I was getting more and more frustrated one weekend, over my son being so distracted, unfocused and generally annoying! In particular his lack of focus when eating was driving me mad! He would spin around in his chair, dropping food all over the floor, eat with his hands, not his cutlery even though I had asked several times for him to eat properly. His inability to “hear” me, and listen to instructions was exasperating! Where had my usually cooperative and thoughtful son gone??
I decided to explore this during my listening partnership, as I knew something needed to shift in order for us all to get back to co-existing in harmony. My frustration, and my son’s distracted behaviour was starting to affect others in the household, and I wasn’t feeling good about how I was parenting.
I ranted and raved to my listening partner about how annoying and frustrating my son’s behaviour was! I really felt the feelings within me, and let them come up to the surface to be released. I said things I would not say to my son, but in this safe space of listening time, I got them out, and could feel the tension within me start to diminish. I started laughing at myself and how ridiculous it all sounded, and also noticed how good that felt, to laugh, releasing the seriousness and tightness around my feelings. My listening partner supported me by encouraging the laughter, and then she gently asked if my son’s behaviour reminded me of anything. It suddenly dawned on me, that he was reflecting parts of myself that I didn’t like, and found annoying and frustrating! I had been quite distracted in the past week, not slowing down to eat properly, flitting from one task to then next in a very unfocused way!! What a revelation!! I started laughing even more, as I could see the whole picture so much more clearly. I could also start to let go of the annoyance and frustration I felt towards myself, for not parenting the way that I wanted to, but also for having so much to do and feeling frustrated that it would never get done. I felt such relief, that I had this insight, and I had something practical to work with – I needed to slow down and be more focused. Rather than trying to force my son to do this, I needed to do it myself!
So, I tried this over the next few days. Every time I had a meal, I would focus on eating without distraction, and I was a lot more mindful in going about my daily tasks, staying focused on one thing instead of multi-tasking so much. I also was able to give my son some lovely one on one time, where we went out together for a couple of hours and he chose where we went and what we did. This was so much fun, and I felt so much better about my parenting, and realised there was hardly any annoyance and frustration within me, and there wasn’t that previous urgency to get everything done. My son’s behaviour also changed, while he was out with me, he sat quietly at the park to finish his drink, he stayed focused on the activities he had chosen, and the next few meal times at home were a lot less messy!
Lyra L'Estrange, Parenting by Connection Instructor, QLD, Australia.
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