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Parenting: Caring For Difficult Emotions is Like Heart Surgery

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inquiry & integration

inquiry instructions

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Inquiry: In an attempt to open your heart, ask yourself “What do I believe my child feels at the most vulnerable level, underneath his defenses?  (refer to Introspective Guides)

Personal Integration:  This practice can be done alone or with a friend, lover, or counselor. Take one to five minutes or longer to contemplate and answer the question. When done with another, it is essential that the listener remains neutral and encourages you by repeating this inquiry as needed to help maintain focus. Underneath the irritable disposition, arrogance, master-mind nature, or withdrawal, our children are vulnerable.  This is a hard thing to remember as we are often triggered by their disconnected ways of acting.  By contemplating this we can gain empathy to help deal with a fragile core that requires us to remember that caring for our kids is often like heart surgery.
Inquiry 2:  Think of when your child is most difficult and ask what questions can I ask that will increase the chances that he or she will think for themselves?
Personal Integration 2: Follow the same instructions as above in the monologue or repeating question format.  Let yourself ponder questions like what do you think of that?  Do you think that will work out well for you?  Help me understand your thinking.  Realizing that our best chance to support our children is if they learn to think for themselves, and not follow our rules through pressure.  Of course we need to set certain parameters, but most importantly, we need to endlessly ask questions that open ourselves to how they think, and most importantly, to support them to think on their own.
Inquiry 3: What tones of voice do you use most frequently that are disconnected from your heart?  Do you get the joke and futility of stopping “bad attitudes” with “bad attitudes?” (Refer to Introspective Guide page 3)
Personal Integration 3: Follow the same instructions as above in the monologue or repeating question format.  Really allow yourself to express out loud the tones that you use when you are most upset.  Don’t just describe them even if you are doing this exercise alone.  See if you can reach the stage of seeing the absurdity of fighting fire with fire if that is what you do.  If your tendency is the opposite, and it is difficult for you to be strong then allow yourself to hear a meek tone.  It is so helpful to be aware of our own sound, as more often than not this is the best indicator of how successful as parents our communication will be. 
Inquiry 4:  Which healing tones do I most want to put my attention to and dedicate myself toward when communicating with my children?  (refer to Introspective Guide page 3
Personal Integration 4: Follow the same instructions as above in the monologue or repeating question format.  This is one of the most difficult practices any of us can enter into.  We are going right into the heart of our greatest attached relationships.   At the same time we are being asked to become more aware of our own life long patterns, at a time when our sense of values, morals, rules, or guidance are being dismissed.   Take a moment to breathe, have some self compassion, and recognize this is a long term project for most of us.  See if you can start with a prayer like  “may I have the wisdom, humility, and courage to open my heart and find what’s best to optimize the chances to connect with my beloved child.”
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Since 1972, Humanistic Spirituality founder Robert Strock has maintained a private spiritual and therapeutic counseling practice that specializes in purposeful living, relationships, spiritual psychology, and death and dying counseling. Humanistic Spirituality provides various spiritual workshops, guided mediations, and licensed marriage family therapists and licensed social work continuing education courses. Contact us to learn how we can help you find inner peace and spiritual awareness through our counseling, or our free guided meditations, videos, audios, writings, introspective guises and more. A warm welcome from the team at Humanistic Spirituality.

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