Projecting Into The Future
When we project into the future we find ourselves treating our children as if they have already become our worst fears.
This is Kathryn Jones, the Peaceful Parenting Coach. Today, the discussion is about how projecting into the future is actually really unhelpful and destructive to our relationship in the moment with our child — what on earth am I talking about? It might sound a bit odd, but we all do it.
We see our child behaving in a particular way — we might see our child is neglecting their prayers, so immediately we’re looking ahead and thinking, “Oh no, they’re going to turn into somebody who doesn’t pray.” We see our child hitting another child and we start thinking, “Oh no, my child’s going to turn into someone who’s aggressive and violent.” Our child tells a lie and next thing we know, they’re the biggest liar in the world in our head. Or, our child is struggling with one subject at school and that’s it — the next thing in our mind, they’re a school drop-out.
It’s actually something we’re all doing; and if you become really conscious of your thinking when you’re seeing your child acting out in one way or another, you’ll notice yourself doing it. We all do it to some extent to another, and we all do it more around some circumstances than others. So for instance, particularly if our child’s behaviour is reminding us of someone who did go down that track, our automatic connections are going to be, they’re going to turn out just like that person. Especially if that person is somebody that is closely related to them or spends a lot of time with them, and all our fears come up.
Now, the minute we have fearful thoughts, we’re no longer able to actually be present in the moment, we’re no longer able to connect with our child; and as a result, we can’t set limits well, we can’t connect well, and we can’t do anything about their behaviour whatsoever. So that behaviour that we’re having so much trouble with, that we’ve now projected out to the future become fearful and now disconnected from our child around it, is likely to continue because we’re not able to set limits on it because of our feelings. We’re either going to be too harsh on our child in our language and in our behaviour, because a harshness comes up in us — or we’re going to start sounding like we’re pleading with them and begging them because we have been just really panicky about that’s how it’s going to turn out.
The reality is, there is nothing to say that a particular behaviour right now means anything about that child’s future. All of that is in your head, and all of that is preventing you from being present in the moment with your child and being able to correct that behavior right now. It’s really profound, this — extremely profound. Start reflecting next time your child is behaving and you’re struggling; next time your child is behaving in a way that’s upsetting you and you’re struggling to set limits with it, have a think about what’s going through your head in that moment. Have a think about how you are emotionally in that moment, and you might find some of the clues as to why it’s not working and why you can’t turn this around.
If any of this sounds very interesting or fascinating you, maybe you’d like to do my 5 Peaceful Parenting Secrets to stop the screams, yelling, and crying so you can have the peaceful home you desire — it’s at peacefulparentingsecrets.com. Just go there and you can get access to a free training on how all our emotions work and this dance that we’re doing with our children emotionally, that can be either helping us in having a peaceful home, or it can be really hindering us because there’s the clash of emotions going on.
I really look forward to hearing your comments, feel free to do so.