Friday, February 25, 2011

Owning our feelings.

Jim Fay tells a story about the kid that was a friend of his sons. This kid ended up going to a party where he drank and then drove off a mountain, killing himself and five of their friends. He says his mom was a very involved mom, and kind. BUT she made one mistake in the way she taught him how to make decisions. She would say things like "you do it MY way or it's gonna make me mad." and then when he made a mistake she would say "Oh you made me SO mad! I can't believe you made me so mad!" Teaching him to make decisions based on who was going to find out and who he was gonna make mad and how he was going to keep that person from finding out. Not teaching him how to take responsibility for his actions.

I keep this in my mind all the time now, as I have been guilty of this so many times. In Child Development and even in psychology we are taught to use I statements. Saying things like "I feel sad when you do that." HMMM.... that is teaching the poor child that he/she is responsible for the adults feelings. So, in trying to teach my children that they are responsible for their own feelings, I MUST show them that I too am responsible for my feelings NOT them. This is a challenging thing, because I was raised thinking that I was responsible for everyone else. That it was my fault that I was taken from my parents, because I must not have been a good enough kid, I caused problems for my parents. Then later, it was my fault that I was taken advantage of- that I must have asked for it. But I realize now that I was not at fault in either of these situations, I was taught that in my upbringing.

Today I went into the bathroom and found my DD in the sink with water all over her shirt. I said "oh sweetie. that makes me so sad when you do this." and then I stopped cold. CRAP!!! I'm not supposed to say that, what do I say now? Okay, recovery.... " because now I have to give you a consequence, and man I don't want to have to do that." See it is okay to show feelings and express that you are upset.


It is okay for me to say "oh I'm so mad, I don't even know what I am going to do.... I'm going to have to give you a consequence, but not now.... LATER!" Because I own me feelings, and don't put it on the child. This is still a challenge. But I am working on it, and now I am aware!

Also, we need to be aware of their feelings. Saying things like "how sad for you," and "bummer" lets them know that you do care about their feelings too.


  1. Thanks for sharing! I do that a lot and tell kbs that him not doing his job makes me upset or puts more work on me and I don't separate his feelings or job with my feelings and job. They are their own people and sometimes it's hard to remember when everything they do has an effect on us!

  2. Wow...thanks for sharing this. I know I do this a LOT...especially to Klous. So I need to work on it as well!!?!? I don't know how...but will have to start somewhere and focus on saying the right things...the right way!?!?! Thanks are amazing!!!