You know how the people around you seem to know you better than you know yourself? How do you react when you don’t get your own way? Do you realise that your exaggerated response is a symptom of not getting your own way? Emotional responses are so complicated. I have been watching myself lately as things aren’t going exactly as I had planned.
My kids and I have spent a lot of time together over many years. This is not unusual. Mums spend lots of times with kids – as do Dads. This cumulated knowledge and understanding of your family is built up over time. It develops into family jokes, understanding of likes and dislikes and hopefully into all of you having a good time most of the time. You all develop an understanding of each other that helps you enjoy the good times and work through the difficult times.
The interesting thing about this understanding is that it builds up slowly over time – in a way that is almost impossible to notice. It is only by comparing snap shots over time that may hint at subtle changes, but over all it just happens under the radar. Secret messages being transmitted to smooth the waters and soften the blow. It happens under stealth without any obvious signals or strategies.
So what happens when there is a new comer into the mix? What happens when Adam is introduced to the kids? What happens when you expected one thing, but something entirely different occurs?
I have heard that introducing partners as your kids got older got harder. Well it gets harder for many reasons when everybody’s emotions and expectations come into play. My kids are social and polite. Many of my friends comment on their manners and behaviour. They are easy going and great to spend time with. It is not my children’s behaviour I am concerned about….
So the time to introduce your kids to Adam and subtle messages come from all sorts of places:
- your kids
- your friends and
- interestingly from inside you.
Adam might be keen, or nervous – a mixture of both, or anywhere in between. The kids might be intrigued or apprehensive – a mixture of both, or anywhere in between. Your friends might be encouraging or offering advice – a mixture of both, or anywhere in between. Regardless of all of this – The person to watch the most is yourself.
The meeting will be smoother if you are able to relax, have fun and let everyone be themselves.
For me this is easier said than done.
I can be so nervous that my attention stays focussed on myself, rather than focusing my attention on those around me. This is not ideal. When I manage to snap out of this state I notice that the cumulated understanding between my kids and me does not always flow easily to others. At times it can feel like a shell that excludes ‘outsiders’. Again this is not ideal. At other times there is a natural connection and the shell doesn’t make an appearance – or even seem to exist.
Another thing that can happen is my wonderful kids, who know me better than I know myself, will ask questions they know the answer to – because they find amusement in anomalies. An example was when one of my children asked me about a house styling feature that my child knew full well I didn’t like. My child also seems amused that this anomaly was occurring and was keen to point it out to see how I squirmed. There are also the subtle emotions that your children pick up on. Again I think that my children are more aware of my emotions than I am. This is where reducing your own nerves and being relaxed goes a long way – for everyone involved.
For me the thing to be most aware of is my own reaction to not getting what I want. When there are many people together – working out:
- which activities to do
- what to have for dinner and
- where to go tomorrow
Communication and compromise are very handy tools to bring to the table. All too easily – almost subconsciously – I can find myself in a terrible mood. Not because anyone has done anything wrong. Not because other people aren’t having a great time. But rather because I feel that I didn’t get it my way – over some very minor thing. This sabotaging behaviour can rear it’s ugly head at any time – and especially when you’re tired.
So next time you find yourself cranky in a social setting – ask yourself – Is it what is going on around you that is causing your frustration? Is it Adam and your children doing dumb stuff? Or is it caused by your internal childlike attitude. Don’t sabotage your time unnecessarily.
Are you familiar with these situations and fluctuating emotions? Let me know how you deal with it.
Have fun, feel free and go with the flow.