Sometimes we go through experiences that leave deep feelings, memories, and imprints within us. We may (or may not!) work through experiences in layers over time. The older we get, the more perspective we gain.

Same with your baby or toddler.

In my backyard, there’s a certain type of weed that has a deep taproot. I always try to pull out the whole root, but sometimes the fluffy green part snaps off at ground level. Other times I get part of the root but can see small pieces stuck in the ground. On the surface, it looks like it’s gone! But… with the root still down there, it’ll be growing back again. 

I’ve noticed big feelings can be like this too.

Big, deep feelings are usually behind sleep and behavior concerns. A gentle, authentic approach is not necessarily one-and-done. For some families it really is, so there’s room for that too, if that’s you!

But for many, it’s an ongoing process. Aware Parenting is a way to understand and improve sleep and challenging behaviors. But it also happens to be an approach to relating, communicating, and a way of life.

Children are people. Like us, they’re constantly growing and changing, based on the day they had, how they perceive the world, and stages of development.

Sometimes they need to work through birth story a little more in-depth. It’s not unusual for there to be something—that’s not obvious on the surface—keeping them in a holding pattern. Or for everything to start going smoothly except for this one thing… 

Just like that weed we can partially resolve but whose root is left in the ground and keeps growing back—pieces of those old experiences and feelings can get lodged inside. Part of it may have cleared out, but maybe there’s a chunk of old fear or grief or sadness that just wasn’t ready to come out yet. So it will keep popping up, attempting to be healed.

Our bodies and beings are oriented toward healing. It’s just that sometimes we mistake the process for unwanted behaviors.

“Weed” has a negative connotation—annoyances we must get rid of. But all weeds have a place where they do belong, where they grow naturally and play an important role in the ecosystem. It has its own wisdom. If it has been demoted to “weed,” it means it’s preventing something else we desire from happening in its current expression.

Feelings and behaviors are valuable, and each has its own wisdom. But sometimes they need time and support to unearth.

So if you’re still having challenges lingering, it doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong or you’re a terrible parent or something’s wrong with your child. It means it’s an invitation to dive in deeper!

When I work with families on these “sticky” issues, we’re usually able to pinpoint something. So don’t give up. Sometimes wisdom looks like a problem and healing like chaos.