(And all of the following applies to ourselves -kids or no kids- too!)
If you don’t immediately recognize her name, her book titles may ring a bell. One of my all-time favourite writers/self-help gurus is Harriet Lerner, author of The Dance of Intimacy, The Dance of Anger, and The Mother Dance, among others. In The Mother Dance (which I wish I had read at least a day before my son was born), she refers to her own parenting guru, and strongly recommends we check out his work. Excellent stuff, indeed -and deeply applicable to folks implementing any change in their family, including in the area of diet.
I’ve said something along these lines to countless fathers and mothers who have posted to my blog or emailed me personally, but in his amazing book Parenting by Heart, Dr Ron Taffel states a key truth so beautifully. After describing a father’s unintended sabotage of family change, he writes:
Many of us are like Michael’s father. We often revert to the status quo because we haven’t anticipated our own reactions to changing an old parenting dance. So we allow our kids’ initial response to push us back to a familiar but ineffective routine.
Dr Taffel notes that this “dance” happens across the realm of parenting and parenting change. Like I said moments ago, this includes the area of diet. It is quite common that when a parent moves to implement dense nutrition, the children balk and push back -HARD. They whine, they stomp, they yell, they scream, they refuse all foods, they slam a door, they throw their toys. I mean these little ‘uns really, really balk.
Even more than the first, GAPS Guide 2nd Edition emphasizes preparation -especially emotional, psychological, and relational. This is because if we are not prepared for the inevitable challenges, we may be surprised, frightened, and stressed by the natural “dance” that will initially occur, and we will likely quit.
That’s a shame, because if we can hang in there for just a few days or weeks, we will see outstanding results, and overall our lives will be much easier and lighter. Our children will be vastly healthier and, as a result, much better behaved, and having infinitely stronger communication skills. The spiral curves upward; we see ever increasing gains.
When my own son had the Tantrum to Beat All Tantrums last Saturday, I was beyond disheartened. I was discouraged, exhausted, “done”. But at some point, I remembered that he used to do this every single day. And I realized that the reason I was so disheartened now was because it had caught me off guard -that is, my discouragement was a direct reflection of how rare these tantrums are now (which is, of course, a good thing).
When I assessed for what had preceded this tantrum (was he tired? stressed? hungry?), I was not able to determine any major issue. Sometimes a person just has “something” going on and needs to let it all out. If it’s not a daily or dangerous matter, we might do best just to let it go and move on.
My son used to suffer daily, so he screamed daily. After implementing a gut-friendly diet, he no longer suffered, thus no longer screamed (except, apparently, once every autumn).
To get here -to a place where he eats all foods with enthusiasm, feels well, is cheerful most of the time, is gentle, and so on- it was necessary that I manage my own emotions – my own anxiety, fear, stress, and discomfort- long enough to support his transition to a new way.
Boy, was doing so ever worth it!
The dramatic life changes my son and I experienced as a result of changing our diet, and the simplified steps for how you can do likewise, are detailed in the book GAPS Guide 2nd Edition. (Commenting anywhere on this site -past, present, and future- gains you chances to win a free hardcopy! Start now; watch for details in a subsequent post.)