Jen's storyI have been practising aware parenting to the best of my ability since Annabelle was under 1 year old. The best thing about aware parenting for me is having the presence to sit with my crying child & acknowledge that she is sad & crying. (It’s not easy because in my time-short city life, I am always thinking of all the chores I should be doing).
My beautiful 4 year old can tell me what she is feeling. She will come to me & say “mummy I’m sad because of xxxxxxxx”, or “mummy I’m angry because of xxxxxxxxx”, or “mummy I don’t like that because xxxxxxxx”. She even has the presence to say to strangers or acquaintances “no, I don’t want to do that” with the self confidence that she doesn’t have to do what an adult tells her & not feeling like it is enough reason to say no.
I witnessed her today explaining to one of her best friends that sometimes she needs to be by herself, and the friend needs to play with some one else for a while, and then she will play with them again shortly! She said it with such love, clarity, eye contact & genuine caring that her friend nodded yes when she said “ok?” It was beautiful. Even the friend's parent was impressed.
I also observe that if Annabelle needs to cry & she hasn’t had the space to let it out for several days, her behaviour becomes increasingly irritating until she can have a proper cry. Once the tears start flowing, I can feel the tension melt away from BOTH of us, and when she is finished crying she is immediately happy for days. I notice that if she has let the need to cry build up for long enough, it always comes out in the middle of the night. I can predict when I put her to bed if it’s going to be a crying night.
We spend a lot of time laughing too. I notice that Annabelle has less crying episodes as she gets older. I suspect it is because she has learnt how to articulate her feelings so well, & I parent her in a way that encourages her to express her feelings as soon as I observe something is going on for her. Sometimes her fingers go in her mouth. I know immediately that she is suppressing an emotion & begin straight away to help her discover what she is thinking & feeling. We talk a lot!
Writing now, I realise aware parenting has helped me to be more present in my life. I am also much more aware of & able to articulate my own feelings when they arise.