I am dealing with homework issues and tantrums with my 8 year-old daughter. Parenting her really takes all my energy. It seems I spend more time battling with her than enjoying her. How can I approach this issue?
photo by Kathryn Rotondo
Sometimes when we face a situation it looks like one issue, because it is one situation, but in reality it’s more than one issue. At first it might seem daunting to break the issue down into smaller parts because it appears to require more work, but I have found it helpful to break the situation down into smaller, more manageable parts.
Evolving Emotional Freedom Techniques (EvEFT/EFT) is even more powerful when we are dealing with small partsbecause we see progress faster, and that progress encourages us to do more.
Here is a very simple way to break down a problem into smaller issues. I will use the example in the question to demonstrate each part.
What in the situation is worthy of giving thanks for?
I love starting from a point of view of gratitude. Often when we are dealing with what we don’t like in a situation we forget all of the blessings that are present.
In this case the question clearly states the parent actively wants to appreciate the daughter. So the first thing I would do is tap on all the wonderful things about the daughter and spending time with the daughter:
I am really blessed to have such a wonderful daughter…she has so much spirit…I know the time we have together is short…she will be grown up before I know it…with that in mind I am going to savor each moment I have with her…even those moments of struggle are a blessing…because we get to share them together…I give myself permission to enjoy this moment and my daughter…even in the middle of this struggle…I am lucky and blessed to have my daughter
Simply naming the good in a situation lessens the emotional charge and gives us a clearer vision of what the root issue(s) is.
What are the emotions I am dealing with?
The second step is to consider, and list, all of the emotions you are feeling. In this case the list might look like:
- Frustrated she is not doing what she needs to do
- Tired of all the battling
- Wanting to do fun stuff with my daughter
- Wishing I was doing something else I enjoyed
And the list could go on
After you have created the list, ask why you feel that way. This will give you insight on what to tap on. Take each emotion one at a time and tap on them. Don’t be surprised that as you clear one emotion you clear the others as well.
Are there other actors in the situation that I could surrogately tap for?
The last step is to look at the other actors in the situation. Are there issues you could tap on for them? In this case the daughter is obviously resisting doing the homework. As a parent you would have special insight into why she might be resisting. She could be fearing failure, just being 8 and wanting to do something else, not enjoying it because she is not very good at it, or is worried she is going to fail and let you down.
Just take a deep breath and tune into the other actors. Guess why they are having such a hard time in the situation. You don’t need the special connection of a parent and child to do this. When we put aside our own emotional baggage about a situation it’s easy to guess what others are struggling with.
Once you have a guess about what the other person is struggling with, you can spend some time tapping on those issues for them. This will do two things. First, it will give you perspective on what they are going through. This might change your understanding of the situation, clearing some of your emotional charge. Second, it might make a difference in their life, the way surrogate tapping has been reported to make changes for others.
The steps aren’t very complicated. When you are facing a big problem break it down into three chucks.
- What can I be thankful for?
- What am I struggling with?
- What might they be struggling with?
By doing this we will resolve the issues in smaller and more manageable pieces.