We are kicking off our new book study on Mary Sheedy Kurcinka’s “Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles: Winning for a Lifetime.” Some of you may be familiar with Mary Sheedy Kurcinka’s book, “Raising Your Spirited Child,” but this book is just as wonderful and I think applicable across a wide range of ages and stages. So grab a copy of the book and follow along! Also, check out IG and FB @theparentingpassageway for tips/reminders each week based off some of the ideas in each chapter so we can all have winning families and be the parents we want to be!
The authors states in the “Greetings!” section that she saw families that were winning and gives examples of the parent who could scoop up a toddler headed for a meltdown and totally change the direction, the parents who can just raise an eyebrow and their child actually stops doing what the parent asked them not to do, parents and teenagers living together happily. So what’s the secret for the rest of us? Part of what she discovered, outside of love, was the idea of emotional intelligence. There is a great sentence on page xiv:
People who are emotionally intelligent are able to use their knowledge of emotions to nurture their most important relationships, and to build the connections that lead them to want to work together.
Read that again. So does that mean if things are not going well, or if we have a spirited child, or a troubled teenager, that we aren’t emotionally intelligent? Not necessarily; after all, things happen. Life happens. Sometimes we are just tired in the trenches. But, it could also mean maybe we need a reminder or a tune-up to use our emotional intelligence to build a family team, to connect. Perhaps we need a reminder to use this to help OUR CHILDREN learn to recognize their own emotions and take care of their own emotions if they are old enough – just like we teach them to take care of their physical bodies.
But in order to do this, we have to be able to take care of our OWN strong emotions. And I think many of us never learned how. I think that’s why as an American society in particular, we see domestic violence/intimate partner violence, why we have an opioid epidemic, why people drink a lot after work, why people stuff their emotions down. And part of dealing with our strong emotions involves some things many people try to avoid:
- being vulnerable with others
- building up a tight-knit support community (family members or not! I think today most people say their support is NOT their extended family but chosen family)
- learning to communicative in a way that is not passive-aggressive or full of sarcasm or put-downs, but in a way that says in a heartfelt way, this is what I need, this is what I hear you saying, can you recognize me and how can we work together
- self-care – if we are completely exhausted, constantly on the go, never eating good food or drinking enough or exercising or taking care of our spiritual life, how can we hope to have enough to give our children or to be able to teach our children?
Just a few of my thoughts off these brief pages. So grab your copy of the book, and look forward to diving into Chapter 1 on Monday!