Do you want a better connection with your children? I'm guessing that we are all nodding at this point. Of course, we do! Here are some thoughts about how to achieve it.
What is connection?
I think of connection as being fully immersed and aware of the present moment. It's the “here and now”. For me personally, as a parent of a child with additional needs, the practice of connection is the greatest key to getting through each day. Focussing on the here and now, stops the time travel: the pain of relentless reliving past experiences and worrying that the challenging times will not end. Connection can be a very helpful way to get through a 'difficult patch' for whatever reason we are struggling.
Seeing through their eyes
Connecting with our child and being with them brings us closer to understanding the world through their eyes, where things might be challenging. We can then anticipate support before things become overwhelming. Connection is powerful because it STOPS the over thinking that can often keep us stuck in patterns that are not serving us or our child.
What is overthinking?
Overthinking comes from the thinking part of the brain - it likes to analyse and procrastinate. It likes to dwell, confirm anxiety, tell you that this is difficult, that this will always be hard that it has always been hard and... BOOM away you will go into a spiral of difficult thoughts. It is often a pattern - have you noticed anything like this?
Your thinking brain
This struggle in our patterns of thought is a suffering and where we feel that is in the space between how things are and how we believe things should be. If you can, try to recognise these thoughts when they come. Remember they are just thoughts. Notice them and be curious about them, “oh there you are again thinking brain”. You could even name that part of your thinking if that’s helpful. Remember, these are thoughts, they will come and go much like
waves crashing in and out. It is useful to know that we are in control of how much we pay attention to these thoughts. We are in charge of how much we allow these to 'weigh heavy' on our minds. They are heavy, or they are not. It is up to us. This awareness, when really considered is incredibly freeing.
When you notice these thoughts pull yourself into awareness - come back in to your body from your head. Be present again and notice where you are and who you’re with - back to observing you with your child and the love and connection between you both.
Russ Harris presents these ideas in The Happiness Trap. He suggests we give connecting a go by imagining we are scientists : seeing the world (your world and your child) for the first time, with “new eyes”.
It is a mindful daily practise to push away that overthinking pattern. Perhaps set a few timers on your phone to remind yourself of this new awareness. Take things slowly, draw out your visual timetable for your day, work closely with your child and be present to notice your connection and each small thing that happens.
Does it change your perspective? Give it a go.
With all my best wishes,
A Confident Start