Are You A Maestro Or The Captain With Your Children?


The following is an article by Helen Hansen.

I had the pleasure of spending four days alone with my 8 year old. The many public holidays we’ve recently had here in South Africa provides the perfect opportunity for family bonding. I relish the time with my son, there is a certain atmosphere that exists between us when no one else is there.

POP! And the bubble burst – as fast as it grew in my mind so it cracked in reality. Where do I begin? I think it started when 8 slapped Dog across the face. Of course he had a valid reason: Dog scratched his ear with a planned, vicious, calculated attack.

My first reaction is to shout “No!” I quickly try to gather myself and send 8 to another space to calm down and “take ten deep breaths”. This time-out session is as much for him as it is for me.

Yes I am angry but a few seconds later I ask myself if anger will teach anger to love.

No need to answer that one and I also know by now, after trying it many times, that punishment is not going to help 8 to think before he reacts next time. I need to reach him at a deeper level. The root of this, I believe, is in lack of self-control.

Which One Are You?

Drum roll as the maestro of Control enters. See how she conducts the duet with such precision, ensuring every movement is ‘just so’ and every word is in tune. She is so thorough she even continues when the show is over. By the time she flops into bed she is exhausted from trying to orchestrate life.

Can you relate to this or am I the only one who tries so hard to control my child, because I know best?

Words from Deepak Chopra’s ‘Seven Spiritual Laws of Success’ ring in my ears: Detach; Allow; Surrender; Let Go and Let God.

With a heavy heart and a searching mind I pick up a book that is not mine but happened to land in our home.

I open ‘Confident Parenting’ by Jim Burns and the passage speaks to me. He relates that it is not the job of the child to make a happy or stable home so if your child is acting out don’t blame him/her for creating an atmosphere of gloom and doom.

The parent is captain of the ship at all times. We can choose to let our emotions sway us, or not.

We teach through our actions. We can choose to bring joy into our home through intention and this is where it all starts. Intention. As my head touches the pillow and I close my eyes I put my intention on Encouragement; Love; Understanding and Awareness.

The next day dawns bright and beautiful. I arise with lightness and join 8 for our usual morning quiet time together.

He is grumpy.

This time, instead of trying to change his mood, talk him out of it, dwell on it or let it affect me, I acknowledge it and then continue in my flow, parallel to his. I wear my captain’s armour with certainty.

Yes, there may be storms ahead and I will deal with them as necessary but they will not topple the boat, instead they will make it, and the crew, stronger.

As Mehmet Murat, a Turkish Playwright and novelist quips,

“With a good captain, a rough ocean turns into a calm lake; with a bad captain, a calm lake turns into a rough ocean!”

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2 responses to “Are You A Maestro Or The Captain With Your Children?”

  1. Gideon Avatar

    I have twins, and it does become very hard to remain the captain at all times, especially when they’re running riot (8 years old). I love the quote at the end.

    1. Trish Avatar

      HI Gideon
      I love the quote: “With a good captain, a rough ocean turns into a calm lake; with a bad captain, a calm lake turns into a rough ocean!”
      It is so true. We had 4 children in 6 years, and many chaotic times. I prefer to think of it as organised chaos, and often keep calm, by reminding myself how Blessed I am to have amazing, healthy children.

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