A few years ago, I began a significant shift in the way I see my children. I now see them as little mirrors, mostly reflecting an image of myself. When I began to see them this way, it dramatically changed my connection to them and thus strengthened our relationship.
I was able to see that on those days when their behavior seemed bad or out of control, it usually had something to do with me. Either I was tense, angry, sad, or experiencing some other emotion that I was unable to control around them. It was not so much what I said, but how I acted. It had to do with the energy that I was putting out.
You see, our children are watching us MUCH MORE closely than any of us probably realize. They are taking notes, even when we think they aren’t paying attention to a thing. How they act towards themselves and other people is directly proportional to what they observe around them and when they are children what they see most is YOU!!!!
When I finally came to accept this and started to purposefully watch what energy I put out when I was around them, things began to really change – change for the better. When I was calm, they were too. When I was happy, so were they. When I handled things with grace and treated people around me with kindness, so did they. When I started standing up for my rights more, guess what? So did they.
It seems so simple now, but there honestly was a time when this was not so clear for me. The upside to all this is not only are my children happier, but so am I. We are connected and they trust me.
And, it is not like they are just babies, who have lived an idea life. My oldest is about to turn 16 and despite going through two of his mothers divorces and near financial ruin, he is a straight A student, who is a star on the Cross Country team and was recently named Student of the Month by the Principal at his High School. My middle child is almost 14, a Trumpet playing Boy Scout and is considered by ALL his teachers to be the sweetest kid they have ever met. My almost 9 year old daughter, who I am proud to say is NOT like any of the girls on Disney channel is also a straight A student, who dances ballet and is a voracious reader. Her maturity and positive self-image amaze me every day.
The key to all of this has been ME. I could not expect anything from them that I did not expect from myself first. It was never, Do as I say but not as I do”. I knew early on that it would only work if it was “Do as I DO” – in every way possible.
If you are struggling with the relationship with your children, I urge you to start by taking a long look at yourself. It may be hard to be honest about certain things, but I promise that it will be worth it if you are.