We have three beautiful daughters, ages 10, 5 and 1. When my husband and I are at work, they are looked after by our parents. We deeply appreciate this while knowing that both parents have a different way of parenting and taking care of the children. We accept this and also, in the years gone by, there were times where we agreed and times where we did not agree on certain things, but we were always grateful that they looked after the children.
We noticed that we did not always express what we felt. But what we have recently learned is that every experience is an opportunity for healing.
My youngest daughter always had trouble winding down after a day at my parents- in-law: we noticed that this occurred a couple of times and the intensity of her resisting to winding down went from bad to worse – she would stay awake for hours and scream when put to bed. If we would pick her up out of the bed, she would not settle but insist on playing. The last time it was very severe and I remembered Michael Benhayon talking to me about ‘reading’ the children – this simply means connecting with them and feeling what they are actually communicating, or feeling into what the child is trying to communicate when they are unsettled and see what is going on in them. So I asked myself the question; “What do you read out of this / what do you feel in this? … What is she trying to tell me?”
I could feel there was stress and anxiousness in her body and it seemed as if she felt suffocated. I communicated this to my mother-in-law and she started to think about what she could do to entertain her, like taking her out for a walk etc.
I felt that it was not so much about doing something, but more about how she was when she was with her granddaughter.
I specifically asked her if she enjoyed having her granddaughter around. She answered that she was always very afraid that something might happen to her and therefore she is very tense and restrictive towards her granddaughter. This is what the little girl is picking up on when she is around her grandmother and this is what she was showing us at home.
After discussing this with my mother-in-law, she babysat again at our home. My husband arrived home earlier and, after a little while, our daughter went out into the yard. At that moment my mother-in-law yelled out, “Ooh no, she is going out into the yard!” My husband said, “Just let her go, she is very capable of going outside.”
My mother-in-law literally stood stiff as she watched her crawl out into the yard. Nothing happened, she didn’t fall over and was happily crawling in the yard. My mother-in-law felt a huge tension drop down from her shoulders and felt for the first time that it was okay to trust.
Two days later she told me on the phone how she sat with what had happened and felt that, as a third child out of eight, she was one of the eldest who had to look after her sisters and brother. Every time one of them hurt themselves or started to cry, she would be punished by her parents for not looking after them well enough. This made her extremely tense around little children and when she eventually became a mother herself, she became over protective and even cried when one of her sons came home with a minor injury or something similar. Now she could feel that her childhood experience reflected to her an ingrained belief that she was not able to look after her children in a way that they would not get hurt and that she had somehow failed.
This was huge for her to understand what she had been carrying around for years. Her granddaughter gave her a beautiful gift by exposing this behaviour that was not honouring the loving, caring and responsible woman that she naturally is.
So now with that out of the way, she can develop a true relationship with her granddaughter, which also affects and heals the relationships with her sisters and brother, sons and other two grandchildren.
Letting go of the false belief that she is not capable of looking after little children makes her less tense around them and gives her an understanding that children can fall in the process of exploring what their bodies are capable of. It is still a work in progress, but she can be more relaxed around her granddaughter and enjoy being with her, connecting to a true way of taking care of the children that is already within her. And we immediately experienced the effect this has on our youngest daughter: she is not as tense as she used to be after a day with her grandparents.
By Diana Renfurm – Divorce Mediator, The Netherlands
Published with permission of my mother-in-law.