Parenting and The End of Blame
Nicole Telfer of http://www.empoweredkids.co.uk interviews Byron Katie on parenting:
Q: Can you help us understand what lies beneath those emotional triggers? Why are kids so good at pushing our buttons?
Katie: If I see them the way they are, then we’re connected. If I see the old them of the past, it influences the way I see them now. The problem lies with me, not with my child. When we stop blaming the child and look to ourselves, that’s when real change begins.
Q: My kids don’t listen to me. The only way I can get them to do as I say is to yell and scream.
Katie: When I think they’re not listening to me, am I listening to them? No one is guilty. There are just two people who love each other trying to communicate.
Q: How can we tell when we’re observing behavior, that is something they need to address, or if it’s something they’re mirroring in us that we need to address?
Q: How can I use The Work so that I can stay grounded? Sometimes I just lose it.
Katie: Sometimes we can’t connect. Later, I’d get a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet, I’d close my eyes, and I’d imagine myself back into that situation when I was frustrated with my child. I’d imagine us, just the way we were, and I would identify thoughts I was thinking in that situation. The Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet is made for this. It wasn’t my child who caused my anger; it’s what I was thinking and believing.
Then I would question each thought, using the four questions and the turnarounds.
Example: He doesn’t listen to me.
1. Is it true? (Yes or no.)
I’d close my eyes and I witness what I said to them, the emotions I felt.
2. Can I absolutely know that it’s true?
3. How do I react, what happens, when I believe that thought?
I see that I put my hands on my hips. I gave my child “the look.”
I threw up my hands.
I can see so clearly how I reacted when I believed the thought “He doesn’t listen to me.”
4. Who would I be without the thought?
I don’t listen to me. I wasn’t listening to the things I was saying. I wasn’t taking my own advise. I just kept talking to him in that oblivious way.
I don’t listen to him.
He does listen to me.
Then I look at that situation and it shows me examples of how the turnaround is as true or truer.
Even if a child is trying to drown me out, he hears me. By going back to situation and witnessing, I can always see where that child is listening.
When we really listen, we can hear the signals that our children are giving us, and they wake us up.
If there’s a problem in my house, I look to myself. That’s very empowering, because no one has to change other than me. That’s what husbands and children are for; they push our buttons so that we can get free.
Q: As parents, how can we continue to teach our kids to keep practicing The Work, so they can find the peace within themselves?
Q: How can I use The Work to deal with my need for approval so I don’t put that onto my kids?
Q: My twelve-year-old daughter has become very closed. She won’t open up and tell me about her day or her interactions with her friends. I feel like I’m locked out of her life. How can I find my way back in?
Nicole: The biggest life lesson I’ve taken away from your Work is that the whole purpose for these close, connected relationships is to teach me more about myself. They stand up and show me where I need to grow. And your book for children, Tiger-Tiger, Is It True? allowed me to introduce the whole process to my kids at a really young age.
“If think they need to turn it around, I need to turn it around.
If I think someone should question their thoughts, I need to question my thoughts.” —Byron Katie