I know when my kids have had big feelings in the past, I have often taken on those feelings myself. If they were worried about something, I would worry as well. If they were angry, I would become angry too. I was so involved I didn’t have perspective and I learned I needed to take a step back from the situation and figure out why I was feeling these strong emotions along with them. I discovered that my children’s experiences were triggering memories from my past where I had similar feelings. I then responded with the same emotions and was almost reliving the events. My kids were needing me and I wasn’t emotionally available.
An example that comes to mind is when my children have been withdrawn or irritable. When I would approach them, they would respond with nothing but negativity. I would attempt to connect with them but get nothing but silence in return. I would walk away and notice that I wouldn’t want to talk to anyone and feel irritable myself. After some personal growth, I learned that my kids were triggering subconscious beliefs I had about myself.
I used to be an irritable and withdrawn teenager. I went through a lot of struggles growing up and it caused a lot of sadness for me. I discovered that when my children behaved this way it was causing me to not only remember all of my unhealed pain, but also concern that they would have the same experiences as me. Becoming conscious of what was triggering me and healing my pain has allowed me to take back control of how I respond to my children when they are behaving this way.
So often we have reactions instead of mindful decisions when interacting with our kids. It is important to remember to factor in our own beliefs, which are often subconscious, and how they are affecting our behavior.