Applying "Relationship First" to Parenting
I was walking by a dad and his daughter. She was upset and saying "No, I just want to leave." He was actually pretty calm but clearly trying to make a point. He said "When you calm down, we can leave." To which she said "I can't calm down until we leave."
She was young, like 2 or maybe 3.
She knew what she needed.
But dad stuck with his arbitrary "rule" that she had to calm down first.
I guarantee things escalated.
She knew what she needed. Why wouldn't he listen to her? At the root of this, he was stuck in a power game. He wasn't honoring what she needed, he was fixated on some expectation of what she "should do" and he lost focus on the relationship. And teaching her to tune into her body, know what she needs, ask for what she wants and expect that people will at least listen and consider her request.
He missed the mark.
My advice to parents: get beyond your ego and drop into connection. Tune into your kids.
This little girl knew exactly what she needed. But he was unable to HEAR her because he was fixated on controlling the situation.
PS And yes, I am sure there was more to the story and perhaps a lot had happened first. But if he was listening - like really listening to her - he would have scooped her up, told her "honey, that makes complete sense, let's get you out of here so you can calm down". And with that, they would have had a bonding moment instead of continued disconnection.
"Relationship First" was always my motto. That doesn't mean we didn't have boundaries and limits.
It means I always set boundaries and limits with preserving or enhancing the relationship as the central guiding principle.
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