There’s an audio version of this post here and a video version here.

I’ve noticed a bit of a theme with uncooperativeness and the mothers that I work with.

Here’s what I’m noticing:

The mothers I tend to work with are generally trying to parent differently to the way their parents did.  So they don’t have a role model or their own childhood experience that they’re basing their parenting on… it’s a steep learning curve!

I see a lot of mothers trying really hard not to do some of the things their parents did, such as: smacking, shaming, shouting, punishing etc

You might find this too, that you know what you don’t want as a parent… but you might struggle a bit with how you do want to positively shape your child’s behaviour?

You might be struggling with getting your child to cooperate with taking a bath, getting dressed, brush their teeth or brush their hair.

You might be finding it near impossible to go anywhere because your child refuses to cooperate with getting in the car seat or impossible to get dinner made because your child keeps climbing all over you!

(If this sounds like you just now, know that even though you might feel alone there’s so many other mums dealing with the same thing!)

What I wanted to share about this is how built up feelings sitting in the body effect our children’s natural willingness to cooperate.

It’s like these feelings, when they don’t have the opportunity to be expressed or released, get stuck in the body and get in the way of our children’s natural willingness to cooperate.

I’m sure you’ve experienced for yourself that when your child is feeling clear, calm and balanced they actually want to cooperate with you.

They want to please you, they want to help you, they want to imitate you. So when they’re NOT doing those things, it’s generally a signal that there are some built up feelings getting in the way of their natural state of being.

And generally your child will be giving you lots of signals that they have some built up feelings through their behaviour. It may just be that you have not been aware of these signals until now. These signs will be agitated or challenging type behaviours like not listening, being uncooperative, hurting others, throwing toys, finding it hard to settle into play, finding it hard to relax for sleep, waking a lot at night, clinging, demanding your attention constantly etc.

If you are like many of the mothers that I work with you’re likely to be trying to respond to uncooperativeness in a calm, patient, rational manner. However, it can be very frustrating and we can start to lose our patience when our explanations and rationalising doesn’t seem to work!

Why? 99% of the time it’s not more information that’s needed. 

Eg If your child has refused to brush their teeth a dozen times and you’ve already patiently explained why they need to do this a dozen times… it’s clear that it’s not more information they’re needing here.

When our children are showing us these signals that they have some built up feelings bubbling up in the body (such as refusing to cooperate) they generally don’t need more information at that time. Feelings and rational thoughts are processed in different areas of the brain so when our children are in this feeling state talking to them rationally and giving more info isn’t really a match and doesn’t really help.

We need to meet them where they are and be with their feelings. (After they have released their feelings and don’t have such a big pressure build up in the body, it would be a better time to talk through the issue and come up with some solutions).

So, instead of trying to rationalise and explain and give further information we can learn to be ok with saying ‘No’ (which come with its own challenges as a sensitive/ empathic mum!) and setting limits around certain behaviours with love. We don’t have to be harsh or mean or aggressive to set a limit, even though that may have been the case when you were a child!  I really find this part to be the golden key to finding balance with your soul values, feelings and actions as a mother.

Some examples

I can see that you’re really upset about going in the car seat. I’m here. I’m listening. But I do need to buckle you in now because we have to get your brother from school.

I can see you’re feeling upset/ angry/ frustrated, I hear you, I’m right here with you. But I’m not willing for you to throw your toys.

I really hear that you don’t want to brush your teeth. You really don’t want to! I’m here. I’m listening. But we do need to brush your teeth today sweetheart.

What’s going to happen?

Its unlikely that your child will just happily accept your limit.

When you set this limit it is going to serve as a catalyst for your kids to release their built up feelings. Subconsciously, this is what our children know they need in order to come back to their natural state of feeling clear, calm, balanced.

They are probably going to cry or be upset or have a tantrum when you set these limits and rather than distracting them you can learn to hold space and be present with their big feelings.

If we can offer our love and presence (not leave our children alone) tears and tantrums actually serve an incredible healing purpose in their bodies, our children are not trying to manipulate us and we don’t need to distract away from them. So if we are aware of this and know this is likely to happen, we can maybe allow a bit more time so that we are not feeling rushed or unable to be present

If you resonate with this approach and you actually would like to try it out, you will very quickly start seeing some tangible benefits for yourself: such as your child feeling clearer, calmer, more in balance, able to settle into play, able to relax for sleep, sleeping peacefully, listening to you and willing to cooperate again.🙌 

What I really LOVE to do is empower you to take concepts like what I’ve shared here and apply them in your real  life. So that you can raise emotionally connected kids with balance, ease and alignment to your soul values!

So to summarise, the concepts are

  1. built up feelings sitting in the body will effect your child’s willingness to cooperate and they will be giving you SIGNALS that they have built up feelings through their agitated type behaviours throughout the day
  2. Its ok to say no and set limits around certain behaviours, with love
  3. Its ok for our children to be upset with these limits and we can learn to be present and hold space for their feelings rather than distracting them
  4. After expressing any built up feelings through tears/ tantrums our children will return to a natural state of clarity, calm and be more willing to cooperate 

If you have any questions or would like some support with this, I’d love to hear from you! You can take a look at my online program Connect or get in touch through my Facebook page and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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