However hard we try to cover them up, our babies and children will always sense our emotions and respond to them, just as we do to theirs – whatever their age!
As a new mother, this can come as a bit of shock and it can be really hard to deal with because before you know it, things can spiral out of control as sleep deprivation sets in and we find the most simple things in life difficult to deal with. This can lead to anxiety, bad temper, rifts between parents – all of which your baby can pick up on.
Instead of trying to hide your feelings and bottle them up, it can be better to find a safe way of releasing them, or working through them. Whether you need to talk to somebody, do some relaxation exercises or meditate, it is always worth taking the time to do these things as you and your baby will both benefit from you feeling better. If you need to ask somebody to look after your baby for a couple of hours so you can do this, then ask – there is usually somebody around who would be happy to play with your baby (even if you think they’re being difficult that day).
However old the child, they will respond to your emotions and if you’re feeling cross, they will probably start to feel cross too and start misbehaving. If you’re sad, your baby may spend the day crying. If you’re anxious, your toddler may become very clingy.
If your child is older, then it can be helpful to talk to them about how you’re feeling. This doesn’t mean that you need to go into details about what is making you feel the way you do, but simply saying, “I’m feeling a bit grumpy at the moment because….” will help them to understand. You will probably get a sympathetic cuddle or a ridiculous irrelevant response, but your child will understand that it isn’t them that is causing you to feel the way you do, and the burden of your emotions will be taken from them, allowing them to relax.
Think about it the other way round – when your baby is having a bad day and is unsettled and crying more than usual. Or you toddler is fussy and grouchy. Or your child comes out of school stroppy and vile… It’s difficult not to mimic their emotions and behaviour. But as an adult, you can stop yourself and help them to feel better because you have the tools. Children can’t do that for us, so we if we can try to do it for ourselves, everyone will be happier!
For hypnotherapy in Henley and London – candela-hypnosis.co.uk
For acupuncture in Reading or Oxford – rosedaleclinic.co.uk/
For simple guided meditation – headspace.com/