Today, I am feeling very grateful for an article I read. Here is a link to it so you can read it too if you like: http://t.co/FYnXMSIPI3
The article was titled Dear Dad, You’re Doing It All Wrong.
It was a fairly short article on the perspective of a child, and how what children want from us is not the gadgety, busy, experience driven life but rather a deep, meaningful life full of connection. I think this is something we all know – somewhere inside. And I have really been on a journey of really trying to CONNECT with my daughter and make sure that she really knows her worth.
It started for me at the Love event my company put on in December, and Bruce Muzik was speaking about the different kinds of people presenting in a relationship, and one of them was (and this is totally just what I remember, the terms are not right) a kind of person who is insecure inn love and is constantly craving attention from their loved on and re-confirmation of love. I realized that this was how my daughter is – she is always seeking affirmation of my love, it especially presents in separation anxiety and her need to be constantly hugging or showing other affection.
I may be painting a negative picture of her – really she is a very good child, she doesn’t act out, she just seems to have these fears all the time that I can’t quite GIVE her enough to make them go away. So I talked with Bruce about it, and he said that it probably stemmed from instances of inconsistency in her formative years. At first I could only think of one clear instance of that, and that was when we had a REALLY bad thunderstorm when she was about 2 or 3, and I was in my bedroom across our apartment from hers. This clap of thunder was SO loud that I woke up from a dead sleep screaming. And I could not hear her initially over the racket, but she was out of her room, trying to find me in the dark, and absolutely terrified, screaming, shaking …. and she was alone in her search for me until I heard her.
Later I would realize that there were more inconsistencies with her, but the number one being when I am focused on my work. When I am really in the groove working, or trying to get something done, I tend to tune out the rest of the world. Which includes her. So when my focus is on her, its ON her, but then when my focus is on work, its ON work. Not her.
The other one was that I took some bad advice from people because I was searching for ways to try to get her to stay in her bed when she was little instead of always coming to my room to sleep with me. People that were supposed to have “”degrees” in childhood development said just make sure she is safe, and shut her in he room until she goes to sleep. Ignore her and very quickly, she will learn that she is supposed to go to sleep on her own. I was always an attachment parenter, and I never let my kids cry it out – I felt that I was neglecting their only way of communicating if i did not answer their cries, and so for a while I tried this. She never stopped, she never “learned” to stop crying and go to sleep. I’ve always felt that was a very bad choice on my part to try that, and I felt like it broke a trust that she had in me.
Which leads to her need for validation today.
SO – in talking to Bruce I learned how to regress her and give her a happier ending to the thunderstorm night, and the times when I tried to keep her in her room to go to sleep. I did that, and she accepted it, and understood why. I was very frank with her and said that I had felt like i had failed her, and she said she forgave me. (She is only 7 now).
But, this article I read, and Bruce’s teaching have made me realize that the absolute BEST thing I can do for her is give her my attention. Look her in the eyes, comment to her, UNfocus from work if that is what she needs from me in that moment. My computer does not know if I am looking it in the eye, but she does. I don’t have all that much time with her when she is this little, and I can never get it back if I give it up.
So I am grateful today for this article, for having the hammer drive the nail home once again.
Now, I am going to go sit with her on the couch and watch a movie.