I had flashes of disaster as I was putting the tent up, imagining her refusing to do anything we had planned on our camping trip or being in a sulk the whole time, I so wanted us to have a fun family trip together.
In the past, I would have said something like: “Do you know how ungrateful you are?” or even “You’re ruining it for everyone, it’s no big deal you don’t have good WIFI.”
But I knew those words would just have added fuel to the fire. Causing more of the behaviour I didn’t want. If I had responded to her behaviour through the eyes of judgment, I wouldn’t have seen my struggling girl, I would have felt annoyed and resentful and a compulsion to control her or fix the situation.
I reminded myself this was a tough transition for my children who are used to being hooked up to WIFI 24/7.
So, how did I respond this time?
I used the first step from the Language of Listening® framework. Say What You See® This step has the amazing ability to help you stay out of judgement. It helps you see the world through your child’s eyes.
I said- “That sucks! You hate not being in contact with your friends.”
As I watched her kick her legs up on the dashboard, I saw her tears began to flow as she felt safe to let out her frustrations and upsets, I began to watch her adapt to her situation.
Within 10 minutes she jumped out of the car, gave me a massive hug and without asking started to unload the car.
When we give our children the permission to be, when we don’t jump in to fix the situation or try and use guilt or shame to change their behaviour, we give them the space they need to adapt.
Look out and see how your child looks relaxed and content after crying, remember to SAY WHAT YOU SEE and point out the STRENGTH:
SWYS: “You got all your tears out and now you’re smiling.”
STRENGTH: “You knew just what you needed to calm yourself.”
When you finish your interaction by pointing out STRENGTHs it allows your child to recognise their greatness.
It leaves your child feeling great about who they are. They get to have an inner voice of “I can trust my inner guidance, I know exactly what I need to calm myself, I can handle any big emotion, I’m resilient!”
And not to mention you will have a much calmer and simpler time holding your boundaries instead of trying to control or fix it for your child.