Tired of ‘Walking on Eggshells’ in Your Own Home? | Try Curiosity Instead

'Walking on eggshells' is a common feeling for many of our parents. A more effective reaction/response, when mindfully approached, can be one of curiosity, inquisitiveness and wonder on the part of the parent. (Pt. 1)

Kevin motioned for me to come into his room and he spoke in a hushed tone, “Did you get my text?”
“Huh,” I replied, “Probably not, my phone is charging”.
He said, “Can you check and see I just sent it?”“Just tell me what it is Kevin, we don’t need to go through all of that,” I question mark 2stated while standing a few feet away looking at him.

“Well I didn’t like what Kristi said about me taking a shower. I don’t like that. If you guys think I’m not clean you can just tell me to leave,” he stated with quiet seriousness.

A few minutes earlier after Kevin had exclaimed that he was going to go take a shower, Kristi exclaimed, “Great! Kevin’s gonna take a shower!” She did it in a playful way not uncommon to how any of us might respond to one another, but for Kevin it was embarrassing. Truth be told, we care very little about if and when he takes a shower. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had to tell him that he needed to. Now some of the other adolescent boys we’ve raised…absolutely! I would exclaim, “You stink, go get your butt in the shower, now!” But with Kevin, I’ve never had to do that.

Mindfully placing my hand on the side of his arm, I gently stated, “I’m sorry that hurt your feelings and I’m sure Kristi did not mean for it to be hurtful, but thank you for telling me and I’ll be sure to let her know that you don’t like it.”

He responded, “Okay, yeah I don’t.”

“Okay Kevin,” I said “No worries”.

Six months ago to a year that little experience would have led to days, weeks, maybe even months of silent treatment, agitation, and veiled threats to leave by packing bags and stomping around the house in frustration, and wondering when the next bomb would go off in Kevin. Walking on eggshells around him would be a common experience for all of us in the house.

Later that evening Kristi apologized and all was well. She even remarked, “Wow, Kevin took that so well, and it was only minutes.

What attributed to the change?

Of course constant consistency, reflection, awareness, mindfulness, and flexibility make a difference, but what is the real reason? What’s changing in his brain?

How does a child who has grown up on the streets learn to trust? He rarely does unless he has an opportunity to develop one very important response and that response is called the oxytocin response. It comes as a result of trust being built through the expression of love and acceptance and an approach of curiosity about just what is going on in our children's body-mind systems. We as parents have to admit that we just don't know, most of the time. We may think we know, but for our special children who bring a file cabinet filled with variables we may never come to know, our job is more of an investigator rather than a 'know it all' parent.

For the past two years I have been going on and on about oxytocin being the next revolution in parenting, education, and mental health. It is in fact, a revolution in life. It is the primary ingredient in the relationship factor. I will present to you in the next series of posts, an explanation of oxytocin from the Post perspective and explore many of its implications for parents, professionals, and all members of our society. (To be continued...)

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