When Your Child Becomes Your Mirror

I stood there listening to my mother reprimand me for something I did not do. This time it was my little brother’s fault. Not mine. I am always getting blamed or scolded. This time if felt as if I was getting in trouble for something that was unrelated. As I listened to my mother’s words, it occurred to me that she was yelling at me for something totally unrelated.

 

Staring at my child I was shocked and stunned. I thought to myself, how could she treat her little brother this way. I taught her the difference between right and wrong, my husband and I instilled good values. Was I wrong? Is she even listening to me as I speak? I felt myself, get so angry, so disappointment that my own daughter would be so disrespectful. In this moment, as I am yelling, I feel a seemingly familiar scenario. I remember a similar moment, when I was a child, and my own mother was yelling at me for not caring for my siblings at twelve years old.

 

At times, as parents we can see our child as a mirror image of ourselves. Other times, we experience a flashback like memory of our own childhood experiences. Whether these experiences were good or bad ones, we are essentially distracted from being present and mindful in the moment, without realizing it an authentic moment to connect with our children is gone in a matter of seconds.

As a therapist, moments like this are difficult to hear. While I listen to my client’s experience it becomes clear to me that this parent was attempting to correct their child’s behavior, rather than looking at this as an opportunity to sooth and connect with their child. Often times, acting out or “misbehavior” occurs for reasons other than what is presented at the surface level. Parents are often so busy with work, home life, their own relationships and stress. It is so easy to miss these moments that could lead to deep connection with their child.

My work with my clients, either adolescent or parent is to help highlight these missed opportunity moments. In attempts to later seize the same or similar moments and gain a deeper connection. For some families connection, is something that is innate and easy to fine tune. For other families, it takes some guidance. My work with you will sort through the things that come easy and support you through the challenging moments.