Sedona Retreat Stories

A column about the adventures and insights that come from Sedona Retreats or living in Sedona or as I call it--The Magic Kingdom!

Doing Something About How Your Children See the World

*Dedicated to Beth, a warrior mother walking her talk.  A Ho, my friend, A Ho.

A few months back, I had two wonderful mothers here on multi-day Sedona retreat. What was interesting is that even though they were on separate retreats they had very similar stories—in fact they looked alike!  Both were recently divorced and had multiple children.  During my meetings with them, I had some deep insights about their children and higher-level parenting. I promised Beth I would write a story about my insights which she heard deeply (Go Beth! Testimonial)
I want to set this article up by telling you a few interesting facts:

  1. According to current traditional mental health literature children learn in three different ways: one, they inherit their parents inner emotional life; two, how their parents are interacting with the world and each other, in other words, modeling; and three, what you’re telling them verbally (which drops dramatically when they become teenagers!)
  2. Between ages 7 and when kids are born, they are a giant sponge, they have no discernment, they take in everything both positive and negative.  The information they receive forms their subconscious which they will see their world through, especially when they are in a low mood.

Sometimes with clients on retreat it might be important to identify the beliefs and imprints from their childhood they are still operating from or seeing the world thru. Those imprints are really like a filter we look through and then experience our world based on the content of that imprint. For example: “I can’t get anything right. I’m always wrong.”  If you looked at your world thru these words, you get a constant state of judgment of yourself and need to be perfect or fear of making a mistake.
Now back to my two clients and their kids. I asked them both two questions:
1. What imprints and beliefs do you think your children formed as result of watching you and your ex-husband go through conflict and then divorce?  Remember based on the above and they way kids learn—they picked up on that interaction no matter how much you both tried to hide it.
2. What imprints and beliefs did you yourself create from that experiences leading to divorce? And again, remembering, that your kids will inherit your inner emotional life
I think these are powerful questions and they take courage to explore. But I believe the process can really create a different future for your children and yourself. My assertion is why not address these beliefs now as opposed to when they become adults. Make sense?
Depending on the children’s age, you can actually engage them in a partnership about discovering these beliefs—trying to keep it as light as possible.  For example, a general one: “When you saw Daddy and me fighting what did you feel or think”?  Or, if they are perhaps a teenage girl, you could ask them, “Do you think its ok for women to not fight back and just try and go along?” That’s a big one and one that has come up many times on retreat.  Or the opposite, a non verbal one: “When someone is yelling at you, you yell back louder and don’t let them win!”
There are so many negative messages being passed around when a couple is having trouble.  So, if you could sit down and really try and identify them, I believe it would take your parenting to a higher level because you would see very clearly why your children are behaving in a certain way and thus see their innocence. But also, see your innocence and don’t get into a big guilt trip!  “Oh my God, what have I done to my children?” That will help nothing. You were living your life and parenting from that information you had—period!  You are getting more and perhaps new information right now! Go make use of it, my friends!
I suggested to Beth, that in partnership with her children she could actually write these down and put them on the refrigerator.  And to point out to herself and her children when they are seeing the world through one of the beliefs, which of course are usually negative. Ask yourself and your kids: “Am I seeing this event through the negative filter of the past or is there another possible way of looking at this?” Wow! Can you imagine how powerful that would be if a twelve year old heard that!  The mission is to empower yourself and your children to have an insight that when they see their world or events negatively it’s coming out of these beliefs and has nothing to do with reality!
When I explain to parents the three ways children learn, they all get it but very few make the connection to their present day parenting and those three rules. Meaning, they don’t realize at a deeper level that the way to teach their children is by working on themselves, by modeling to them.  If you are divorced and want to help your children dissolve those beliefs that were formed, then first dissolve them in yourself—simply stop seeing your life thru them: “I will never open myself again to another man.” Guess how your teenager is going to interact with the opposite sex when they get older?
I sense this is the first installment, lots to talk about on this subject! Brothers and sisters, go about this exploration with lightness, continue to invite your natural wisdom to assist you—meaning stay out of your head—you head-trippers know who you are!
Let your parenting be an exploration!
A Ho,

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