6 going on 16
My daughter has been saying "I don't care" in response to everything and it's driving me crazy. She's 6 going on 16 right now. I'm struggling with the emergence of attitude.
No matter how much I say that I accept my children as the people they are, my reaction is always "be grateful to me" whenever they act like people. I realize again that I want robots. I want obedience.
This isn't a bad thing in itself, but I believe that obedience isn't the end goal. The culmination of my parenting isn't to produce obedient children period. It's to produce children who see obedience as part of an overall critical strategy. Children who can analyze a situation and understand consequences is the purpose of obedience.
Let's be clear: not consequences in that they will be punished for not obeying. Longer term consequences. Cleaning your room, for example, means that you are able to find what you need when you need it. It means being in the habit of clearing your mind and space of distraction. It does not mean "Mommy won't yell at me or take my iPad if I clean my room" though that may be the initial reaction.
This is slow parenting. It's difficult because it forces me to examine my own behaviors. Yelling doesn't foster the kind of critical thinking that I want. It stops the conversation and the process. it makes the experience about the current moment.
I Don't Care
A very dear friend of mine was listening to me complain about this new phrase in her vocabulary, and when I said "I'm pretty sure it's school, or this person or that person..." he very gently responded,
"You say 'I don't care' all the time. You say it, but you obviously do."
I won't lie, I reacted poorly.
We got into a shouting match. And after about 10 minutes I realized 2 things:
- I'm the only one shouting.
- He was right.
I use "I don't care" to mask my own emotions. I use it as a weapon. Turns out, she does get it from me because she uses it in the same way. "I don't care" when her sister wants her attention. "I don't care" when she doesn't want to talk to me.
"I don't care" allows me to cast off the responsibility of being present, of being available to someone else, of being alive and wholly responsible for myself.
Sometimes, even the question of what I should eat is answered in this way because I don't want to think through my own self care. I give up my presence.
This is what I'm doing.
I am reframing. "I don't care" gets turned into "I let this go" for things that I do not want to affect me emotionally. "I don't care" becomes "I am open" for decisions that I would be happy to allow someone else to make. "I don't care" becomes "I am here for the possibilities" when each choice seems lovely and I'd like to take more time.
Reframing trains my brain to think in positive ways. This is not the shallow positivity of illusion or refusal to examine things, but the clear and present work to define and understand our existence.
This is a hard season. It's Pisces territory right now. Deep introspection. All the feelings. All the watery, depths. There are people who can explain this more clearly (see below.)
How do you reframe?
- What do you focus on when your energy is all out of whack?
- How do you retrain your mind to think in terms of living, whole, loving thoughts?
- What will you do to get rid of "I don't care"?
Claire at The Body Astrologer
Alexis at Worts and Cunning
Carol Dweck at The Atlantic on her landmark work with Growth Mindset (and our misunderstandings of its principles.)
Want the loose herbs in the picture? 3 Eclectic Rabbits can help.
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