Make a huge difference in the happiness of your children with this incredibly simple but powerful tip!
What if one simple shift could make a huge difference in your family life? AND make your life a whole lot easier?
Read or listen to the audio version.
I realized recently that there's an area where parents are working much harder than they need to. Where putting in less effort would greatly benefit their family!
Isn't that a nice thought?!?
This realization came last Sunday during a presentation I was giving on "The Essential Principles I've Adopted From NVC (Nonviolent Communication.)"
One of the key NVC teachings* I've integrated in my life and teach parents is empathy.
(I'll get to the simple tip later, once I've laid the foundation for it.)
Learning to truly empathize with your children is one of the most powerful parenting tools you can develop, one of the 4 parenting pillars I consider essential to have ease and harmony in your family while raising whole and happy children. (Click here for a report that covers all 4 pillars of Clean Parenting™.)
What IS empathy? Let's start with what it's not.
Empathy is not:
Take a moment to ask yourself how you feel when someone interacts with you in any of those ways. Think of a time when you were upset and sit with each of the responses.
Now let's move on to what it is.
Empathy is mostly a way of being, not something you do. It's a skill that can be cultivated and which will bring you benefits you may not even be aware of, not only in all your relationships but in your relationship with yourself and in the quality of your inner life.
I experience it as a social meditation.
When you empathize with your children you give them full permission to be who they are and to have the experience they're having. You support them in connecting with their experience and offer the space for them to process it organically. You support them in finding their own innate wisdom. You offer them a natural tool so that they don't carry their unprocessed experiences into the future.
Empathy diffuses conflict and prevents resistance and rebellion. It supports children in becoming self connected, authentic, feeling worthy and being able to find their own solutions and process their experiences on their own.
One note here is that it's absolutely okay if your children cry. In fact it often can happen if they feel true empathy from you. Tears are a powerful way in which experiences get processed. The deeper your children go into the emotion, the more processing is happening. All you have to do is stay with them, perhaps holding them, until the emotion through the tears has passed.
If we engage with words, it's only for the purpose of allowing them to more deeply connect with their experience, so that they can organically move through it, through the innate wisdom of their being.
There is a lot that can be said on communicating from a place of empathy, but for now I'll just offer one guideline.
If you want to speak from a place of empathy, make your goal to have your words match their experience. You can use any words that will allow them to more fully connect with what they're experiencing. If you get an emphatic "YES!" in response to something you say, you'll know that it's what you're doing.
So are you still wondering what I was referring to in the title of this article?
Here it is!
I noticed throughout my call on Sunday that some of the moms were intently trying to figure out how to communicate with their child, how to help them, what to do. I could feel their tension and the intellectual effort of trying to figure it out.
And it was obvious what they needed to hear:
You don't need to do or say ANYTHING!!! All you need to do is BE with your child. Relax, love, don't try to fix anything, just be.
Can you feel that? Can you find that place?
Close your eyes and find it. Feel it. Let it permeate you so that you can remember it and draw upon it when needed.
It's SO easy! And feels good. It's connecting. Relaxing. Natural. And a beautiful gift to give others.
You just need to unlearn your habit of needing to do something, let go of the belief that you help by doing.
Last night, in the midst of writing this article, I had to stop for a weekly coaching call with one of the delightful moms in my group.
At some point during our call her 6 year old daughter walked in, upset. Caroline picked her up lovingly and placed her in her lap. Her daughter was crying and all Caroline provided was complete allowance of her experience, love and compassion. At times she would still talk with me while snuggling her daughter. After just a few minutes, she directed her to go re-join her dad, which her daughter did easily.
Caroline didn't overtly DO or say anything to make her daughter feel better. But from my vantage point I could feel the love, acceptance, compassion, peace and the relaxed energy in Caroline. I wish I had a video of it to share with you.
It was sheer beauty and the exact attitude I know to be profoundly impactful on our children.
*I am NOT a certified NVC teacher, though I have studied it extensively. I want to make it clear that what I teach is my interpretation and integration of NVC, NOT the pure NVC principles.
To read about all four of the core principles of Clean Parenting™, request my FREE report: The Almost Magical Formula for surprising EASE and HARMONY in your family while fully honoring your children’s spirits. When used together, those four principles truly lead to astounding ease and harmony in families (empathy is the fourth one.)
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