Monday, April 22, 2013

Giving Up Controlling Behaviour

I see examples of controlling behaviour all around me - definitely learning more about my own controlling behaviour as a result. At the heart of controlling behaviour is insecurity and fear. Most of us don't even realise we are behaving in controlling manner. Sure we recognise it when we raise our voices, tense our muscles, experience frustration and anger and start making demands of others, but because we've been trained to see those emotions as negative we often fail to recognise the controlling behaviour we display when we're calm, confident, content, even happy. Controlling behaviour is a habit and like most habits we don't notice we're doing it at all!

An antidote to controlling behaviour is creating TIME for ourselves and others. Pause, reflect on our feelings and motivations. Create little spaces to simply stop, breathe, reflect. We're in such a hurry all the time. Do we need to be? Sometimes it feels like rushing towards old age: we're in such a hurry for our children to grow up, be 'mature', master this or that. Creating little pockets of time throughout our busy days might seem hard but it is isn't, it's just a conscious decision to pause, still our minds, resist the temptation to control the moment and experience fully through our senses what is happening. This tiny pause creates a space. This space makes room for us to be creative. And that's the space in which we solve problems. And it is the space in which we slowly but surely recognise our controlling behaviour and what motivates it and how we can meet our needs in other ways.

You don't have to be a radical unschooler to focus on giving up the habit of controlling behaviour. I've met parents of homeschooled and school children who practice attachment parenting and trust and respect children and regard themselves as learning partners working hard to give up the habit of controlling behaviour. However, it's definitely harder to help our children understand why it is important to guard against developing this habit when they are immersed in a culture that values it so highly. 

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