Monday, May 11, 2009

The Hardest Part of the Hardest Job

I think the hardest part of parenting is recognizing your own biases sticking points so that you can see your children for who they really are.

We have found a wonderful school for Bess, the Wellspring Community School, and we are working very hard on getting her ready to start there in September. One of the things we need to work on is transitions, because any change can send Bess into an absolute tailspin. It is frustrating to say the least, and exhausting, and I am frequently unable to anticipate these meltdowns. I'm sure she has a good reason for them, but darned if I can figure out what it is much of the time!!! Needless to say, I have spent the better part of four years trying to help Bess manage this explosiveness, with what I consider to be minimal success.

I was talking to a friend who was a school psychologist in her pre-children life, trying to figure out a way to help Bess manage her transition difficulties. And, you know how sometimes someone asks you just the right question at just the right time, and suddenly the answer is so OBVIOUS you can't believe you've been unable to see it all this time? This was one of those times.

She asked me if I think Bess is an anxious child. And though I never realized it before that moment, she is, actually, quite anxious. I was an anxious child too, and I continue to be an anxious adult, but I always thought that was circumstantial. I thought that by providing my daughter with stability and unconditional positive regard that she wouldn't have any reason to be anxious.

Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps I'm just wired to be anxious, and so is she. Perhaps by trying to control her external environment I'm actually doing her a disservice - perhaps I should be teaching her strategies for coping with (inevitable) instability instead.

One of the most beautiful things about positive, mindful parenting is that you get to live through your children, but in a good way. By really seeing them, you also get to see yourself and re-parent the parts of yourself that need some extra TLC. And, you get to learn some lessons from your childhood that can help your kids.

1 comment:

  1. Indeed! It's one of the gifts of parenting that I didn't know about. Seeing them, seeing you in them, seeing them in you and all the while knowing we are all our own being part of the collective wholeness. So amazing.