Friday, December 12, 2008

The child whisperer

I have been watching The Dog Whisperer for months and months, thrilled every time with how this man can calm seriously screwed up dogs and get them turned in the right direction. He doesn't use gimmicks, tricks, bribes, stock phrases, or anything else. He uses his energy. He stays calm at all times, even when the dog is snarling and biting him. He understands that the dog is acting out of an incorrect belief. He doesn't take any the dog's antics personally. He stays firm, loving, and centered at all times. He pushes his calm, assertive energy outward to let the dog know what he wants. This guy can take a serious problem and have it solved in 20 minutes.

And it has slowly wormed its way into my brain that some of this energetic magic can apply to raising kids. Now, I generally hate the crap of comparing having pets to having kids. I did it myself until I had a child of my own and now I know just how different the two are. They really aren't in the same ball park. Not even the same planet. I am totally clear on that.

But the fact is, the shared energy between parent and child plays a greater role than I tend to consider in the moment. You can't yell at your kids to be quiet and teach them anything other than the loudest one wins. You can't be energetically freaking out and expect the kids to be calm. Honestly, you can't have any strong emotion and not expect them to pick up on it. And when they do, they will react in one of a few ways. They will retreat, panic, or act out. And then, if you don't factor in your own part of the equation, it looks like your child has "problems."

I know, I know, this looks like more of that "parents should do good self care, remember that in an airplane you put the mask on yourself first" kind of crap. But wait. This has an immediate application to kid care. If you actually calm yourself down first, the kids will chill sooner. So, for example, when I am getting more and more panicked about leaving the house on time for an appointment, I could choose to get REALLY REALLY calm and focused. To take my nervous energy and transform it into INTENTION. To make every part of me-- my tone, my body language, my words-- completely and calmly focused on what I need from my kids.

I am sure I have read something like this in countless parenting books, but never in the Cesar Milan kind of way. Never in a YOU ARE CONTRIBUTING TO THE PROBLEM kind of way. I 100% believe in energetic exchange between people. I know that my energy is part of the mix with my kids. I know this could change everything.

So YAY! There is only one minor obstacle between our family and perfect bliss. I just need to get my shit together in a major, in the moment way, when things are at their most stressful. This means I have to react in the OPPOSITE way than my instincts tell me to go.


Bliss looks kind of far from here....


  1. I am perpetually late to EVERYTHING. A huge part of me understands that rushing and yelling will only teach my kids to be late to everything. After all I learned it from my father...

  2. Ha! I love your comment "I know, I know, this looks like more of that "parents should do good self care, remember that in an airplane you put the mask on yourself first" kind of crap. But wait."

    ... did you read my post about our mindfulness bell?! It's all about that kind of crap!!