Yesterday my middle son who is 9 and a half nearly, had a breakthrough in communication around his feelings.
In the morning I got some coaching which I won’t cover every element but this part alone. I’ve been avoiding parenting my youngest two, thinking I’ve got the job done on the eldest and the eldest being a role model will get the parenting of the youngest done. Convoluted but authentic and true of the me before coaching and before seeing what there was to be seen.
So, the middle son was crying and upset and I witnessed what was going on. I thought there’s more to this. Remember I took on being more curious and inquisitive to all of my children. He was being teased about having a girlfriend by his older brother (the brother is 10, turning 11 in August). Most times I would have just roused on the eldest because of the emotional reaction of the middle son. He was crying he was upset therefore eldest son MUST have done something to hurt his feelings. This time, I stopped and I observed.
I took the middle son aside and asked him what’s going on. What’s really going on here. Finally he reveals that the older brother did this before: teased about having a girlfriend while they were online playing a game. I said ok so what happened? He explained what happened, listening intently for the language and the undelivered communication under the language.
Everyone laughed at him and his brother turned the game off. What did you make it mean about you. I asked him in a number of ways. What did you make it mean. It wasn’t getting a response so I switched it up and shared a story from my own life. When I was little I liked someone but I didnt tell anyone because I didn’t want them to tell the person that I liked. Then one time at camp everyone was telling me someone else liked me. I didn’t know how to say I don’t like them without hurting their feelings so I just felt upset that everyone was telling me that someone else liked me. I also felt bad for the person who did like me because if that was me, I wouldn’t have wanted everyone to know and tell me either.
He then started to share he didn’t want to be laughed at. He felt ridiculed. He felt picked on. Most of all hurt by his brother who is meant to be on his side, and also wasn’t there for him. No one was there for him, sticking up for him at all among his friends either. So he felt alone and not belonging. Not part of the joke but the joke was at the expense of him. I shared the science behind the fast decisions we make moment to moment about the things that happen. He decided something about himself in that moment. We separated the what happened the factual events from the decision he made about himself. When you realise you created the decision you have the power to create something else.
I told him I was there for him and we would be able to work on these kinds of things. I told him he had a breakthrough today and I was proud of him. I also made sure he knew we could keep talking about this and also more information I would give to him to help empower him in future when something like this happens again.
Now this whole thing takes effort. It takes a commitment to be all the way over there in your child’s world and even I needed to slow down even more to help him get there. I also needed no distractions around me and to be honest there were distractions. It needed to be just me and just him having this kind of conversation.
I let him know we would continue working on this but that in saying the words out loud (instead of just the little voice in our head or internal dialogue) - the ones we decide so quickly in those moments when we’re upset, is the key to letting it go or disappearing the upset.
This also helped me to see something about myself in the upset I’ve been dealing with in my adult friendship. I decided in the moment of drama, I can’t trust you. It’s something that is from my past repeating and when you listen you have to listen deeply because there is always more much more than the first or surface comment.
“I can’t trust you because you don’t love me” the feeling of hurt comes from the comment or the fast decision you make in your mind. In a flash you always decide something there and then but then you don’t realise the decisions you made are actually what is in your way, not what someone else did or said. It was what you decided about what someone else did or said. Not something outside of you upsetting you, it’s you upsetting yourself in the fast decisions you make.
There is much more for me to discover about myself around this upset but the point is that everything that happens to us that doesn’t work for us, there is always a fast decision we make that we forget we made in that flash moment. Start paying attention and observing how quickly you make them and then how quickly you can catch them.
Hi my name is Angela. I have loved writing since I was able to hold a pencil in my hand. I soon learnt I had a gift of connecting with my ancestors through writing before my 30th birthday.