The opposite of a lie is a truth. But the opposite of a deep truth is another deep truth. Look of it this way: Your child wants to go outside without you so that she can have a moment of freedom and space. You’re nervous because you don’t feel she is old enough to be out there all alone. You and your child are experiencing a Polarity – “a relationship between two opposing ideas that each have some good in them.”*
Both sides are valid and there are good intentions behind both, but if either you or your child goes to the extreme of pushing your position then you will reach a situation of peril. For example, if I start allowing my daughter to roam without setting any boundaries then she will eventually walk off of the property or infringe upon our neighbors’ spaces (whom we live in close proximity to.) And conversely, if I am watching her every move and not letting her have more freedom as she ages then she is going to feel stifled and caged.
I attended a retreat this weekend with my cohousing neighbors to discuss Polarity Management with a professional facilitator. She guided us through the process of identifying polar issues that are present in our community, and then we walked a Polarity Map** to identify what would happen when the poles are balanced or imbalanced. Walking the map helped us see as a collective the need to acknowledge the issues that are polarities and avoid the tendency to try and solve them. By definition, a polarity is not a problem and cannot be solved – only managed. Trying to solve polarities will only lead to frustration.
I feel that structured trainings can push towards understanding a model and pull away from the honest conversations, but my experience with Polarities Management was the opposite. It provided a framework for people to share some deep hurts and frustrations, while also leading us into an afternoon of brainstorming on ways to move forward.
I challenge you to sit down and assess the conflict points you have with your children. Is there a Polarity in there? Or is this a genuine problem? Honoring our children’s thoughts and feelings leads us into improved conflict resolution, and that’s a lifelong exercise with lifelong benefits.
* Yarrow Durbin, Courage Work Facilitation. http://www.couragework.com/polarity-management/