Empathy (towards us) to diffuse (their) tension
This past week’s unfolding has taught me more than ever, the importance of empowering our children to express love and compassion towards others and themselves. In our daily hustle, we forget that small steps and interactions with them serve as great opportunities to learn these virtues. I wanted to get Suzanna's insight as a Certified Emotion Code Practitioner and Quickening Coach. Here's my interview with her where she shares 3 key takeaways that we can put into practice to help our kids in dealing with big emotions.
Tell us the one thing about your childhood that's influenced your motherhood journey?
I loved that my mother was always home for me when I got home from school, with all my heart I was grateful for that comfort...and then it changed. She couldn't be home and our lives were in upheaval. I wanted to be a mom who could work and earn from home, so I could give my kids that stability and comfort.
Finish these two sentences:
My greatest strength as a mom that I didn't know existed is my ability to empathize and diffuse tension.
My greatest fear as a mom that I didn't know exists is my children having to go through their own hard, hurtful times and not being able to do anything about it.
What has been your journey in empowering your kids in their emotions, both as a Certified Emotion Code Practitioner and Quickening Coach?
I started off as an overtired, overwhelmed and socially isolated mom (we lived 1,000's of mile from family and were new to the area). When my littles were growing, I was overwhelmed with my own emotions, so much so that I didn't even know where to start in helping them deal with theirs. It just wasn't in my vocabulary. My journey began on a normal day, when I lost my cool. Yelling at my kids hurt my heart, and I could tell it was breaking theirs. So I decided to stop. Then and there I decided that an angry, overwhelmed, controlling mom is not who I want to be and I was going to change. I learned how to breathe. I learned how to feel MY OWN emotions. I learned how to hear my children, especially when fights break out. I learned how to speak positively about my children, instead of focusing on the ways they frustrate me, I focused on their joy, the light in their eyes and the tingly feeling of watching my babies eat (such a silly thing, but it brings me all the feels). The change that has come in me and in my kids is amazing. The early choice prepared me for trials my children would face, and has set the stage for confidence in each other to be able to be open and raw and compassionate.
Was there a big 'aha' moment during this journey?
A big 'aha' for me was learning that my big emotional reactions to my kids behavior were teaching my kids to have big emotional reactions to each other (and others). I learned that empathy goes farther than reaction to change behavior. If my child's behavior is saying that they are angry, I can validate that. "I notice that you are angry, is it because you are feeling frustrated?" And sometimes their response might be, "NO, it is because I AM SAD!". When we open up emotional words and use them to validate and empathize with our kids, they learn to identify what they are feeling, and they learn that you can be trusted with that emotion.
With that, what are 3 takeaways that you can share that other moms can put into practice?
1. Help each other identify what emotions you are actually feeling. There are beautiful and fun charts available. Utilize both positive and negative emotions.
2. Verbally empathize with your child using validation that they truly are feeling this, and help them identify what positive emotion they value that is missing.
3. Together help each other brainstorm ideas of things to do together that will help them feel the positive emotions that they love, and choose one to do together.
Can you remember how it is that your childhood sense of empowerment and confidence grew?
I grew in confidence as my parents trusted me to take care of myself, in hygiene, in play, and in our neighborhood.
From our set of BLAST™️ Flash Cards, select the one that speaks to you as a mother and why you selected that one?
Break the Rules.
As a mother there will be a million books, articles, podcasts and videos telling you how to do it right. Even your own upbringing may leave you thinking there is only one way to do it. You have to be willing to break all those rules. Be willing to make your own rules. Be willing to follow your own intuition as you ponder the needs of YOUR child.
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