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The Art of Fine Metalwork and the Art of Empathy and Nonviolent Communication- woven together for you....

Sunday, April 4, 2010

When your child blocks her ears and says: Don't talk!

I was chatting with a close friend of mine on the web today. We both have twins aged ten, a boy and a girl...this a transcript of our conversation which can teach two things: first how being in Empathy with my friend simultaneously gave her some relief and opened her up to hear my point of view, and also,  gave a little strategy with what to do, when your child just doesn't want to hear you talk:
Friend: I fear that my daughter  will be a handful as she grows.
Me: Why a handful? Is she acting in a 'cheeky' kind of manner?
Friend: Maya is very closed. She never wants to discuss her feelings and she doesn't want to hear about my feelings either! She freaks out when I do and just pushes me away!
Me Leaving you at loss at what to do? And wishing you could connect more easily?
Friend I mean if I tell her about my feelings, like lets say she has done or said something and I want to tell her that it hurt my feelings and I feel such and such a way, she will hide under the blankets and block her ears and push me away and say stop .
Me: Want my guess?
Friend yes!
Me I think when kids do that they must  be hearing our message as blameful...so I say to them
does it sound like I'm blaming you? And they or he or she says YES!
Friend: O.k. and then what?
Me: That's a starting point;  Sometimes not much more is needed, to calm first.
Friend ok. I see.
Me:  It's an ongoing process... I can then say: ok, I understand, well let me see how I can put this differently... but sometimes just that little tiny acknowledgment really turns around the situation. Sometimes I'll say: well I notice you really don't want to hear me now....right?
Friend ..But she really doesn't want to hear me now!  and not later either!
Me:  You know what I noticed lately? You know how when you are frantically looking for something and it never turns up? and then you just let go....and presto, there it is? Sometimes we just need to LET GO.
Friend That's true. I understand about letting up and then things fixing themselves.
Me I am sure you want a connection with your child that includes being able to talk with one another
and I support that totally
Friend of course.
Me:  Leave her , let her be, let her come to you...she will I promise you. Meanwhile use the time for introspection, continue learning and and check to see , am I blaming her? Not to blame yourself! Just look at it, and see how you can put it  or do it differently.
Friend And if u r in a way blaming her?
Me  Check with yourself : what am I needing? What am I lacking here?
Jeannie:  I get it.
Me: From the Nonviolent Communication perspective, the only reason that anyone EVER blames, shouts , hurts etc, is because there is some unfullfilled need in side of YOURSELF. And to look at with compassion, not more blame have some mercy for your sweet self, you deserve it.
Friend I know
Me:  I believe we are doing the best we can; As one of the teachers I love says: We are doing the BEST we can, with the awareness we have right now, so give yourself some love baby
Friend: That's true.
Me: Our kids can not and I don't think Should not, fill our needs mainly, they just CAN'T, they're still struggling with their own needs, they're still growing up. My experience is that it just doesn't help to put blame on them and believe me, I do it too, everyday...
Friend: Lol
Me Great, glad I put a smile on your face
A little more food for thought and consideration. Talking is one way to meet the need for CONNECTION, that we mentioned that my friend, and every parent I work with, wants with their child. Once we have recognized that need, we can now think of other ways to meet that need. Sometimes offering to play with your child, which children of any age love doing, can create it, or simply saying: "Can I have a hug?" - never met a kid , unless in extreme situations, who won't respond to that.
Remember: Give yourself time.
Rome wasn't built in a day!

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