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  Dealing With Your Past ( Parents Own Childhood )  

Your past comes in the way of connecting with your kids. Your Exasperation Interaction is caused because of your past triggers. We conveniently blame it on our children's behavious and fail to realise the way we behave is connected to our unhealed past emotional issues. Capturing what triggers us in our kids behaviour and why do we have such reactions patterns will help us understand and connect with our own childhood traumatic experiences.

Our annoying reactive behaviour towards the kids may keep getting repeated. The soloution is to get to the root. You behave negatively and harmfully because you feel that way. You feel negatively because you think negatively. Your negative thoughts and beliefs bring about negative behavious in our relationship with your kids. Focus on behaviour change is just treating the symptom. Getting to the root of dealing with our thinking will produce long lasting change.

Proverbs 4:23
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts (TEV)

Proverbs 23:7
for he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost. "Eat and drink," he says to you, but his heart is not with you.

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he (NJKV).

We all develop certain thinking pattern during our childhook. Sadly many of us have had some emotionally traumatic experiences in our childhood.

- A child who is sexually molested by a relative might think that he cannot TRUST any authority figure. A ch

- A child bullied at school may think she is UNLOVABLE

- A child betrayed by his parents might think he is WORTHLESS.

In this way the negative thinking pattern developed in our childhood carry over into our adulthood and in our Parenting!. For some of us the childhood makeup is so strong that it happens to be a roadblock for us becoming functional and healthier parents.

Proverbs 2:1-5
1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,
3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

We get the advice that if we look out for insights, we will find them. Valuable insights into our selves can deepen our relationships. Our dysfunctional behaviour is linked with negative mind distortions because of not having our core emotional needs met in our childhood.

So to identify and become aware of the distortions in our mind, it is helpful to understand our past childhood. We cannot change what happened in our childhood, but we can change the meaning and understanding we give to the past experiences and emotional traumas which make up our childhood.

Similarly understanding our kids core emotional needs will help us to empathize them better. We are better able to accept them as Jesus accepted us for who they are not for who we think that they should be. We can understand that our reactions are not really so much about us, but about the way our kids behaviour reminds us of old hurts and pain. By having this awareness the parents can work to weaken our negative mental distortions by strengthening our healthy spiritual side.

Romans 12:2
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Here we are asked not to conform to the pattern of the worldly distortions and negative distorted behaviour. Our mind must be renewed. Our thinking must be renewed. We need to have new principles, new inclinations, new dispositions and new designs.

When this happens we not become Saved Christians but also Healed Christians. AS healed husbands and wife we will be able to grow in our love connection. Choosing to grow in awareness will free us to explore new ways of thinking and behaving.

Today's Practical

Ask your kids, what they think is your predominant coping style towards them of the three below when you are triggered?
1. Surrendered (Flight), 2. Avoidant (Flight), 3. Counterattacking (Fight).

Be vulnerable to your child and share a Traumatic experience from your childhood and express how it affected you. Express your fears and weakness and need.

Romans 7:14-25
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.
15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.
17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.
20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law;
23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.
24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
25 Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Here Paul writes about our two sides. One is the healthy spiritual side. The other is the unhealthy sinful side that we seem to kind of helplessly get trapped into.

Some sins are very obviously evil like lying, theft, adultery, smoking and drinking. We have gained strong convictions over them and repented. Whereas the sins of negative moody reactions may be seen sticking with us as part of our personality. These negative harmful lifestyle arises out of core distorted beliefs and distorted views and about ourselves and others.

Driven by our own distorted views and beliefs, our reactions to life situations are completely overboard (out of scale and out of shape). These are the ones we need to identify and develop awareness over their pattern and triggering affect on each other.

Galatians 5:19-21
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Unlike the above obvious sin list, this sin list of distorted negative mind and behaviour is not very obvious to us. The list has many distorted negative patterns of mind. Like feeling the abandonment, high mistrust, emotionally deprived, defectiveness or shame, social isolation, highly dependant, very vulnerable to harm, enmeshed or undeveloped, feeling of failure, entitlement as someone special, lack of self-discipline, subjugation (submit to others), self-sacrifice, approval seeking, negativity (pessimism), emotional inhibition, hypercriticalness and Punitiveness.

All these negative distortions tend to develop inside our mind if the positive emotional needs are not provided and met in our childhood by our parents.

For example, adequate nurturing (instead of abandoment), proper protection with out abuse (instead of abuse), emotionally suppport ( instead of emotion deprivation), appreciation (instead of criticism of defects and shame), social inclusion (instead of social isolation) etc., were not provided during your own childhood then your core emotional needs will not be met.

Thus resulting in these dysfunctions of mind carrying upto their adulthood and parenting. When the kids do not come up to the parents expectation then the parents get triggered and cope in one of the three ways :

1. Avoident (Flight), 2. Counterattacking (Fight).

These coping syles may lessen the parents pain but cause heavy Exasperation on the kids. So none of the above are right coping style. Being vulnerable is the right coping style.