The Daily Groove


Who's Demanding?

When you feel bothered or overwhelmed because your child seems to be demanding too much, ask yourself "Who's demanding this of me?"

There's a good chance that a big part of the demand on you is coming from YOU in the form of a "should." If you believe you "should" do something, you are making a demand on yourself!

Remember today that you are free to choose. Whatever the request, you don't have to fulfill it. When you remember your freedom, your child's demands will feel a lot less demanding. :)

What about babies?

From a reader:

This approach is fine for an older child who has needs as well as wants, and who has the ability to delay having needs/wants met. I believe that babies under a certain age have only needs — they need to be held, they need to eat, and they need to be clean — and very little ability to delay having them met.

I always encourage highly responsive (attachment/continuum) parenting, especially for babies. However, there is a huge difference between nurturing because you believe you "should" or "have to," and choosing to nurture from a place of knowing your inherent freedom. That difference is entirely in the mind of the parent and in no way mandates a particular course of action — otherwise it wouldn't be true freedom.

Here's what typically happens to the well-meaning mother who has not fully (re)connected with her inherent freedom:

1. She realizes that conventional, unresponsive, "detachment parenting" is out of accord with her primal nature and that she wants to parent responsively. So far so good...

2. But then she concludes that detachment parenting must be inherently wrong. This is actually a distortion of reality, made under the influence of our "dominator culture" in which everything must be seen as right or wrong. (Long, philosophical explanation omitted for the sake of brevity.:))

3. Once that option is deemed wrong, the mother's connection to her inner freedom is diminished. Responsive nurturing is now something that she "should" do, regardless of how she feels, because the dominator culture values external rules above Inner Guidance (feelings). At first that's not a problem because the new rule is in alignment with her Inner Guidance.

4. It becomes a problem when circumstances change and she feels the pull of too many demands and not enough choices. Her Guidance (emotions, intuition, etc.) is urging her to seek a creative alternative, but her creativity is blocked by her belief that she has no choice, no freedom.

5. Under these conditions, most parents will usually force themselves to do what they "should," all the while building up resentment, until they snap and do things they said they never would — things that undermine the attachment that the "right" parenting was supposed to guarantee.

So I have suggested a path out of this Catch-22 by way of a paradox: "When I feel so free that I could even allow myself to choose the 'wrong' way, my creative channels open wide, and I am more likely to discover a new way that feels even more right than what I currently believe to be the 'right' way."

In other words, you are more likely to get it 'right' if you feel free to get it 'wrong.'

Even simpler, when you claim your freedom to choose, there's a good chance you'll discover that you don't mind fulfilling your child's "demands"; you just didn't like the feeling of no freedom.