“We parents often believe that our past — that is, the way we were raised — is just a book on a shelf of memories. It’s not. Triggers are where past and present intersect. We can’t assume our past isn’t affecting our present parenting.”– How to Have Peace When Your Kids Are in Chaos
If we don’t make sense of and peace with our past, we will be in constant conflict with our children.
You’re probably taking this course because you are in constant conflict with your kiddos. I get it. I’ve lived there. When I finally understood where their behaviors were coming from, I made a tiny bit of progress. I had some brain science and psychology under my belt, but my house still often felt like a war zone. Let me emphasize the word FELT. I was feeling all sorts of things. By that I mean, my kid’s behaviors were triggering things that happened in my past and I was feeling it all over again. I was taking their behaviors personally because I was personally affected by them. I had a past that needed to be examined. I was the last person to think the problem was actually ME. But I was the part of the problem that I was responsible for. I didn’t want to face the truth. I wanted to stay stuck in my cycle of blaming my kid’s behavior for the chaos in my home. When I finally got ahold of the truth that my past was parenting my children. That I needed to face it and make sense of it and peace with it that I was able to move forward.
Often our daily tussles are not about our kids at all — they are about us. That’s not to say that our kids from hard places don’t have a past. It just means our past is running interference on the play. Take a few minutes and journal the last interaction that you think triggered you to react to your past instead of the present.
Adverse Childhood Experiences
An ACE score is a tally of different types of abuse, neglect, and other hallmarks of a rough childhood.
Ace Assessment – Take yours now! Make sure you read the whole article to find out what it does and doesn’t mean.
Let’s end this day with some nurturing. If you have never taken the time until today to process some of your childhood, you may be overwhelmed right now. I’ve been there. Lots of people have. I was conducting a workshop for some social workers and nurses once and during this the topic of the how your past affects your now – a nurse yelled out, “I’m not going to parent my kids like my mom did, I’m going to hug them.” We can and should have those sorts of reactions to facing our past, not to throw our parents under the bus, but to decide to where to go from here. What is nurturing to you?
I’ve provided some questions for you to work through just that.
- What is a deep source of comfort and emotional nurturing for you?
- How do you recognize nurturing?
- Are you comfortable giving emotional support?
- Does your own childhood weigh heavily on your heart and mind? If so, how?
- Do you comfort others in order to comfort yourself? What does this look like?
- Are you able to recognize your own emotions as well as others? If not, what steps can you take to start recognizing emotions in yourself?
*This is an excerpt from the course How to Have Peace When Your Kids are in Chaos.