I have a child who has his own story to one day share. It is not mine to share, nor do we know the scope of his story yet. But I do have my own story to share- as a mom. I had four children in four years before the age of 30. There were health issues for the twins for the first couple years, a toddler who refused to sleep, my own mystery autoimmune health issues cropping up, and financial stress. To say I was overwhelmed was an understatement. I look back on those young mama years with such compassion. I was so very exhausted and had this sweet child who decided it was time to sharpen my own soul’s wounds. Every temper tantrum felt like a direct assault on my very own capabilities. I had read most EVERY known parenting book out there. I should know how to handle all my children. Every sleepless night brought more and more emotions out of control to the surface. I felt like I could explode in anxiety at a moment's notice. It wasn’t this one little human who brought the anxiety on, but it was deep wounds within my own heart which began to surface.
As Karen Doyle Buckwalter shared our REBEL Parenting show, “If you don’t work on your issues, your kids will work them for you.” There are many times as a parent where I have left the highly heated situation and fell to the floor crying in desperation- when all along, it is there where Jesus comes and just groans with us and the Holy Spirit moves within us offering healing balm on our own pain. Parenting my four munchkins has brought me to my knees thousands of times and has allowed for me to grow in the ways which were no longer serving me. I began to seek counseling because I knew my anxiety and fear and anger were my own triggers in my history. I also began intense functional transformational coaching with a lovely woman who walked through my day to day to bring awareness to “old patterns.” We continue to do counseling to help us to understand how to validate the feelings of our children, ourselves, and others around us- because this is where the real wholehearted change happens. Parenting life still unfolds each day and teaches me hard things but I know there is progress. I am more self aware when I need a break to breathe and when I need to provide space for my kids to express their feelings and not pick them up as my own. As my mentor says, “Children are just a mirror reminding us of our story.” I know this is so true firsthand.
When you are triggered by your child’s behavior, I would ask what is the underlying trigger within you? What’s your own story you are telling yourself? It’s so much more than the behavior of the child. Invite the Holy Spirit to illuminate the places in your heart where you need your own healing and find a coach/counselor who can help navigate and work through what is needed. Again, the lovely Karen Doyle Buckwalter, explains beautifully on the show, “You can’t cut off the dandelion tops and not expect them to grow back.”
For more information, check out Raising the Challenging Child by Karen Doyle Buckwalter, Debbie Reed, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine.
And take a listen to our interview with Buckwalter on REBEL Parenting- Moms on the Mic. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/rebel-parenting-with-ryan-laura-dobson/id1108237544?i=1000466712653