What To Do When We Judge Our Kids (A Daily Practice)

unconditional love

In coaching sessions and here at home, how we perceive our children was a big theme last week. I’ll admit, this week was a toughie for us over here.

I felt some familiar words come to mind during the frustrating moments: “bratty,” “stubborn,” and “demanding” to name a few. Oh, how it feels so completely true at the time, ya know?

What we might also notice is that these perceptions - these judgements- make a big impact on how we respond to our children. Don’t you think?

Particularly when they need us the most: during tantrums, learning the potty, squabbling with their sibling, wanting green cups all day errry day. The normal yet challenging parts of childhood.

When we’re in these moments, and we have it in our minds that our kid is going to make it tough on us, or they are in their “terrible twos,” or the “Eff you threes,” - there’s a good chance that we’re creating more resistance.

They can sense our judgements and our tension, like osmosis.

Children are intuitive and so in touch with us. I bet you’ve noticed this.

Working on how I perceive my children is something I’ve practiced for years. To tell you the truth, I still have some old stories in my head. Just because we learn about respectful parenting and heal old wounds doesn’t mean we no longer have struggles.

We just take it one day at a time. It’s a beautiful unfolding journey as we learn and grow.

It’s gotten easier for me as I’ve practiced letting go of the judgy parts. Yet, I still see one of my children as more “difficult,” and one as “easier.” What’s funny is my husband has the opposite view! The child that I struggle with the most is the one who my husband finds very easy-going. It makes us laugh every time.

So what is the truth then?

Truly, this can be a daily practice for us.

The daily practice is when we pause and ask ourselves, “is there another way of looking at this?”

When they act out, throw a tantrum, or do the thing that pushes our buttons. We again can pause and think to ourselves, “Is there another way of looking at this?”

What’s really going on? Could it also be that they are hungry, over-stimulated, navigating life with a new sib, or acting like a typical toddler? Are my judgements and reactions adding to the intensity and struggle? How can I help them?

Then we might notice the frustration and judgements soften a bit.

We can use gentle guidance and hold space for big feelings instead, and see how it goes.

We can use words like, “it looks like you need some extra help. I’m here. This is hard.” You’ll have your own special ways of acknowledging what’s hard and connecting with your children.

The practice of working on our inner world on how we see our children gets easier over time. Then we may start to understand our children a bit better, and we feel more in flow for larger parts of the day. We’ll notice we respond to the hard stuff in a more connected way and with less irritation.

It will start to feel normal and natural to see the big picture. Our kids feel that too.

Perhaps we even visualize a struggle our child is dealing with being worked out with ease and delight. We can do this right before bedtime, or right before a common hot button issue.

When we visualize our child in a positive light, succeeding or trying their best with our help, it’s a bit like a magic wand. Things start to get even a little easier.

Children can feel being held in our positive, affirming glow. Lovely, right?

We don’t have to get it right every time. I definitely don’t. I’m growing and learning too. We try our best in each moment. Then the next one. And the next one.

Sending lots of love to you! More inspo below.

Which judgments and perceptions are you practicing letting go of? Would ❤️to hear from you.

Lots and lots of love,

Jesse xoxo

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