In this third and final session of The Work on Parenting, Susan Stiffelman and Byron Katie begin with a conversation about specifics like chores and rants about our children: “They don’t listen to me; they’re so ungrateful; how can they live in such a pig sty?”
These beliefs create a disconnect and power struggles with our kids. “The Work,” Susan says, “is a powerful tool to liberate us from all the thoughts that cause us to come at someone instead of alongside them. When children withdraw and defy, they’re letting us know that we’ve disconnected from them.”
Katie then guides Amber from Ithaca in doing The Work on “He’s going to move to California” and “The move is not best for my daughter.” After questioning these thoughts and turning them around, Amber finds the possibility of a lasting peace and connection with her ex-husband and their daughter.
Jamie, a mother of three from Canada, says “Amy is an over-the-top, screaming little girl. She is not the little girl I imagined I would have.” After inquiry, Jamie notices that she is not the mother she imagined she would be and discovers that when she is not busy thinking that Amy should be different, she can be fully connected and compassionate with her.
Ina from Japan is concerned that her daughter is adopting all her fears and lack of boundaries. She questions the concept “My daughter is fearful of life” and quickly finds that when she believes this thought, she become more fearful and unable to help her daughter. “If we take care of ourselves,” Katie says, “our children follow” Ina also questions the thought “I need her to be a fearless and happy person.” Without the expectations we have for our children, we can relax, be present, hear them, and be fearless with them. ”I can’t expect my children to live what I can’t live,” Katie says.
“When we parent ourselves, parenting our children is effortless.” —Byron Katie