A few months ago Darik and I took some communications classes at the same time we signed up for a workshop on campus taught by seniors (for their capstone) based on the book by John Gottman "Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child." While it was a bit weird to be in a parenting class filled with BYU-Idaho students whose oldest child was 2, learning about parenting. We were the same age as the professor in the class who observed :-) But Ellie and I had increasingly been butting heads and struggling relationship wise, in addition to her issues of struggling identifying and processing her passionate emotions about all things - and I thought it could be helpful.
What was interesting is a lot of the principles we learned in our communications class were the same things applied in the parenting class - there was a lot of overlap.
My parenting style had been much more love-and-logic (calm down times, etc) style and while taking this class I realized I probably was applying some things wrong. For example: in the BYUI class we were taught to always be emotionally honest with your child. Always identify and communicate your emotions: whether you're angry, sad, etc. That trust is built on honesty and finding a way to express anger and sadness in productive instead of destructive ways. In love and logic I remember the class we took 5 years ago talking about never letting your kids see you lose your cool. So if you're about to crack, not to let them see it - because it shows they can push your buttons and they'll do it again more next time. So I started being fake with my emotions, while most kids would process this fine it had profound effects on Ellie & I. So I sat down and had a serious mano-y-mano talk it out about how we both needed to work on getting along. I used the things we were taught in class mixed with things we were taught in our foster care classes to come up with this idea:
The idea for this post came from a moment this morning when Ellie was expressing love and I was just SO overcome with gratitude for my little family and the Love We Have in Our Home. And I thought this post went along perfectly with my theme for this year. :-)
p.s. Here is the handout from the parenting class we took if you are interested. Although I recommend the book as well.