Connection seeking rather than attention seeking.

Karen Young

If we knew everything – absolutely everything – about each other everything we do would make sense. It doesn’t mean it would be okay, but it would make sense.

Too often though, when our kids do things that aren’t so ‘adorable’ we are quick to judge, either them, ourselves, or both. The truth of it all is that as much as our kids need boundaries, they (and we) need compassion and space to find clarity. If we can look at their behaviour, as wild as it might be, with curious eyes, we’re more likely to be able to give them what they need to move forward. For sure we might be furious or baffled by what they’re doing, but if we could understand everything going on for them it would make sense.

All behaviour is driven by a need, and if we can look at their behaviour with curiosity (and I know how hard this can be sometimes!) we can discover the blind spots that can reveal the need. The need might be connection, attention, stillness, food, a sleep, a cuddle, space, a little power and influence (especially if they’ve been following rules all day at school) – all valid.

Of course we need to talk to them about how to meet the need in ways that don’t end in chaos, but the time for this will come after the storm. If the need isn’t clear, that’s okay. Preserve the connection with them as much as you can by validating what you see and letting them know you’re there. Then, ‘I know if I could understand everything that’s going on for you right now what you’re doing would make sense. Can you help me understand?’ They might not be able to explain if they are in big emotion, but ride the wave with them until the emotion eases and then talk.

Our kids and teens are no different to us. We all do things that dull our shine sometimes. We don’t do these things because we’re bad, we do them most often because we’re feeling bad. When this happens, we don’t need judgement. Nope. We know when we’re being feral, just like our kids have a clue when they are. What we (and they) need is space to find calm and clarity. As their important big person, the space you create in your connection with them is the most healing, calming, insight-making space of all.♥️