I talk a lot on this blog about the need for parents to hold the space for their children, and many families wonder what that would look like or how that would happen.
When I talk about this notion of holding the space I mean it in a kind way, in a loving way, in an authentic way, but in a way where you are the wall a child can bounce off of. If you were the Queen, you would not be running around like a chicken with your head cut off (my great-grandmother’s saying!), trying to accommodate three or four children’s wishes and desires of any given moment. Instead, you would be calm and collected. You would have a kind way but a Queenly Way. You would probably think before you decreed something, and you probably would not explain the heck out of yourself.
How can you be the Queen of your home?
If you have children under the age of 9, you are going to know that children under the age of 9 are prone to “emotional excess”, one of my favorite expressions that Donna Simmons of Christopherus Homeschool points out. Children of this stage are beings of will and movement, and you would expect things such as hunger, sleep, and over-stimulation to play a role in behavior. And being Queen, you would come up with ways to make life flow smoothly.
Perhaps you would lay out clothes the night before and expect that many children want to be dressed by their mommies even when they are 5. And you would decide, ahead of time, if this was okay by you or something that would Shove Her Highness Off Into The Moat. This way you could be proactive about such issues within your home, and not reactive. You might consider having a rotating menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner so there is no treating The Queen as a short- order cook. There are many other areas where the thought of thinking and planning ahead could come together for the benefit of your family.
You would not be swept away by the torrents of wee ones’ tantrums and emotion because you would know your number one job would be to hold the balance when your child cannot hold it for themselves. This does not mean to be an unemotional rock, but it does mean you can understand how words can be just words, feelings can change on a dime and if you can just hold on, your child will eventually calm down. You will understand that you are being a rock for your child to hold onto so the torrent of emotion doesn’t escalate for the child.
Again, this does not mean being unfeeling! You can hold your child, pat your child, move your child, but you may not fall apart with your child as they fall apart. You may not unleash your own torrent of emotion on a small child and expect them to not crumple in front of you. Behavior that is not fabulous in an under-9 child generally needs to be treated in the same ho-hum tone you would use to ask a child to pick up a book off the floor. Then you can move into having the child FIX his poor action, because the child is a WILLING and DOING being at this point. He needs to DO to fix it! But he cannot fix it if he is falling apart and you are falling apart with him! He is learning; help him!
For children over the age of 9, as Queen you would realize feelings are predominant. Feelings were also important before, but feelings were more in an undifferentiated kind of state. Now feelings are so specific! Being Queen, you would be able to hear feelings expressed immaturely ( meaning not always in a way pleasing to the Queen’s ears!) and still be able to be a calm rock with a ho-hum attitude to help the child learn to fix this challenge! Feelings can be acknowledged without judgment because most of all, The Queen is a problem-solver, and if she can model being calm, solving the problem, being respectful, then the child will as well!
For children over the age of 14, they are interested in your thoughts, in the nature of constructing an argument, in your thoughts and why you think that and how you got there in your thinking. It is hard! Don’t you remember being a teenager?
Barbara Coloroso, in her book, “Kids Are Worth It! Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline” : “If you are raising adolescents, you are in a high-risk category for a coronary. You’re up against someone dealing with a major hormone attack: feet are too big, hands are too big, bodies are too big or too small, voices are up, voices are down, zits are coming out all over their faces. They come to the front door, all smiles; two minutes later they are in the bathroom crying. You ask what happened. “She used my comb.” “He wore my shirt.” “She didn’t call like she said she would.” Are we going to make it through this? Yes, but we can’t keep hooking in to our kids’ adrenaline.”
A Queen is the Ultimate Helper, problem-solver, balancer, peacemaker.
Can you be that Queen for a day?