You know the scene… in the supermarket with your child and you have just told them ‘No!’ They ask again and your answer is still ‘No!’ They become upset and loud. You then reluctantly give in, ‘to keep the peace’… Well done, Darling – you got what you wanted, by taking away Mum/Dad’s power! It’s quite amazing really, that even such a small child is capable of doing this.
That’s right, what’s just occurred is that you gave away YOUR power to your child! It’s a pretty common occurrence, especially these days – when many children want something, they want it NOW and will do everything in their power to get it! Consider for a moment some other times and situations where this has occurred, with either your child or even someone else’s.
Everyone parents differently and we do the best we can with the knowledge and skills we have at the time – so well done, give yourself a pat on the back! Giving away our power can begin very early on, when our babies need us to take complete care of them. However, we are to ask ourselves ‘Was it my choice, or did I give away my power?’ (eg. by rocking a baby to sleep rather than teaching them to settle themselves, when you know you have taken care of all their needs, they are clearly tired and in need of sleep?) In every moment we are free to choose, and in your power you may have actually chosen to rock that child to sleep.
Generally a good indicator, and how you’ll know if you’ve given away your power or not, is by the way you feel about your choice/decision. If you feel good, empowered, happy, calm etc, great! However, if you feel frustrated, angry, disrespected, resentful, disappointed, regretful etc, this may well indicate that you’ve given away your power. (Going back to our example, are you lovingly rocking your baby thinking, ‘there there Darling, Mummy’s here’, or rocking a bit harder & thinking, ‘for goodness sake, just go to sleep!’) Please also be aware that one can also become ‘over-empowered’, imbalanced and emotionally distant. The aim is for balance of power through empowerment.
All parents desire happy children! Many are likely to anticipate their child’s emotional reactions to situations and sensitive (and empathic) parents may also feel their child’s emotions, as if they are their own. Parents may not be aware of this and it is why we often respond the way we do. In many cases parents feel it’s easier and requires less energy to just give in, in that moment knowing that it makes their children happy. However in reality, with a little self empowerment, practice and time you can actually gain more energy. It actually becomes easier to effectively communicate and interact with your children and in the long run they will be happy & healthy children.
Here’s some tips for becoming and staying empowered when it comes to raising/disciplining your children;
1. Stop and be aware of your emotions. How will you feel when you’ve made your choice or administered discipline. Do you actually feel empowered? Detach from your child and allow them to deal with their own emotions. Later when they are calm, you can discuss it with them.
2. Give yourself time – you don’t need to respond right there, right then. Perhaps you need some time to absorb and consider request from your children. This teaches them patience!
3. Follow through with your decisions and ‘consequences of actions’. If your children find a pattern of ‘Mum say’s it, but she doesn’t mean it’, they’ll be less likely to play by the rules.
4. Ensure that your children hear you (especially if on that technology!), by requesting a response. This way if you have to ask them more than twice, it’s time for a ‘consequence of (in)action’!
5. When ‘consequences of actions’ are required, rather than giving children extra chores, consider taking something (that they love) off them for a set period of time. Technology works wonders – particularly if the technology has been the distraction in the first place. Believe me, Children of today don’t want to live without their iPod or iPad for very long! A couple of times of this type of consequence and you’ll find they’ll be much more attentive and responsive!
6. Enlist the support of your partner – if you have one, or other family & friends. Spend quality time together with your children and lead by example. Tell & show your children that you love them.
We as parents are ‘givers’, and many are likely to do most things for their children. The children can get used to you doing everything for them and the longer this goes on, the more unlikely they are to assist. If things continue this way, it can lead to burn out on Mum’s part, especially as many these days are working Mums! If she does all the giving and doesn’t take time for herself, she begins to run on empty – often becoming tired and cranky.
Remember the point of power is in the present moment?! Therefore, it’s time to delegate, and directly ask for assistance – after all, Mum’s are not slaves!!! Families need to work together as a team in the day-to-day running of a household, especially as the children grow older (even children as young as 5 are able to do small tasks). Each team member has a part to play if the team is to be efficient and harmonious!
By having regular family meetings you can express your needs, concerns and desires as well as decide on/revise chores, expectations and boundaries for the entire family. If it’s been some time since you’ve been empowered when it comes to your children, be prepared for the possibility of a hostile reception the first time – but rest assured it will not last. In time both you and your children will likely appreciate the boundaries and have a new-found respect for you – as your loving, empowered self!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Clare Evans is an Australian based Holistic Healer and Writer who ‘Leads by example, Teaches through experience and Heals with love’… She has a bright, loving nature and is personally and professionally led by her passions – spirit & energy, healing & personal growth, and empowering others.
After being diagnosed with cancer in 2007 at the age of 30, Clare underwent chemotherapy as well as embarking on her own intense journey of self discovery, healing and growth. As the authentic Clare emerged, she began to follow her destiny in a grounded and balanced way and now assists others with the knowledge and skills gained from study, as well as personally – through many of her own life’s lessons and experiences.
Through her first iTunes album: ‘Pure Meditation’ and her writings, Clare continues to live her vision in assisting others all over the world, in their own healing, personal growth and empowerment.