One of the most important messages we can send to our kids

"I GET IT."

If a connected parent-child relationship is key... what does it look like amid so much day-to-day conflict? 

We may look at the facts and say, "I provide the roof over their head, the never-ending snacks, respond to their requests ALL DAY LONG & tell them "I love you" incessantly! They must know I love them!"

Connection isn't only about "love", but feeling understood for who they are, where they're coming from & meeting their true needs, not just the ones on the surface.   

Authentic love is NOT letting them do whatever they want, but providing calm leadership & consistent boundaries.

Think about your own relationships for a second- who do you feel most connected with? Likely it's a friend who you feel like is a kindred soul, who has gotten to know you very well & you feel like they "get" you. You can tell them anything, be your true self, and feel SAFE with them.  Perhaps it's your spouse, who even though you have the most conflict between you, you know they know you the best & have your back.

Kids look to us and feel connected when we "get it".

Toddlers especially are not afraid of conflict, and don't see it competing against your relationship, it can even feel reassuring to our kids. They want to feel seen & known, not just loved. 

How do we let them know we "get it"?

Relating & empathizing with what they're going through.  Reassuring them we'll step in if they're being unsafe.  Providing confident leadership with calm conviction that they feel safe coming back for a hug after showing their disapproval of one of our decisions. 

When you remain confident & calm, you take your side out of the "battle" & allow them to express their frustration & disapproval (which they need to do).  Then when you're able to step back & see the isolated incident for what it is, you can relate & empathize with their feelings without taking the "rejection" personally. They will come around and feel safer & more connected with you over time when you can let them know . . .

"I get it! You don't want to leave. Mommy said "it's time to go" and that makes you MAD! It's okay to be mad. It's hard to leave when we're having fun. Would you like me to hold your hand as we walk or carry you to the car?"

How can you show your child you "get it"?

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