When my child does not go along with my plan, I say to myself “what about her non compliance is triggering me?” “What lesson is she trying to teach me about myself here?” “Where am I inserting my ego that is causing her to resist?” Once I pause and I’ve evaluated these questions, I find I am more available and present-minded to discuss the matter with my 4-year old daughter and show up accordingly as the matter calls for – e.g. boundaries, empathy (understanding), flexibility, apologizing, remaining consistent / firm and ultimately communicating with my daughter (explaining to her with a logical mind vs. irrational one) the various elements needed.
Through the continuing unfolding process of conscious parenting, I have found it’s become less of the “my plans” – like “I want or need my daughter to do this or eat that” and more of a collaborative and mutual effort between she and I – while incorporating the education aspect on the topic at hand. I let my daughter know that she is teaching me as much as I teach her. What I have found hugely beneficial is when I approach her with “I hear you, I understand what you are asking, I feel like that too,” then leading into my reasons – that she becomes open to hearing me. I also ask her about her reasons, feelings and this mutual exchange is the cornerstone to our flow of independent essence and evolution.
As for the typical parenting food, sleep matters where we want them to do as we say – these used to be very strong areas of struggle for me (and my daughter primarily because of me) before I was aware of how my own energies were imparting on the desired outcome (that I wanted – EGO). I was almost too rigid that it caused my daughter to resist even more. Once I learned how to navigate through my own anxieties around these areas the positive changes were almost simultaneous.
I continually do my best to educate her of the importance of sleep and food – and the adverse affects if we don’t do them to the best of our ability. I use words like “strong, healthy, exercise, brain power, grow” and when she hears them on a kid show, she says “mommy you say that too to me.” I have more recently been incorporating the terms “natural consequences” – so for example if she resists sleep on a particular night and the next morning she is inevitably emotional and fussy, I let her know that had she chosen to go to bed on time (without all the doodle-daddle) she wouldn’t feel this way. Or if she doesn’t listen when I’m advising her to be mindful when playing – I remind her of the boo-boo she got last time and let her know that is a natural consequence if we are not staying aware.
What areas of “your plans / your way” do find yourself often contending with your child? How long has this been going on? What about your own way of “showing up” and inserting “your plan” is causing more resistance than not?