Tuesday, January 01, 2008

exploring trust

I've often read in ru articles or posts that for many, living ru is about fostering and preserving a loving, genuine relationship with the child.
"My relationship comes first, and I protect that," sort of thing.
I've also read quite a bit about building trust with the child, and sometimes working hard to get some of that trust back.

Mostly I've almost dismissed how imperative these things are. My thinking has been "We have absolutely wonderful relationships!" (Eric, the children and I.)
And we do.
But in delving deeper, considering my relationship with my own mother (which is pretty superficial, by my standards) and considering how childhood pains absolutely stick with you and haunt you far into adulthood - I'd best keep on my toes.

My son has been feeling frustrated lately. The last few days he's just sort of lashed out when something goes awry - and hasn't been able to approach things from a different perspective. Nothing terribly violent, just.... say Maddie is singing a song, like abc's, and she'll sing "abcd, hijk..." and he'll just shout or scream at her "That's not the way it goes!!" (I'm not even all that certain that he's angry - it could be just that I'm more sensitive to it, and it's bothering me. But this speculation comes to me in the writing of it, and not in the last few days....)
Geeez! I think.
So the night before last I took him to his room so we could talk in peace and quiet for a few minutes.
"What's going on, Bud? You feeling really frustrated?"
"What is it?"
"Well, she just....."
"Hmmm. Well, Maddie is just trying to learn the song, and the best way for her is to practice."
Now here's where the trust comes in....
"Is that really (screaming, hitting, yelling, kicking) the way you want to express yourself?"
Now this can go two ways. If I am judging, and not a real friend, and cannot accept my child and his emotions for What They Are - then this can have a really shaming effect on my child's thinking and emotional health - for many years to come, no doubt.
But - if my child trusts me, and knows that I love him No Matter What - and that the decision is entirely his own - then this leads him to self acceptance, self love, and representing himself best Who He Wants To Be.
So the questions continue - in other situations, not necessarily all of these in this particular conversation- ... Is that the reaction you want? Is that really what you want to do? Is this what makes your heart happy, and how you want to feel?
Trev expressed something like that it was all he could come up with.
"I certainly understand that. Sometimes you just run out, don't you? I run out a lot. I say things and do things that are not what I really want to say or do."

So, then - Trust.
Trust is an imperative part of this particular equation. It is absolutely essential that my children trust me enough to say "Yes! It's what I want to do!" and "Yes! It liberated me!" They need to know the freedom of expressing and releasing their emotions without recriminations.

It's a fine line to walk.
Well, in this beginning of the contemplation of it it's fine.
But as I choose my words carefully while trying to raise my children to be considerate of their decisions and the resulting consequences, I believe the path will become broader and eventually our feet will trod upon it assuredly - sometimes with heavy (and un-careful) stomps, sometimes with daring leaps, and sometimes with light and quick playful dancing steps.
Always knowing we're safe and loved - always knowing that we can trust.


Mama Podkayne said...

It is so easy to betray that trust and then work hard to rebuild it. This is something I've been swirling about as well, mostly because I have trust issues myself and I am not very confident in building bonds with my child that I've never experienced before.

Stephanie Ozenne said...

Thanks for this one. Emmett has actually been doing a lot of the same thing lately - announcing in a loud and angry voice that he's angry, yelling at people, etc. I've been trying to gently point out to him that people are affected by his tone, but it feels awkward. I don't want to shame or order him to behave differently, I just want him to understand how people are likely to respond and make a conscious choice.

I don't know how to get that across, exactly, so I just muddle along and try. Nice to know you're in the trenches with me! ;)

Mama Podkayne said...

That's just it. How to communicate with the wee ones that there are emotions and feeling outside of their own that they affect AND get them to care! It is a developmental process, I am sure.

I realized that the best practice is to do just that- live it, so she will learn it. I have counted how many times I raise my voice and get frustrated in a day- too many. My little wonder is just learning that it is how we do things by watching me. Yike.

Stephanie S. said...

MP - I'm going to respond to this, but it will be a bit!

KMDuff said...

I can't think of what to say exactly, besides of course I deal with similar things. Thanks for posting though.