If you didn’t make a New Year’s Resolution this year, you can share mine. This year I resolve to be a calm parent, to be a calm wife and to respond rather than react to upsets within my family at every turn. I know, it is going to take work. To help myself, and hopefully help you, I am going to include tips on calm parenting and calm relationships throughout the year.
The first thing to consider is the difference between reacting and responding to others. When there is an upset reacting means acting on impulse, without thought. It is what happens before we consider our better options. Know that you can do better. Every upset gives you an opportunity to step back, to stop and think, to consider your options and plan a response. If you can slow yourself down and know that your response to an upset is fully within your control, you can avoid the knee-jerk reactions.
Last week our Parenting Bookclub met to discuss Screamfree Parenting: A Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool by Runkel. What a great book! Here are a few tips from our discussion:
- Focus more on being responsible to your children, focus less on being responsible for them. You were not the one screaming in the restaurant, but you are the one responsible to teach them better.
- Focus on your own response more than their behavior in each discipline exchange. Control what you can. The capacity for change in the parent-child relationship lies in the parent. Focusing more heavily on changing their behavior often adds to the frustration.
- Emotional reactivity is damaging to relationships. When you get reactive (acting out of anger, fear or frustration), you are very likely making the situation worse.
- Respect that your children’s emotions, thoughts and opinions will differ from yours.
- Take pressure off the end result. If you want your child to be religious, and you force the issue, they can never authentically choose it for themselves. You are in a far better position to expose and guide them, take them to religious events, read the books, have the discussions. Focus on making it available rather than forcing.
- When your children are “testing you,” shift to thinking that they are testing your ability to stay calm, dependable, stable and consistent.
- Take care of yourself to better take care of them. This includes your health, your relationships and your time.
- Learn and decide how to use a wide variety of positive discipline tools, so you can be prepared and rely on the to help in finding the calm.
- There is a real balance in parenting. You must address the business side before you can enjoy the personal side. You must provide the empathy and positive intent to balance the use of choices and consequences.
- Say what you mean and mean what you say. In the positive, keep your promises. In the negative, follow through on discipline.
- Your children want and deserve a parent who keeps their cool and stays level headed even when things get hot!