Lucrecia Anderson wrote:
The third aspect was the epiphany part for me, something lots of other people may take for granted, but something I didn't grow up with and never thought about consciously before. And that was being actively intimate with the other, meaning spending time with them where YOU fully enjoy the experience and revel in their company as individuals. You aren't in the role of mother/caretaker/teacher/wife etc...but just enjoying the moment and fully appreciating your time with this other awesome being and having fun while doing it.
It was an epiphany for me because I wasn't raised that way, my parents were devoted and very responsible caretakers. Intimacy or sharing activities with us as individuals that they enjoyed as much as we did wasn't a part of that, they made sure we had fun but it was a separate thing. I realized that I followed the same pattern, I was always in caretaker mode and hardly every just stopped to really enjoy the others company.
Just throwing that out there as even people that do actively enjoy their kids and other loved ones can forget that aspect when life gets too hectic.
This reminded me of a quote I ran across on facebook a while back. I had to go and look it up again
Successful intimate relationships have a balance between positive and negative feelings and actions between partners. According to relationship researcher John Gottman, the magic ratio is
5 to 1. What does this mean? This means that for every one negative feeling or interaction between partners, there must be five positive feelings or interactions.
I think this is very true! I'd see it when I was a teacher, too. When you're constantly telling a student "No" "Stop that" "You can't do that" "You got that wrong" etc, the child becomes depressed and ceases to listen to you. You need a lot of positive interactions to make up for negative ones. It's kind of like the saying "for every criticism given, give 3 positive feedback." But, I think with a relationship. it's really important to have those fun, positive bonding interactions, not just the positive compliments like, "You did a good job putting away the dishes. Thank you!" So, when we think of our parenting, we've really got to create situations that we can have those positive interactions with our kids, so that when we have to tell them "No," they listen.
With some kids, this is easy to do. Other kids, or at certain times, it terribly difficult. How do you make/find ways to positively interact when the child is constantly making horrible choices? You might have to restructure a LOT of things to make life less stressful and their circumstances more favorable to them being able to not do horrible things every two seconds. It's hard. It's frankly what I had to do (once I finally had the ability due to life finally calming down enough), with my son.
make darn sure you aren't engaging in patterns that are "feeding the beast" inadvertently. It is really really easy to do especially if you are tired/stressed and just want to have some peace. It can take many forms from validating his fears which causes them to increase, to giving him more attention when he is anxious/stressed, etc...
This is a very important point you make! I recall when I was a teacher, and I was having a bad day (didn't get enough sleep, was stressed, whatever), the kids always were crazy. Was I noticing their bad behavior because I was cranky? Were they "acting up" more because they sensed my stress and subconsciously reacted to it? I think a bit of both, each feeding each other in a down-ward spiral. I see the same thing when I'm having a bad day and am stressed, and then I overreact to something my son does, rather than calmly talking to him...and then he gets stressed and acts out even more.
An example: Life's been busy with making presents, my husband working more, making fairies, etc. So, I hadn't been able to keep up on the cleaning as much as I'd like. And the kids had decided that the bathroom was the place to bring all the toys. It was a DISASTER. My brain was freaking out because it was WAY too messy and overwhelming and I didn't know where to start and my husband was working so much so there wasn't even anyone to work on it with me. I finally mustered the energy to tackle it, and asked my son to help by putting all the toys on the floor into a bin. He sensed my stress, and said no and started kind of freaking out. I pleaded with him to help me. That made things worse. Needless to say, the whole thing ended with us both in tears and him having a horrible evening because it got him in a bad state of mind. He really picks up on my stress (or my husband's or anyone else's). I can usually keep myself calm so he stays calm...but that time I just couldn't, and as one can expect, it had some really horrible results!