I had a deep conversation with my middle child. My middle son has been diagnosed with anxiety, though his case was not severe, his anxiety manifests in self-loathing. Parenting a child is hard already and it makes it twice harder when parenting a child suffering with anxiety. I learned to carefully choose words and use a different approach. I need to be consciously aware when I am talking to him if I disapprove of something he did or if I am teaching him to take ownership of something he did. 

How do I explain to my middle son who is struggling to find words to express how he feels that it is not his fault, if an adult loses control over his emotions and takes all his aggression & frustration out to a child? I told him to grab a slice of bread from the pantry shelf and asked him to describe the bread in detail. What it looks like, the shape of the bread, the color and size. What it smells like and the texture of the bread, etc. Finally, I asked my son to put the bread in the chopping board and slam the bread as hard as he can with the hammer. When he is done, I asked him to slowly grab the bread and I asked him the same questions I asked to describe the bread earlier. I asked him if the bread looked the same, has the same shape with a few holes in it, same color, same size, same smell, same texture, and he said, yes to all. So, I told him that no matter what any adult projects to him or the aggression being transferred to him, he is still the same bread…the same person and he shouldn’t take it personally because he knows no matter how much force is being applied to slamming the hammer into the bread, he is still the same person and no one and nothing can change that.

I realized how many times I was guilty of doing this to my own children. I forget that they are children, little child who does not know anything better. I should refrain myself from setting unreasonable expectations and even expecting them to act like an adult because they are just kids. Now, I am saying I am condoning their less than perfect behavior or encouraging them to refuse to take accountability for their actions. What I realized is by allowing them to make their own mistakes, by allowing them to fail, by allowing them to be heart broken or fall apart, the experiences will teach them and the beauty of it, they will learn from it on their own. I believe that parenting is not hovering around them and carefully protecting them to make mistakes or putting them in a bubble because I am afraid for them to get hurt. It is not letting them follow my path but letting them create their own path, parenting is about understanding that I am an instrument of learning for my children as they are to me. It is about teaching my children how to self-parent themselves, their inner child. It is about allowing my children to trust themselves so when the time comes, they will not second doubt their decision. They are guided by their own sacred heart.

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