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Part Two of our parenting series: All reactivity is information.

By Julie Daley


You know the scene…

You’re in the middle of a challenging relationship moment. A pattern or three! get activated, and – whoosh – you’re off to the races. It’s never a good feeling, especially when it happens in parenting situations.

power of loveReactivity is not to be wasted. Embracing a moment of reactivity as friendly is an act of self-compassion. To do so prepares us to do the deeper work that our tools make possible. If you’re going to be reactive then you might as well fully explore what’s going on in the situation. When you’ve got Hoffman tools in your tool belt, you’ve got everything necessary to shift from reactivity to response-ability.


Here at Hoffman, we recently held a two-part teleclass on parenting to support you in discovering what’s really going on during challenging parenting moments. In these intense interactions when things aren’t going so well, it is good to have a simple practice to guide you in stepping back, looking inward, and using your tools.

In our first post of this two-part series – “What’s Your Parenting Story?” – we explored the insidious Dark Side stories that we, as parents, can carry inside. As I prepared to write part two, I reached out to Hoffman teacher Hilary Illick, who hosted the Parenting teleclass. I was hoping to get the essence of what she taught in this series.


Hilary delivered, as she always does:

“All reactivity is information. At Hoffman, we hold that all patterns are opportunities to heal. When we are triggered, which we often are in important relationships (INCLUDING, of course, parenting), it’s an opportunity to look inward and explore what’s going on. We tend to put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect as parents, or at least to do it better than our parents did, which ups the stakes, ups the intensity.”

The Dark Side tends to up the stakes, up the intensity. Reactivity creates a lot of pressure. Our nervous system tends to ratchet up in these situations. In order to respond rather than react, we must have a process for bringing ourselves back ‘down’ into the moment. Reactivity becomes the source of transformation if we do what we now know how to do – transform the negativity into light.


Put simply, we:

  1. Bring the focus away from the child and back into ourselves, into our own awareness. By doing so, we come back to the responsible part of ourselves, back to our Spiritual Self.
  2. Engage in active self-care and self-compassion, becoming more soothed and grounded. We breathe fully, feel ourselves present in our body, and then use our tools.
  3. Recycle so that our new behavior is one of response, coming directly out of the wisdom and love of our Spiritual Self.


You Got ThisAs graduates of the Process, we’ve transformed the pain of our childhood into a new ability to be a present and loving force in the world. When we love someone as much as parents love their children, the fear of causing them pain can be great. We don’t want to pass on the pain we once knew. This is where self-compassion and self-love must be a vital part of our practice. As a parent, it is through this process that you can make a choice to do it differently. This is true for all of us, whether a parent or not.

We can feel deflated that we’re still getting activated but when we see reactivity as information and activation as an opportunity rather than failure, we open to this valuable moment to learn and grow.  We can see it as a chance to transform the negativity to light and love, and to grow closer to our Spiritual Selves.


There’s still time to purchase the recordings to these two powerful teleclass sessions. Session one is available for purchase until August 14, 2019; session two until August 21, 2019. Recordings are available for 30 days after the teleclass takes place.

Session one focuses on awareness and identifying patterns and challenges that sabotage your intentions as a parent, as well as taking power from the undermining voice of your Dark Side.

Session two explores how you can take care of your own needs with self-love and compassion so that you can meet the challenges of parenting as a resilient adult.

  • Thomas D Edgar


    08/12/19 at 8:01 AM

    Thank so much for this. Found it helpful applying it to my relationship with aging mom. Instead of reacting, I can use these tools, find compassion, practice love and light. Better all round!

    • Julie


      08/15/19 at 10:42 AM

      Thomas, Thank you for your reply! It is helpful, really, for any relationship, and I can see how it can help in this situation, for sure. I have an aging father and it is helping me there, too. Better for everyone. Thanks again for leaving your great comment. We all learn from each other.

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