I’ve been thinking a lot about inner child work as it relates to parenting + more specifically, sibling conflict. My older girls are 3 + 4 so I’ve had my fair share of practice when it comes to observing their disagreements.
I “know” I am suppose to sportscast + not referee. I “know” I’m suppose to observe + not pick sides. I “know” I’m suppose to encourage them to find solutions themselves. But can I tell you something? Can I tell you what I don’t hear enough support on as a parent?
The visceral experience it forces me to undergo. It’s far more complex than any cerebral one; it’s stored up + reveals itself in a stomach knot + heart pounding + the clenched jaw sort of way. It’s not just a sibling quarrel… it’s SO much more than that. As they scream at each other, about to go to blows, my FIRST, almost automatic response is always:
❌❌MAKE IT STOP❌❌
As a child, I witnessed a lot of sibling conflict. I had two older brothers who would punch holes in walls + get into physical brawls with each other + at times, even my father. It would get so bad that the cops would show up. To this day I can remember running to my room, covering my ears + humming to myself to muffle out the noise.
So today as a mama, my two girls arguing is more than that. It brings that fear, that confusion, that want to stop it at all costs feeling BACK.
I didn’t want the conflict then. And I don’t want it now. But that’s not possible, all the time anyway. So I have to show up for them, by showing up for the little girl I once was. To parent well is to acknowledge this wounded past.
I hear you. I read your comments on how you too feel panicked, scared, confused, tired, responsible + sad. Many of us approach our child’s conflict the same way we were conditioned to approach our caregiver’s conflict. Yet this isn’t discussed in most parenting resources. This is why I am putting together a new guide, for me, and maybe you.
This guide will combine what I know about inner child work, the mind/body connection, regulation/safety techniques, and provide practical tips to help you heal + navigate sibling conflict so that you can better show up for yourself + your children.