feeling-blog
www.kellymcmanus.org

One of the most valuable revelations that I’ve had as a mom recently relates to my kids’ feelings. I hadn’t really thought about feelings much until our newest adopted littles began to struggle. It blows my mind, after much prayer, and the answers, I now have a few golden keys to better communication and relationships with my children.

Growing up, maybe like you, I was taught to work through emotions more quickly than I knew how. I was told to go to my room if I was going to cry, get over it, and to stop crying or pouting. Yet, truth be told–I observed and absorbed everything around me and couldn’t always process my feelings at a quick rate. I am a thinker, if you haven’t figured that out yet, and thinkers take a lot of time to mull over–everything. It didn’t matter if I felt anger, worry, fear, grief, or frustration–when I was pushed to work through my feelings–my body and mind often didn’t agree. As a result, I didn’t always feel heard, I didn’t always feel valued, and I often felt unintentionally rejected by those I loved. In short, like most, I wasn’t equipped to process the traumas of life and later brought broken communication patterns into my relationships, marriage, and family.

In God’s grace and mercy however, I’m learning how to help our children work through their past and present feelings. No big deal, right? Wrong, it’s a bigger deal than my husband and I ever thought–thoughts and feelings are a root cause to every action and reaction and I’m working through them everyday with our littles at home. It takes more time than I ever thought I had but I’m learning and it’s worth it. Weird as it may sound, I feel like I’m healing too in the process of taking deep breaths, holding them close, rocking in the rocking chair, and in trusting God for the questions to ask my children. Throughout the last twenty-three years, I’ve grown in shepherding my kids’ hearts, gone through trainings and certifications, and have opened my heart to daughters and sons with their own unique traumas but I’m learning something new in this season. I’m learning we all must identify and process feelings fully to truly work through pain so we can then step into a place of connection, attachment, bonding, and joy. I’ve also learned not to rush my kids, myself, or others through their grief–because it may later intensify and cause acting out. They need to cry and I need to allow it–realizing tears are beautiful unintelligible treasures, washing the spirit, the mind, and the heart like nothing else can do.

So, parents out there, based on my own microwave experience and approach to parenting failures–please stop rushing your kids through their griefs. Please, stop provoking your children to grieve more by brushing them off. Engage. Listen. Look at them in their beautiful eyes and empathize with them. Parenting is less of a to do list and more of a state of mind. Be present. Be parents–your kids are crying out for you to notice and hear them. Believe me, the duration of hugging will grow shorter and before you know it you’ll find yourself holding your firstborn’s child in your arms instead. Truly, it’s the most amazing thing ever–I should know–on December 3rd I became a grandma to the most beautiful granddaughter!

Today, is a great day to recommit to engaged, loving, and empathetic parenthood. 🙂