Step 2: Why Dr. Phil? Why? – The Inner Dialogue of a Child in a Time Out

Issues of wanting to fix things for my girls abound.. Then I feel guilty for my seeming inability to listen compassionately… And for thinking that the time out was “teaching” versus withholding love (thanks a lot Dr. Phil!!) But I realized that I am learning and will rise above my mistakes. Each moment is one where I can choose to act (or react) differently if at all. Which brings me to today’s story…

Today my 5-year-old, Danica, behaved aggressively after quite a challenging few days. Sadly, I reacted with very little compassionate listening… And off she went to her time out. Then I remembered our class and thought “what have I done? How can I change this pattern?” So I went into the room and asked her to lay with me under the covers. I asked her to share with me how she was feeling and explained that I was not behaving well either. Guess what she told me. Go on… Guess!! Lol

Okay, okay. Danica told me that she felt like a bad person because she just couldn’t behave well all the time. She said she was trying but felt horrible that sometimes she hurt people and when she tried to say sorry they were busy doing something else. She said she worried that she would always be bad everyday of her life. Wowza!

My lesson? Time outs really do hurt because Danica would have been in the room alone feeling everything but contentment, worried about her future. And I would be outside the room convinced I was a good mommy teaching her to change her behavior in the future. And neither of us would ever speak to each other from a place of love because our energy would be on every mode of being except the most important one: being present.

Step 1: Compassionate Listening? The Ultimate Respect

I realized today that I had never made room in my day-to-day life for true compassion. Now don’t get me wrong… I’m not a horribly mean person, refusing to think about the needs of others. But I am not really “compassionate” in the way that one should truly be. In philosophical terms, what was missing was autenticity. Which brings me to today’s Moment of Reflection:

What Happens When You Offer Your Child or Any Member of Your Family Compassionate Listening?

To be a compassionate listener – to listen to another human being with an aim of engaging in dialogue with someone in an environment of safety and security – requires that 4 key components are present:

  1. Listen intently
  2. Listen without judgement
  3. Refrain from interrupting
  4. Refrain from comparing

What I realized was that these 4 elements were much more easily present when speaking with other adults. But, no matter how “compassionate” I thought I was being, many of the 4 elements listed here magically disappeared when I was speaking with children. The real insight came when I began to reflect on which ones went missing.

Listening intently? Of course! I am always listening intently when my children ask to speak to me. I mean, I can hear the majority of what they are saying while I work through my mental lists (groceries, work duties, household chores etc.) and organizing our next family activitiees (dance class, music class, karate class, homework etc.). Phew, got that covered!

Listening without judgment? Done and done! I am always listening without judgment when my children speak to me. Especially when they have done something that I consider unacceptable and filter their dialogue through the much-needed, pre-programmed list of questions, comparing and contrasting their responses with those that I know they must say in order to prove that they did what they did. Sweet! Another one down.

Refrain from interrupting? What? Do children make full sentences? Sometimes these conversations can take sooooo long, And we have things to do… remember the list we are working with under “Listen Intently”? Next!

Refrain from comparing? Well, when I was young I don’t remember my parents really giving me loads of time to think through my answers to their questions. I knew what I did. And when I didn’t know what I did, I knew what they thought I did and I knew that it was always in my best interest to simply tell them what they wanted to hear. FAST!

So… compassionate listening, eh? Well… maybe it’s not been so compassionate afterall.

And as I fell into the depth of “Oh my God! I’ve broken my children!!” I remembered a very important fact: Every moment provides me with an opportunity to choose differently.

And I did. But in order to do that, I had to slow everything down. Becuase what was posing as my biggest obstacle to compassionate listening was the eternal rush. Rushing the children to speak faster becauase I was rushing to get us to get out and have a fun family time becuase I was rushing to get us to extracurricular activities becuase I was rushing to get to bed in time for the morning rush for school. So I had to speak back to the eternal rush. And  I had to actually find a way to be present and in the moment without feeling like I needed to be anywhere else but here.

So today, I have made one request from the universe: to support me as I slow everything down and begin to be right here, right now with my children so I can listen with compassion and give myself the space to remind myself (and check and double check myself) as I ensure that each of the 4 steps of compassionate listening are preseest in my conversations with my children.

With love, light, and healing,

Laura Mae.

Intro: The Art of Peaceful Parenting

I must admit, I never saw myself as a “Mother.” My own experiences with my mother made this difficult. So I grew up spending a lot of time thinking about what I would not do – “First off, I will not have children. Secondly, if I did have children, I would not do to my kids what I had done to me. And thirdly, I will NOT have children.” So when the children came into my life, I was anything but prepared. And as I followed my personal journey through learning and living life based on the principles of the Law of Attraction, I began to see why.

To begin, my work with the Law of Attraction taught me that what we feel the most emotionally, we call to us with greatest urgency. In other words, the more I worried, feared, felt nervousness and anxiety about parenting, the faster I would become a parent filled with worry, fear, nervousness and anxiety. Having called that into my life, it was only a matter of time before all I did not want to happen would come to pass.

But the universe never leaves you in dispare. There are always options, and there are always ways that we can change negative situations into positive growth experiences. And when I decided that enough was enough, and that a life with my two young ladies was glorious, enlightening, and filled with love, an amazing opportunity presetned itself. The Jai Institute fell into my (virtual) lap, and I began to re-write my parenting journey at lightening speeds.

Developed to help us better understand why we do what we do, this blog reflects my journey in all its transformations. The intention is to help others jump-start a new way of being-in-the-world of their children (or any children, for that matter!) that is based on a philosophy of reciprocal respect and authentic love. And while I will share a personal story of my own parenting with you as I re-create who I am as a mother, my ultimate hope is that together, we will be able, willing, and ready to re-define the role of parenting more generally until it becomes onlly natural to parent for peace.

May the universe continue to whisper in your ear every day, and may we all learn to trust that we are exactly where we need to be to become the amazing people we are destined to be.

With love, light and healing,

Laura Mae Lindo.