Kids Are Not Testing Our Boundaries, They Are Testing Our Love
In my blog post yesterday I wrote about
my niece coming to visit me and
how precious our interaction is.
As I was writing it I remembered back
to an experience we had last summer.
Spraying Me With the Hose
I was at her place and we were playing in the backyard.
At one point she had the hose in her hand
and was watering the grass,
watering herself and
generally watering everything.
Occasionally she would turn the hose on me
and the first few times I laughed,
but I really didn’t want to get wet
as I didn’t have a change of clothes.
I Asked Her Not To Wet Me
Every time she was spraying me
I would ask her not to and explain that
while I love the way she sprayed,
and I loved how much fun she was having with the hose
I personally didn’t want to get wet.
I would be very happy if she would not spray me.
In typical 5 year old fashion she would continue to spray me.
At one point I said to her
a little more seriously
that I really didn’t want to get wet
and could she please take care not to spray me.
Will You Get Mad?
At that point she asked me:
“Are you going to get mad if I do it again?”
“No I won’t get mad at you
and I will never get mad at you.
Even if you spray me
I’ll still not get mad at you.”
She looked at me curiously,
almost like she was in shock
and asked: “Why not?”
“Because I love you.
Because I love everything about you.
I’ll never get mad at you
and I will never yell at you.”
She went back to playing after that
and amazingly she never turned the hose on me again.
She Didn’t Need To Test Me Anymore
It seemed like whatever she was seeking,
whatever she was testing
she found and didn’t need to test anymore.
Your Kids Are Not Trying To Manipulate You
Many times we hear people say that
kids will disobey in order to
test our limits or our boundaries.
The traditional response is to say that we
have to be consistent and not give in
or they will always take advantage of us.
Instead I believe they are in fact testing our love.
How far can they push us and
we will still love them and
see the beauty and goodness in them?
They Are Forming Their Self-Image
They do this because they are
learning about themselves,
they are trying to understand their worth.
Pretty much from the time they are born
our kids receive so many limiting
and negative messages about themselves.
When they first arrived here they had an
innate understanding of their worth.
They know that they are deserving of love
because love is their primary experience.
This quickly changes as they have to
adjust to the realities of living in society
even if that society at first is only with their parents.
This is why they test the boundaries of our love
so they can build a self-concept around their experience.
Going to the Fair with My Dad
I remember a time when I was quite young
my dad took my sister and I to the CNE (the fair).
There was one more ride I wanted to go on
at the end of the day and we didn’t have enough tickets.
We need to buy two more and
my dad had exactly that much money in his wallet.
His Last Dollar
It would literally be taking his last dollars
out of his pocket to buy those tickets.
He hesitated and said “This is the last of my money.”
I could see that he didn’t really want to spend it.
(As an adult now I can totally understand that feeling)
I Was Testing His Love
I remember my feeling at that moment,
I honestly didn’t really want to
go on the ride that badly,
but I needed to see how much I was worth to him
so I pressed on saying that I really wanted to go on that ride
please would he buy me the tickets.
I can still see the look of struggle on his face,
the tension building and then
he let out a breath, smiled and
said he would get the tickets.
That was probably one of the happiest moments
of my young life and certainly helped me in forming my self-image.
He might not even remember that moment,
but to me it was a major thing.
I was testing MY worth
Honestly I was not trying to manipulate him,
I was not trying to control him
as the common understanding
of the way children behave goes.
I was testing his love because
I wanted to know how much I was worth loving.
Instilling Worth From The Beginning
If we can start our parenting journey
with this understanding then we can
make our kids feel that sense of worth
so profoundly that they never
really feel the need to test it with us.
This also allows them to go out into the world
with a solid foundation of knowing
that they are worthy of love
profoundly and unconditionally.
It’s Never Too Late To Start
Even if we come upon this understanding
when our kids are older,
whether they are 1 or 5 or 10 or 16
it is never too late for us to begin
instilling this idea into their consciousness.
It is something that definitely looks different at different ages,
but the necessity of it never goes away.
Let Everyone Know That They Are Worthy Of Love And Acceptance
In fact the more I learn about this and its importance
the more I find myself doing it with everyone I interact with.
I am often trying to help people feel
that they are unconditionally worthy
of love and acceptance.
Of course I also have less conscious moments
when my own programming takes a hold of me,
and then I’m not so nice!
But when I’m able to be conscious
and operate from the deeper part of me
then I do my best to impart this message wherever I can.