by lecturing or threatening or bargaining, but just by holding their hands steady and saying something simple like "Not safe." We can stay near them lovingly and stop them from hurting anyone with their shoes.
If your children are fighting with and hurting each other, it's not enough to sit nearby and love them. Love them in a protective way by holding them each with one arm or sitting between them. You can say firmly, "I see how angry you both are. Let me keep you safe."
This is the same practice that I wrote about in yesterday's post, 'To 'Be There' Rather Than Separate or Teach or Fix,' we're just doing it a little more actively. Holding a safe and loving space for our children is possible even in very intense circumstances. We can learn to keep kids safe at the same time that we are loving and accepting. Stopping hurtful behavior can be done in a loving way.
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 helps me find peace with my imperfect journey--being with myself as I truly am, loving my family as they are, and showing up for a messy world with openness and compassion.