Imagine you’re a visitor to another country. Not just another country, but a whole other culture. You’re alone, and not only don’t you speak the language, but none of the customs are recognizable to you. All the things you know about interacting and communicating with other people are not relevant here, except for some of the body language, like smiling, frowning, looking distressed, wailing, laughing. You know, the most basic universal language.
Now that you’ve read this, close your eyes, and really get into it. Spend a few minutes with this. Imagine, for example, how it might feel to extend your hand in friendship only to be met with a dark menacing look and a scowl! When you’ve really allowed yourself to feel what that might feel like, then open your eyes and come back.
So, what did you feel? Was it frightening a little? Did you think you might be inclined to stay to yourself? Were you a little reluctant to take any chances using the tools you thought would work in case that might be utterly frowned upon in this strange-to-you culture where up is (or may be) down?
Now, close your eyes again and re-create that scenario for a moment, only this time, imagine that you have a trusted someone who understands your dilemma here and runs interference for you, tipping you off to the social norms, interpreting for you, gently guiding you so that you don’t horribly offend, and allowing you, eventually, to navigate these strange lands and customs on your own.
How does that feel? Now, you can function more efficiently and freely and confidently. You can learn more, connect more, and thoroughly enjoy yourself and your time! Much better, right?
Your child is that alien. She comes as a visitor to this strange land completely unprepared and unequipped to navigate our strange-to-her customs and social norms. But, she has one ace up her sleeve. You. You’re the kind escort, gently and respectfully helping her learn the right way to be in this land, the right way to communicate her needs so she can get what she needs, eventually, without your help.
Could you ever imagine your host in the new land shaming you for not knowing the customs when you arrived? And, if your host did shame and humiliate you, what kind of an impact do you think that would have on your ability to learn? In order to be most helpful to your adorable alien, your attitude is most critical. When you speak in a respectful way, and when you really trust that your alien wants and appreciates your help, your alien is then able to receive your help in a way that allows him to make the best of use of your gentle guidance. When you are not shaming and humiliating, he can better hear what you’re saying and make the best use of it!
Among our many responsibilities, helping our kids get from where they are now as a “newbie” to our society and culture to being fully functional is one of the most important and helpful things we can do. It’s a gift of love.
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If you’d like to learn more about how I can help you with this and other parenting issues you may have, please feel free to contact me! You can email me or call 845 – 657 – 3111 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation or session. Or, visit the website, PeacefulParentingWhisperer.com