My 7-year old can’t parent

Healing yourself, loving the world

Each of us have many aspects to us. One part of us is the cool, calm, competent adult. One part of us is the playful, energetic child. One part of us is the wounded, wanting to be loved child. One part of us is the wise, complete soulful voice. There are many more parts and depending on our own development, some parts are more hidden than others.

I recently was feeling out of sorts and anxious. I wasn’t able to connect and re-center so I talked with one of my coaches. What we discovered is that the desperate part of me (which was a very young part of me) was trying to run things. The desperate part of me was getting frustrated and irritated with my children. And no wonder, the desperate part of me was a 7 year old. Imagine a 7 year old trying to run a household and manage three children — it doesn’t work.

As soon as I got that image of me as a youngster trying to make things work, I relaxed. I was able to see that I have choices as to what part of me I bring out today. So now when I get reactive with my children, I recognize that a part of me needs support and recognition. Once I acknowledge that part of me, I can go back to my mother/adult role and be more present in the moment.

The actual process I follow is to consider and write out the answers to the following questions:

  1. What am I feeling right now?
  2.  How old is the part of me feeling this way?
  3.  Is there a specific memory associated with this feeling?
  4.  Just sit at the edge of that memory and consider what support did I need then that I didn’t get enough of?
  5.  Acknowledge that I didn’t get what I needed and remind myself that I now have different choices and options.
  6.  Define what support I need now. Sometimes this process is enough. Other times, I use EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) to address the “old” emotions. Sometimes I need the support of another person. Or perhaps just some time to refocus and recharge. You will know. We always do.

Be gentle. Love yourself. And the rest will just follow.

Photo by Waranont Wichittranont

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Deborah Donndelinger

Deborah Donndelinger

I'm writing from Maryland, but my heart goes out all over the world. I'm cheering you on as you tackle the hard stuff, embrace the easy, and show up to help others.

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