Project Un-Project

respond instead of reacting with kids - ZenParent

A is dancing in the living room to a song on the TV. She’s all of eight months old. She’s swinging her left hand and lifting her left leg at the same time. If you stop for a moment to visualize that you’ll get a sense of how precariously (un)balanced on one leg she is while she’s doing her jig. Gravity finally prevails and she loses her balance. She hits her head on the wooden coffee table. She says “Dhum happened”, gets up and starts dancing again. I smile quietly to myself. Looks like Project Un-Project has some merit.

I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. It dates back to a time when I fell from my cycle and was quite badly bruised. My mom said “you have a really high tolerance for pain”. And I believed him.

As adults, there are a lot things that we’ve allowed to be hardwired into our brain. And we project that into our child’s psyche unknowingly. For eg : my distaste for chickoo. I don’t like chickoo so there’s a really high chance that A won’t unless I “Un-project”.

Un-project : verb – to neutralize the projection of preconditioned thoughts

Since it involves fighting pre-conditioning, Un-Project requires you to pre-pare yourself with responses to situations. I’ve deliberately used the word “respond” instead of “react”. A reaction is an instinctive behavior that has developed because of baggage – it’s the pre-conditioned behavior. A response, on the other hand, is a well thought out and evaluated behavior to a particular situation.

do you respond or react to kids - ZenParent

Take “fear of the dark”. Everytime there was a load shedding, someone in the house would react negatively to it. “oh no” was a favourite reaction. At some level A figured that something bad had happened and started crying as soon as the current went. To Un-project, I made up a song. Light has gone away, light has gone away, dinka chika dinka chinka dinka chika ding. Taught her and everyone at home the song and now we all sing it when the current goes. The crying has stopped and so has the “oh nos”.

Another one is falls. They fall a lot. And everytime A fell, the reaction in my head would be to let out a gasp. It took some effort to keep the gasp in my head. My Un-project response would be to laugh it off. I’d say “Dhum happened. Come on get up and continue <whatever you were doing>”. And she did.

Of course there are those times that the fall is bad and really painful. Those times I run my hand over the spot and say “ablusha blum blum” pull out the pain in my palm and “bloosh” the two of us blow the pain away into the clouds … and continue <whatever she was doing>