The Purpose of Opposition in Children: Journey to Stop 3: "But... It's Driving Me Crazy!!"
You’re not alone. Read on…
(Continuing from the last 2 blog posts exploring the human instinct of counterwill...)
Here’s the thing. Have you heard of your alpha instinct? That’s the human drive to be in charge in service of the wellbeing of people who depend on us. And your steady alpha position is crucial to our children’s healthy development. Yes, we ARE in a better position than they are to know what’s best for them. Just between you and me, effective parenting and teaching does consist of imposing our benevolent will on children! It’s just that if they feel that will more than they feel our connection, nature causes them to react with counterwill.
Our children’s counterwill can be upsetting to our alpha instinct. And that can easily bring up our own counterwill reaction. (Remember, counterwill is in all of us, at every age. Yep, you have counterwill. It helps protect you from tyrants!)
Okay, here’s our status update:
When both our alpha instinct and our own counterwill show up with our child’s counterwill, our child’s alpha also pops up, upset by our counterwill, OMG!!! (Oh, and by the way... They also have the alpha instinct.) We end up in an automatic raging battle of instinctive competing reactions to each other. And this time nobody’s alpha cares much about caring. Everyone ends up unconsciously competing to win at all costs.
Does any of that sound at all familiar? No? Great! You are truly blessed.
The rest of us can easily end up in a battle with our child while wondering what we're doing and how we got there. Welcome to the shadows of human life. So sorry about that! It happens.
Stay tuned for how mindfulness can help sort out the normal messes of family life.
In the meantime, rest assured that no matter who you are and what’s happening, in a world of 7 billion humans, there’s a whole crowd of people who share your plight. And I've been there more times than I'd like to admit. While that could seem like small consolation, knowing we are not alone is one of our most profound needs as humans and can even help temper these automatic reactions.
So welcome to Stop 3, halfway through our journey:
You are not alone.
Let’s review the stops, so far…
1. The first helpful response to counterwill is simply to be aware that it exists.
2. In the moment, the stronger the connection, the weaker the counterwill. The weaker the connection, the stronger the counterwill.
3. You are not alone.
Stops 4, 5 and 6 will contain many nuggets to ground us in fun, humor, the importance of imperfection, boundaries, specific suggestions, and much compassion.
See you soon!