The Daily Groove

Merging With Your Child's Flow

A child's flow is a powerful force, like the traffic on a highway.

When you want your child to change to a new flow, such as leaving a playground or getting ready for bed, it helps to "merge" with his or her flow first. You can avoid a "collision" if you slow down and check out your child's "traffic conditions" before attempting to merge. Just wait until you feel an opening, then go.

Once you're flowing together, it's a lot easier to shift to a new flow.

Comments (closed)

Yeah, but...

Someone wrote me asking, "What happens if the opening takes hours to emerge?"

My experience is that the longer I am willing to wait, the shorter the wait will be. Don't you love paradoxes? ;)

If you just focus on softening your own resistance, i.e. finding peace with what is, you will connect with that willingness.

To expand the traffic analogy to the extreme... If you perceive the traffic as "bad" and you are cursing and resisting it vigorously — telling yourself "I'm never going to merge!" — then you will be too busy resisting to notice the brief, subtle merging opportunities as they arise. But if you make peace with things the way they are, that peace frees up your attention and energy to focus and respond with perfect timing at the precise moment the opportunity emerges.

I wrote a personal example of the waiting paradox in this article:

Traffic conditions

In our case our five year old son loves being at the playground so much that from our past experience it genuinely feels that his traffic conditions don't allow for a successful opening until AFTER it is literally cold and DARK. If some teenagers are lingering he still insists on staying. This happens regardless of how long he has been there. When we try to approach him previous to that he either turns his head if he is close by or runs away. If we mention that we are hungry or tired, he runs away. Any hint of frustration or anger and he quickly goes in or on a piece of playground equipment where we can't reach him. We feel totally powerless at this point and usually I just end up waiting. This has left up feeling hesitant to bring him back to the park, although we continue to do so.

Disempowerment is a form of resistance

I can understand your situation (been there), and I think you would do well to try what I have suggested above and in today's Daily Groove.

The feeling of disempowerment is your Emotional Guidance telling you that you are holding thoughts that block your awareness of your own Authentic Power.

Getting centered means gradually releasing disempowering thoughts and reaching for any thought that feels better, brings relief, and/or helps you connect with that Power.

When you make this shift unconditionally (in spite of the seemingly disempowering conditions), the conditions will eventually change, and it will seem like a miracle (which it is) that defies logic (which it does).

An example of successful merging

Here's how one Daily Groover merges with her 3-yr-old son's flow:

For instance if he is playing with his cars, I have him "park" them before we go, this incorporates his play with cleaning up and provides a transition. Win-Win for us both. :)

Mommy working...

This morning as I left for work, my almost three-year-old refused to let me leave. He stood in front of the door saying "No, Mama. Stay." Then, he'd raise his hands to me and say "Rock-a-bye! Rock-a-bye!" (Now, mind you, this little boy doesn't normally want to rock-a-bye - he wants to move and play and jump and run!) I did as he wanted for 30 minutes, continually reminding him that I had to go to work and I'd be home soon when we would play - listing all the great things he'd do today with his grandma and all the great things we'd do tonight with daddy. He still refused to let me leave - and I could hear him crying when I finally did leave. So... How can I apply this concept to me leaving the house? It does work (usually!) when we try to leave the playground or other fun activities... Me leaving for work is more challenging and I'm unsure why.

Re: Mommy working...

Your situation is complex and doesn't really lend itself to a tidy answer in this format, so I would encourage you to contact me for an in-depth consultation (detailed info is at

There are two major dynamics at play here: attachment issues and empowerment issues. Your use of the phrases "refused to let me leave" and "had to go to work" belie your feelings of disempowerment in this situation. So the first thing I'd work with you on is connecting with your Authentic Power. When you connect in that way, two things happen: half of your problems disappear on their own, and creative ideas to solve the other half come to you easily.

Click here to search for Daily Groove messages that mention Authentic Power.

mommy working

We've had many instances where it has been a problem for my son and I to seperate... for me to go to work or for him to spend time with his father. We came up with a goodbye ritual. I say a poem, he helps me if I forget a line, we hug and he goes on his way happily. The poem ends... it's time to run and play have a wonderful day. It starts with while we are apart I'll hold him in my heart. We went from a day where I "couldn't" leave him at grandmas and so I called off work to happy partings. The ritual has really helped us both stay connected and open.

Re: Merging With Your Child's Flow

I read this message when it first came out, and since then, it has helped me.

My daughter also loves the park. We have two parks in our area that are walking distance. I have been letting Annalise run and play to her heart's content and she really never takes more than a couple hours at the park. I have trouble believing the post about the child who wants to stay until after dark.

I also wanted to add that I am a working mother as well. I work on Saturday and Sunday, while my husband works Monday through Friday.
Every single day, whichever one of us is not working will have our daughter in another room, occupied with something else, and the one of us who is working slips out the back door without being missed. Annalise is happy all day long with no separation issues, and even happier when the one of us who's working comes through the door.

Re: Merging With Your Child's Flow

Although the above comment was left years ago, I'd like to say that the method of slipping away unnoticed is generally not recommended, even if it works for her. Many if not most children, depending of course on age, temperament, situation and other factors, will eventually notice one parent has left without saying goodbye, and get very confused and upset by this. Done regularly over time this practice can erode trust. It's usually better to say a clear goodbye, even if it upsets the child. Obviously finding a loving goodbye ritual like the one mentioned above can help prevent this separation pain, as well as being sure to maintain a good strong connection with your child at all times.