BEST POSSIBLE MOTIVES
When my children were younger, I sometimes found myself fearing the worst from their behavior. The screaming fit – is this mental illness? Hitting and aggression – is this beyond the scope of normal? Antisocial? I was often tired, needing support and would find myself ruminating about psychological problems or fearing that they had malicious tendencies.
I didn't want to be locked in fearful thinking, but it seemed reflexive.
This fearful thinking contributed to my own reactivity.
Fear and stress can block access to creative problem-solving and compassion.
The game changer came through my NVC practice.
The practice is, when faced with a challenging interaction, to always guess the thing you hope for or want it to be first.
This is the heart of generosity:
Giving someone I love space and open-hearted curiosity.
Leading the interaction with kindness and generosity assures my child that I'm on her side and I want to understand.
This understanding opens the door to discussing other strategies.
This is a practice.
First, set the intention to bring your awareness to your thoughts about your child in difficult moments.
Next, when a situation arises, notice thoughts about your child's behavior that feels scary or stressful.
Ask: what do I hope is the cause?
Get curious about what she might have been needing that drove her to behave that way.
As Alfie Kohn suggests, guess the best possible motive consistent with the facts.
Ask her. She may confirm, or she may clarify.
Either way, assuming the best possible motivation let's her know she is safe to tell the truth, that YOU believe in her inherent goodness, and that YOU ARE here to hold her (energetically, emotionally and or physically) through anything – not just what YOU deem as "good" behavior.
Building trust in this simple way is a game changer.
I'll walk you through the process -- click here to get the worksheet.
If you need some guidance, hop on over to schedule a free consult with me to see how I can help.