Some time ago, I watched a video interview with Bernard Poolman who described how he would reflect his children’s emotions, feelings, expressions and actions back to them without actually reacting to their emotions, feelings, expressions, and actions. I have been practicing this mirroring back with my son for months and it has been a process for us both. In the beginning, I felt myself reacting inside when I reflected himself as myself back to him and his response was reacting back to me in anger and frustration. As time has progressed, it has become one of the base methods of our communication with each other and we both enjoy reflecting our expressions of each other from ourselves back to the other. We have come to the point where we are laughing at and with one another.
We are learning to trust each other.
This type of communication does not stop here as it’s giving me the opportunity to get to know my son and have the ability to discern his real wants and needs. To put this into perspective, I’ll be using the example below:
My son enjoys playing ‘Angry Birds’ on the computer. I do not enjoy it as much as he does so I will only play with him for a short amount of time before I go to another task. As I was making a cherry pie for my husband, my son, on the computer, asks me to come play this game with him. I said ‘no, I am making Daddy a pie’. He said, with a sigh, ‘I guess I’ll just stay in here by myself then.’ I replied, ‘Well, if you’re going to stay in there, then I guess I’ll just stay in here by myself and make this pie.’ He came out to the kitchen with a look of concern on his face – he wanted to make sure that I was ‘okay’. He showed me that he was truly not cool with playing on his own at that moment.
Parents, we are told constantly how we are failing as parents and what we ‘should not’ be doing. We are aware of how we are or have messed up and we are seeing the consequences of this within our world. We search and look and try all kinds of different crazy ‘tricks’ and ‘methods’ to be a better parent. We try to avoid doing everything that everyone is telling us not to do and to be honest, this makes us mess up even worse because it’s not real life stuff that we’re trying to pull off. I’m seeing that I’ve been looking outside of myself for answers – that one piece of the puzzle that’s going to give me an ‘edge’ on this parenting gig. I didn’t realize, until just a few hours ago, that this mystery solution of epic-explainable-in-big-psycho-babble-vocabulary is unreal and does not exist. What works is something that’s right here, right now. Communication within equality. All, as one, as equal. Everything here is a reflection of ourselves.
We must work and never give up so that we can get to the point where we are able to not react to what we’re seeing and hearing so that we can see and hear, for real, what’s going on within ourselves, each other, our children, and our world. I did not give up on communicating with my son as an equal because I had tried everything else, it never ‘worked’, and there was no other option for me to do. And now, I share joy with my child within the trust that we’re building within honest communication to and as ourselves and each other.