When humans are frustrated, anxious or stressed, they can lose control of their words and actions. Insults fly, blame bursts forth and anger arises out of nowhere.
When we are flooded by emotion and unable to reign it in, we need less judgment from others about our behavior and more comfort and compassion in understanding what is happening to us.
Sometimes, parents unconsciously withdraw from connection in an attempt to remain firm and enforce boundaries. However, our children need us to be their guiding light, not their "consequence."
How do I get my kids to listen and will you give me the concrete tools I need to make it happen?
Definitely the top question that parents, who consider joining my community, want to know.
What do I do to get her to pick up her clothes, finish her lunch, turn off the iPad etc.?
What does parenting with presence mean to you?
For me, it means being mindfully aware and alert to my internal state and my outer experience and environment. It means not checking out or shutting down when I become frustrated by my daughter's discontent, but to take steps to contain my emotional upset.
When our emotions hijack our sense of security, we can quickly drop into rigid, obsessive or even unreasonable thoughts and behaviors.
“My 7 year old daughter has told me before, "I'm thinking of a bad word but I know I shouldn't say it." I would respond with. "Well, don't say it." But, last night she wrote to me how she had a "bad head" because she had a "bad thought." Can it be due to her moderate anxiety and her OCD tendencies? How can I help her when she says stuff like that?” - G
How can we respond to our children's scary thoughts and worrying emotions so they don't internalize the negativity? How can we help them learn to reflect and release any unhealthy or persistent thoughts?
What helps kids recover from traumatic events? How can we help them move beyond scary experiences?
"I have a 5 year old son who has become more and more clingy over the past year. He doesn't like to do anything without me and when I go away he becomes really upset. A few weeks ago he got lost on some trails near our house. He was alone for over an hour on the trails, cold, wet, and expecting me to show up any minute. I was the one who found him eventually and we were both pretty scared. Since then, any time I go mountain biking, he becomes really upset and angry. Tonight he sat on the front step and wouldn't budge until I came home. He yells all kinds of mean things at his Dad and says he doesn't know how to take care of him. I've tried talking to my son about it, but I don't know if he really even understands why he's feeling what he's feeling, so how can he express it to me?" - B.
This is a great question! Children can easily be traumatized by events that adults perceive as temporary or non-threatening.
Obviously, this experience of being lost was terrifying for you both, but for your son - it was the last straw.
I see and hear a lot of banter on the internet
It appears there's a lot of sanctimonious judgment of children (and parents) floating around in cyberspace these days, but what I don't see is anyone writing articles for parents on how to not BE an asshole (hence not raise one).
So, I thought I'd jot down a couple of quick tips.
Most parents - after asking me how to stop behavior - ask me, how to stop reacting.
It seems that once folks understand that it is to be expected that children will - cry, whine, resist and push - and they realize it isn't their job to fix anything - they ask, "Well, then how do I stop getting so angry?"
It is the peeling of an onion.
I don't know that we can “stop getting angry” as much as we can shift to a state of responsibly managing our anger and initiating repair when our anger affects our children.
All children test boundaries, right?
However, holding those boundaries without getting angry and being able to compassionately set limits takes an incredible amount of self-awareness and emotional maturity.
Do you feel like you need to brush up on your self-regulation skills?
Children need us to be attentive and available to help them regain their emotional balance.
In the early years, a child's emotional balance can be thrown off needing to be re-set as often as every FIVE minutes.
Just a weeeee bit.
Do your kids talk back? Do you have a tween or teen who has become increasingly sassy or smart-mouthed?
How do we teach lessons without shame or blame and still allow our kids to fully embrace the intensity of their emotions?
I want to share with you a step-by-step path to peace.
Your language, attitude and tone ALL affect your child's ability to meet your expectations. Learning to change the way you speak can take time and practice.
Sometimes, you won't know WHAT to say. It's okay to be silent. Being respectful is more important than saying the "right" thing.
Creating healthy habits around money is something I have as a top priority goal for myself and my child.
However, with my history, I was not aware of just how deeply hidden my beliefs around money were.
I recently joined Kate Northrup's #MoneyLoveChallenge because I wanted to step-up my self-awareness around my financial future.
“Misbehavior” in the classroom is a hot topic.
I remember when my daughter started first grade, I wondered how we would cope with the newly punitive environment.
How would she handle it? Would it be stressful for her?
It seems silly to worry, right? After all, we all made it through school unscathed.
If you've ever heard yourself saying things like:
There is no reason to get upset.
It's not that big of a deal!
- then you've probably been overwhelmed by the intensity of your child's emotions.
As hard as they can be to tolerate, those meltdowns are a critical part of our survival, and a building block to better behavior and a healthy emotional intelligence.
If you struggle to set boundaries with your kids without getting angry or using force, I want to help you recognize why and empower you to take your life in a NEW direction.