Children are very intelligent – especially when it comes to an intelligence which I love to call heart or soul intelligence. They sense everything that’s going on in the family, even if we do not talk about it or if we are trying to hide it from them and keep it secret. And children’s way of reacting to certain circumstances is often by showing any kind of issues – from getting sick to behavioural disorders, from learning difficulties to addictions and all other kind of issues.
But how does society react in this case? What are parents recommended to do? Well, the interventions range from punishment and pressure to medication or psychotherapy – naturally for the child. Simply because over decades we were taught to treat the symptoms rather than the origin of a problem.
But if our children’s behaviour and our children’s issues are only symptoms of something that goes much deeper and has its roots somewhere else – what hinders us from taking different approaches?
One reason might be that we trust our doctors, therapists, pharmacists, lobbyists and who else there might be more than our inner voice and feelings. Please don’t get me wrong, this is not a campaign against mainstream medicine and therapies. There are millions of doctors and therapists doing a great job. But on the other hand millions of medicine and drugs are prescribed to children that treat only the symptoms but don’t touch the real origin of what is going on.
Another reason might be that we see no alternative and we feel helpless and full of doubt.
What I can see from my work experience there is a third reason. And this happens on a level that we might call subconscious because most of the time we are not aware of it.
If children react to things that go on in our families, we could say that they can be mirrors of what is happening on a deeper level. And as looking in a mirror shows us the beauty of ourselves, it also shows us the dark sides and the shadows.
Seeing our own beauty in our children makes us happy and proud – so this is the part of the mirror we like.
But what about the other part? What do we feel when our children reflect something that we do not want to see in ourselves – and this might go from our own sadness or discontentment to the anger we feel towards our partners, siblings or parents?
My child has a behavioural problem because of my issues with my husband? My child has a learning problem because I push it too much wanting it to have better choices than I had? My child gets sick so often because it wants more attention and time from me?
When we realize what’s going on below the surface we might experience feelings of guilt, shame and inability. Although this is absolutely unreasonable, because we consciously never did something bad to our children. But guilt and shame are rooted so deeply in our own education and in memories from our own childhood, that we carry them along until today, no matter how old we are.
How can we overcome these old patterns? Well, by simply looking in the mirror. If we manage to look in the mirror and to meet our own shadow as a long lost friend we recognize that it is showing us our own deep wounds that are waiting to be healed.
You have issues with your husband or wife? Well, you are not alone with this. But you can decide how to handle it for the benefit of your children. And starting there and trying to find solutions that are best for everyone concerned you will be the first to benefit from it.
You push your child too much because you want it to have better choices that you had? Well, this might be an opportunity to look back at your own life and make peace with what has been. And with this you might see that your son or daughter have their own dreams, ideas and paths.
Your child wants more attention and time from you? Instead of seeing this as an additional burden you could discover the big chance and the joy of spending more time with your child and finally get in contact again with your own inner child.
If we have the courage to look in the mirror things change. Exactly as it is with fear. If we run away from it, it becomes bigger and bigger. If we have the courage to turn around and face it, we might recognize that it is much smaller than we expected and that we can handle it very well.
Our children are not burdens, there are not with us to remind us of our shortcomings.
Our children are gifts of life, merciful mirrors, family healers and a chance to find our way back to love ourselves.
(© Ursula Maria Bell – February 2017)