What a journey!
When I originally wrote the book, the writing was mostly reflective of my own experiences as a parent. I was becoming more aware of how I was responding to my children's emotions. I realized that in an effort to "help" my children with their feelings, I was focused on looking for ways to "solve" how they were feeling. In a way, looking for how to “make them happy again”. To my surprise at the time, this wasn't helpful, and it was, in fact, almost doing the opposite. They seemed to be responding to my efforts in frustration rather than relief that I had "figured it out". But during my "ah-ha" moment, I simply thought about how I feel when I am sharing my feelings and someone tries to "solve my problems" - it doesn't help! :-)
I believe my job is to offer my children the safe place to share how they are feeling. Sometimes they will be able to articulate them, sometimes they will show me how they feel - but in either case, I want them to know I will be there for them. I might offer a listening ear, or I might sit along side them to help regulate their intense feelings, or I might be in another room where they know they can come to me or invite me in. I want them to know that whatever they feel, it will come without judgement - no labelling of "good" or "bad” feelings. And how they feel will not scare me away.
The expression “I want you to be happy” was the other inspiration for the book. As a parent, I considered what this expression really means. And, although we generally wish people well, a life only full of happiness doesn’t exist. Upon deeper reflection, I realized I just wanted my children to be themselves – and this includes all of their feelings.
All those feelings are normal,
don’t save only happy ones for me…
I realized what I really meant was,
I Want You To Be You