Today I was going to explore more on the topic of boundaries, but as life would have it (always life has its way with me) my fifteen-year-old son has given me a beautiful growth opportunity this week…and I am in it! Usually I like to wait until I am on the other side of something to write about it, but what the hell. I’m throwing caution to the wind and diving in.
The first reminder to myself: it’s about the process (not the content). How am I going to approach this matter that’s making me uncomfortable? What’s the matter? Lying, sex and drugs. Maybe. Or maybe my fear of them. He’s cagey about it. Super smart. I can’t help but think that I’m asking the wrong questions. He wonders why I’m so suspicious. He’s not doing anything wrong. I wonder why I have this nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right — that I’m being lied to. And that’s the real trigger for me. Being lied to.
I don’t want to give too much attention to the content, though I will say the current issue is around the trend of teenage boys asking teenage girls to send them nude photos, and the condom in the outside pocket of his backpack. (And that these bits of information came to me in roundabout ways that suggest I’ve been snooping, and I have. Sigh.) If any young women are reading this, I beg you, if guys are asking you to send them nude photos, tell them to fuck off. Seriously. Until they are able to conjure up a little respect, they are not worth your time.
Back to process: I’m a little sad, and a little disappointed. The part of me who is worried is not as worried about him, as is worried about me not getting it right. Interesting. Me missing the signs while he goes off the deep end. Me not stopping it. Me not keeping him safe. Me making sure he as an uber clean (sterile), safe, happy life experience for as long as I can possibly pretend that I have any control over anything.
From a mindfulness perspective, I am asking myself these questions:
Who am I in this?
What are my projections?
Who is he?
Who am I? I drank. I lied. I did things my parents would have been mortified about. I did things I didn’t feel so good about (not necessarily the same things) And yet here I am. I turned out pretty damn good. These things lead me to my mindfulness practice. The contrast of what didn’t feel good lead me to what does feel good.
Who is he? Instead of telling him who he is based on my experience of who I am, can I take a deep breath and let him show me who he is — separate from me? And from this place can I offer guidance back to his own inner wisdom when he has forgotten?
Here’s another perspective to consider: Last night I came across this question from Abraham-Hicks in regards to parenting teenagers — “What thoughts about you am I thinking that keep me from being a vibrational match to my vision of you and your well-being?”
This was a great reminder that my parenting is about me and my connection to myself. Let’s break this question down.
Let’s say I’m thinking about you. Which of my assumptions keep me from perceiving who you truly are, and how do these assumptions (probably fear-based) keep me from connecting with you from my highest most-centered place?
If I’m a creative being, who creates with my thoughts, and I’m really really scared about my kids doing something wrong or bad (‘cause I love them and I don’t want them to get hurt) and all my attention goes to what my child might be doing wrong or bad (so that I can stop those behaviors and help them be good), I start to (unintentionally) feed my perception of what’s wrong and bad in them, and then my child starts to perceive that they are wrong and bad and then they start to do wrong and bad things because that’s who they are, well, I’m fucked.
If this is what you’re doing, and now you’re worried that oh, shit, you’re fucked too, I’ll also remind you that you cannot do it wrong. You can take this wonderful wisdom you have now gained and turn that ship around. And the faster you drop the stories about how you fucked up and did it wrong, the faster the ship will turn and start sailing in the direction you desire.
I repeat. You cannot do it wrong. Kindness beyond what you ever imagined is possible, starting with yourself, is what is required on this path of mindful living.
Looks like we’re going to circle around to boundaries after all. What I’m finding out for myself is this:
- I cannot control my children. They’re here to have their own life experience. I have veered far from my own parents’ understanding of life and what keeps us connected. What makes them amazing parents is that they love me no matter what. Even when they don’t understand. Even when we don’t agree. I feel that unconditional love. It’s what I want to give my kids.
- I need to speak my truth. It’s all I’ve got. I need to set the boundaries (for me and my connection to myself). And speaking my truth plants seeds — that will someday bear fruit, so I practice being mindful of the truth I am speaking.
- Do my words match my highest vision of what I wish for my children?
If it feels like nothing has been “resolved” in this dialogue, you would be correct. There is no tying things up in a neat little package. This process is ongoing and dynamic and always changing, just as we are, just as they are, just as life is. For me it’s more about connection than resolution. Certainly, finite resolution can momentarily feel more satisfying (at least I’ve done something, taken an action) even if that action is ultimately detrimental to what I want.
My beloved child is snowboarding with his papa this weekend, and when he returns, here is the conversation I wish to have:
Hey, I’m feeling scared. Like something is off and I don’t know what it is, so I keep stabbing in the dark, and it is making you feel like I am always accusing you of doing something wrong. And you are always reminding me that you’re not doing anything wrong. And I’ve learned that it’s important for me to trust my gut. So here we are.
I see how smart, capable, creative, and loving you are. And, I feel you’re hiding something from me, and it’s the hiding that I’m getting triggered by.
I love you. I love you and I give you permission to be different from me (a good parent message from my therapy days).
I don’t know what else I’m going to say…I do know that I want him to be kind and respectful in his interactions with the opposite sex, especially around sex.
I want him to know that no matter how uncomfortable it may feel, I’m there for him if he finds himself in over his head.
I want him to know that his job in this life is not pleasing me (even if I sometimes give contrary impressions).
I want him to feel good about himself and tuned into his own internal guidance system.
These are the guidelines I will hold as I move through this process, and they me of a chapter in a book I recently read, Your Illustrated Guide To Becoming One With The Universe, by Yumi Sakugawa titled Plant Strange Seeds. Throughout today’s post I have shared some of these inspiring illustrations with you, in the hope that together we can plant some strange seeds.