Today, I aim to present a novel perspective on Halloween inspired by the numerous questions I have received.
The question we are tackling today is, what should a parent do if Halloween is not what their child wants? This issue usually centers on the apprehensions kids may feel about Halloween, kids who do not enjoy the Halloween experience, exceptional kids, or children on the spectrum. But it could also happen in kids with no diagnosable reason why Halloween would be challenging. In those situations, I always feel it is best to revert to the principles I repeatedly emphasize in explicit parenting. If you are unfamiliar with the term, explicit parenting refers to my distilled philosophy on the challenges of raising children. I purposely chose the term explicit to highlight how that kind of parenting differs from implicit, hidden, or assumed parenting methods.
I will share my personal experiences along the way, as we explore this topic.
Understanding Co-Regulation with Children
Co-regulation involves the creation of a partnership with your child to help them manage their emotions. The first step is to know yourself and understand your triggers and expectations because self-awareness is essential for effective co-regulation. Co-regulation is the process of working together with your child to navigate their emotional world. It means being attuned to their feelings, creating a safe space for expression, and guiding them towards emotional balance. By knowing yourself and your triggers, you can provide better support and understand how your reactions can influence your child’s emotional regulation.
Setting Realistic Expectations
Another crucial aspect is setting realistic expectations. Sometimes, what I envision may not be best for my child. That is why it is essential to acknowledge and accommodate their perspective. Being a supportive parent involves understanding that your child’s needs and experiences may not always align with your desires or expectations. Being open to their unique perspective allows us to build a healthier and more harmonious parent-child relationship.
Active Listening and Curiosity
Active listening, or curiosity, is a cornerstone of co-regulation. Understanding your child’s perspective is pivotal for building a strong parent-child bond and fostering healthy emotional development. Active listening involves not just hearing their words but also paying attention to their body language, tone of voice, and unspoken emotions. Being genuinely curious about your kids thoughts and feelings allows you to create an environment where they feel heard and understood.
Consistency, Persistence, and Explicitness
Consistency and persistence are key components of co-regulation. It is essential to be consistent and supportive when guiding our children. Co-regulation is an ongoing process that requires persistence to create a stable and reliable presence for your child. When we make mistakes or react in ways that are not helpful, it is essential to explicitly acknowledge it, apologize, and work together to repair any emotional ruptures. That teaches children that it is okay to make mistakes and struggle emotionally sometimes. It also shows them that relationships can withstand moments of imperfection.
Granting Yourself Grace
Co-regulation does not require perfection. It is natural to feel sadness or guilt when expectations do not get met. However, it is crucial to understand that it is okay to grieve our expectations and move forward with a deeper self-awareness, ultimately creating a healthier parent-child dynamic. Parents often put immense pressure on themselves to be flawless in their parenting. However, this is unrealistic and can lead to guilt and self-criticism. Granting yourself grace means acknowledging that you are doing your best, even when things do not go as planned. Grace is an act of self-compassion, helping us to understand that moments of struggle or disappointment do not define our value as parents.
What Am I Noticing?
Several summers ago, I underwent major surgery, which led to significant weight gain and a profound disconnect from my body. My path to reconnecting with my body took an unexpected turn when I stumbled upon two unique tarot decks that offered me a fresh perspective.
I was scrolling through Instagram when I stumbled upon a friend I had met through various networking groups. She had posted a picture of herself conducting tarot card readings, but what caught my eye was the unique tarot deck she was using. It was one I had never encountered before, based on the human physical body.
The first one is Be with Your Body Tarot, created by the writer Sarah Jean Chapman and illustrated by Sara Strese. It is a visually stunning deck that veers away from traditional tarot symbolism like pentacles and cups, replacing them with body parts like eyes, feet, hands, and hips. While retaining the major arcana, this deck encourages a deep relationship with your physical body, even incorporating elements from the Earth. The deck includes a meditation at the beginning, fostering gratitude and introspection and providing a profound way to tune into your body. The entire concept of this deck revolves around self-appreciation and reconnection with your physical form.
Another intriguing deck I discovered is The Body Tarot, recommended by Amazon. This deck directly associates tarot cards with various body parts. For instance, instead of the devil card, you have the gallbladder, and you get the kidneys in place of the tower. It also delves into the spiritual connections of those body parts. Given my inclinations toward both, the unique blend of traditional medicine and spirituality really appealed to me!
Both decks serve as fun and introspective rituals for me. They allow me to intentionally reconnect with my body and acknowledge its incredible aspects, especially as I approach my 50s!
The Body Tarot can be found on Amazon, while the Be with Your Body Tarot, a more artistic and slightly pricier option, is available on Etsy. Both are exquisite tools for personal exploration and self-awareness, making them meaningful gifts for yourself or others.
I hope today’s account sheds light on the power of introspection and highlights the value of seeking self-knowledge.