Your toddler is having her second tantrum of the day while your four-year-old son is racing around the house with the neighbor's child. You feel completely stressed out and are questioning your decision to have these kids, with a third on the way! What were you thinking?!
At times like this you might want to remember who your children really are. You might want to remember that your children are spiritual beings with eternal souls, who courageously came here to evolve their souls in love through the earthly experience. You might want to remember that they are wonderful, loving, creative beings who are learning how to operate on the planet in their little bodies. You might want to remember that they are souls who need your love as much as they need oxygen, food and water. You might want to remember that, in their souls, they are peaceful beings, and that they may respond to being seen as peaceful beings even in the midst of chaos.
Your response to your children's difficult behavior has much to do with shaping your own parenting experience, as well as shaping their characters. When you see yourself as having the privilege of shepherding these precious souls into adulthood, rather than being burdened with the task of raising these children, your own experience of parenthood is greatly enhanced. When you connect with the beautiful essence of their spirits, even in the midst of handling the tantrum, you teach them to value their own beauty. When you stay conscious of the love and peacefulness within your own soul, you role-model for them who they really are.
You have the choice each moment to see your children through spiritual eyes of love or through earthly eyes of fear and control. The moment your intention is to control them, you are likely to respond to their tantrums, demands and resistance with anger, exasperation, frustration, compliance or criticism. When your intention is to be loving to yourself and to them, you will find loving ways of limiting their unacceptable behavior. Asking yourself, "What is the loving action toward myself and my children in this moment?" will bring ideas into your mind of healthy ways to handle difficult behavior. We want to limit unacceptable behavior without limiting the aliveness and joy of our children.
For example, if your intention is to have control over your daughter while she's having a tantrum, your own energy will be harsh, angry and judgmental. You might yell at her to stop, or you might walk away in anger and frustration. In either case, you are not being a role-model for the behavior you want. However, if you hold in your heart the wonder and peacefulness of your daughter's soul, you might pick her up and hold her, without giving in to her demands, until she stops her tantrum, letting her know that you love her and that it is okay for her to release her feelings.
Your intention to be loving or controlling not only determines how you end up feeling, but educates your child as well. Your controlling behavior teaches your child to keep finding new ways to control, while behavior that is loving to yourself and to your child, teaches your child about loving herself and loving you. Staying connected with your own love and peacefulness helps you to stay connected with the love and peacefulness of your child's soul, and becomes a mirror to help your child know who he or she really is -- a wonderful, beautiful, loving and peaceful child of God.