JdR Podcast 292
How Do I Say No to My Child?
Becoming a parent is a joyous experience, but for many it can be quite overwhelming. Anxiety can quickly replace joy as we struggle with our own uncertainty and reactivity. How do we set boundaries and say 'no' in ways that don't trigger a power struggle with our child? In this talk, John gives practical advice about how to give your child what your child really needs by coming from quiet clarity and warmth - the 'juiciest' kind of parenting.
"It’s the quiet, lived-in, warm truths in your heart that provide the juiciest parenting."
—John de Ruiter
With John de Ruiter from the January 30, 2012, Cologne, Germany Event
Q: As a mother I’m feeling constant nervousness. My alarm bells go off really quickly with crying, for example. I’d like to know how to sink into letting that be okay for myself. I feel completely undone since he came into my life, and I have an idea I should have some steadiness.
John: Get it from him. Get it from him when you’re meeting with him while he’s not in difficulty. Get it from your bond with him, and when he’s in difficulty relate directly to what you were in with him.
Q: So I have to remember that place.
John: When you’re in it with him, like it. That has you really in it with him, and when he or you are disturbed, like remembering what you were in. Like that you know what you were in; like the truth of what you were in. Like knowing it, even if you can’t feel it. Liking knowing, despite how he is feeling and how you are feeling, gives you the restedness, within, that you’re looking for. That puts you into the best of your parenting.
Get to know what you are in together with him. Get to know it by relating to it while you’re in it, and when you’re not in it. Get to really know it while he is still really little. As he gets older, it will become increasingly difficult for him to give you what he easily gives you now, making it more and more difficult for the two of you to relate directly. Learn from him while he’s little, before he even understands what he’s in. Everything he gives you now you really need for later. What he’s giving you now he really needs, from you, later.
Get to know what you are seeing in him now. Come to a heart understanding of it by spending aware time in it with him and as soon as you can, begin explaining to him what you’ve always been seeing, what you’ve been knowing from him, and develop communication in it. Have him finding the same in you.
Q: We’re just arriving at the point of having to say ‘no’ and I do know what you’re speaking of with this bond and communication, knowing that I share with him. I feel very deeply and I wonder how to translate that into ‘no’. I have a very big resistance to introducing the idea of ‘no’.
John: You need to. Without being able to say ‘no’ to him, without setting really clear boundaries – boundaries that are making sense to you – he won’t know what to do with all of his power. He’ll be disturbed by how much power he has. If you’re not using your power to settle his power, he’ll be unsettled in his own power. His power needs to meet your power.
If you’re emotional in your power in trying to settle his power, then you are misusing your power because of how his power is affecting you. Be gentled in your heart in how you are inwardly with him while you are using your power to settle his power. He’s going to get to know his own power by using his power on you. He’s going to try many things. He needs to get to know his own power, and he needs to come to understand his own power by knowing what you are and how you are in your power, handling him with your heart and handling his power with your power. That will have him settled in his power. He’ll be learning from you how to use power.
Q: I’m just learning how to use power.
John: In being with him everything speeds up.
Q: That’s good. It’s a relief.
John: When you say ‘no’ to him, you need to be grounded in what you know the truth of. If you’re not grounded in what you know the truth of, you’ll be grounded in what you’re wanting in your self. That will give you an actually ungrounded certainty. Without understanding it, he will read that in you. He doesn’t need to understand that it’s an ungrounded certainty. He will have knowledge directly in his own system. He’ll know you’re wrong without even realizing what he’s knowing, so it will come through as reaction to you. Discern the difference between reaction to you because of what you’re not coming from, and reaction to you because he’s using his power to get to know his power – trying his power on you.
Q: Where I’m up to in my mothering is only the place of ungrounded certainty.
John: If you know that it is ungrounded certainty, don’t have it. That will seem to be leaving you with little or nothing. Have it leaving you with the tiny little bit, within, from which you’ll meet with him and, in that, grow.
If you’re being sure when you’re not, you’ll be teaching him to be sure when he’s not. If you are warmly okay in being present and at home in weakness, he will not need to protect his weaknesses. He’ll grow in them with you.
Q: So if I don’t protect I don’t have to worry about transferring that to him, downloading that to him. I let it be transparent?
John: If you’re not protecting because you’re coming from the tiny little bit that you know the truth of in your heart, then yes. If your transparency reaches your core then your transparency comes from your tiny little bit. Otherwise you’ll be transparent with him and he’ll know that there’s something missing. He’ll be asking you for what’s missing. He’ll want the part that’s missing and he’ll ask for it by being hard on you.
Q: How to find that tiny bit, in reactivity?
John: When you’re in reactivity, be warmly and pointedly disloyal to your self. When you’re in reactivity, let go of your entire self. When you are in reactivity, you are falsely trusting your self.
Q: The need I had to control has got amped up since I’ve become a mother so the idea of losing control is what I hear when you say that.
John: You don’t have control that you thought you had. You were always out of control and now you’re realizing it. Warmly don’t need the control that you don’t have.
In your heart, warmly don’t need the control that you don’t have.
Q: It’s on a lot of levels, on the nervous system I don’t know how to say ‘yes’.
John: On the nervous system level, love ‘yes’ in your heart. If you do that, he will know that in you, and eventually he will understand that in you.
Q: It’s a very tense ‘yes’.
John: Then a little bit of pressure will knock it out. If it’s a warm ‘yes’, despite what you’re experiencing in your nervous system, then pressure will open for you the depths of it.
It’s the quiet, lived-in, warm truths in your heart that provide the juiciest parenting. Even if he chooses to not live by the same in himself, he’ll never forget. He’ll always know that from you, he sees. If you live from within this, he’ll grow up knowing more because of what you’re being, and he’ll grow up seeing what he knows, seeing what he knows in you, and he’ll grow up understanding it. He’ll grow up knowing and seeing the truth of it in you. He’ll know it from deep, within, and he won’t know it less if he chooses to not live by it. He’ll always have it, and he’ll always have it to return to.
Love him to bits, until all of the little bits come together in you and in him.
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