"Every undesirable behaviour is a cry for an unmet need. Almost every single time, that unmet need is connection."

When we choose to punish, rather than respond through connection, this reaction has more to do with the fear and anger rising in the parent or mentor, rather than being aligned with the unmet needs of the child or adolescent.  This is a great article exploring this further.

When we send a child away as these overwhelming emotions move through their entire being, we're withholding connection. We're sending the message that the feelings they are expressing and the emotions they are feeling are not valid, and we would prefer they "deal with it" themselves. It's uncomfortable for us to see the emotions play out. We start to feel out of control.

If we deprive them of enough connection over time, they may choose to "obey" out of fear so that they can repair their aching desire for love and connection with parent or mentor.

Heartbreaking, right? Imagine if we responded in this way to friends, partners, and colleagues when all they needed was connection. Simply to be heard.

Wait, isn't it our job as a parent or mentor to raise obedient children? Some Governments and authorities may say, yes please! It's much easier to control the masses when they comply out of fear. Is this the collective path we want to take?

A childhood based on obedience generally moves in two directions through adolescence: They become numb to the fear (and most other essential feelings and emotions) and rebel, often quite spectacularly; or they continue to obey out of fear, learn to ignore their seemingly shameful inner wiring, and realise a life half lived.

If you've decided to release punishment from the way you parent or mentor, you maybe wondering how to choose connection more consistently.

This article brings together the work of Dr Laura Markham and John Gottman, both held in high regard on The Collective Journey.  According to John Gottman of the Gottman Institute, maintaining a ratio of 5:1 positive to negative interactions is effective insurance in any relationship, including parent or mentor and child.

Dr Laura Markham provides practical ways to maintain or repair your connection when life inevitably gets in the way.

Now we have our strategies for connection with children, how do we maintain this through adolescence when they are learning to individuate?

This article makes the observation that contrary to current cultural mythology, disconnection or detachment between parent or mentor and adolescent is not a sign of healthy individuating.
How do we preserve this connection? Whatever your parenting philosophy or worldview, this article shares eight principles that may resonate with you as a parent or mentor.

Imagine children and adolescents with an understanding of their inner wiring and connection with others. Who then become adults with the mature perspective, skills, and motivation required to work together toward a more compassionate way of being.

Welcome to The Collective Journey.  Connection. Compassion. Collectively.



Melissa Shadforth