With so much to kick off a new, different and great 2018 I know this will be a year where so much positive change and transformation will happen in your relationship with your children.
As Joanne Tsianos and I keep inching our way to the final touches of our 5-module Parenting E-Course, I’d like this week’s message to touch upon ways we can keep developing a grounded and resilient child.
I received many positive emails and direct messages on my social media pages from last week’s boost on “caught stealing” – including notes from parents and grandparents! I think it’s because the very moment was so relatable while my response to my child felt like, “Wow! I don’t know if I would’ve been able to remain calm and handle it the same way.”
Here's one response: "Wow! What a beautiful story. I don’t know what I would have done in this situation. I definitely may have gotten really upset and made the situation worse. Thank you so much for sharing." - Kristin Dunnigan
As a fellow mom, I am here to say I am no different than you. Yes! You too have what it takes to shift, adjust and intentional craft a more empowered conversation in those hair-raising times. I too have my setbacks and then re-think my next step to get back on course. Sometimes it’s a “do-over,” an apology to my kids on how I could have done it differently, maybe even admitting to myself that I expected something in the moment that they weren’t capable of meeting or perhaps that it’s time to take a stronger lead in “teaching” them my expectation with built-in time for practicing it.
The journey of choosing to parent more mindfully and consciously takes PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE as we are actually re-training our internal workings of the mind and body to better handle the different stressors that come from parenting. The good news is that our children and our changing relationship with them gives us plenty of material to continuously practice “getting it right.” When we’re confronted with our child “caught stealing,” yelling at us, hiding something, being disrespectful, lying, or throwing a fit we easily default to our lower levels of catabolic parenting response. FYI … If these terms are new to you or vaguely remember them from other pieces I’ve written, then I encourage you to check out “7 Building Blocks to Conscious Parenting” (FREE DOWNLOAD). Better yet, take advantage of my e-book “6 Elements to Mindful & Conscious Parenting”.
These catabolic responses drive a surge of cortisol and adrenaline which are embedded in our fight, flight and freeze responses. This stress response is feedback that we’re feeling threatened in some way. The threat might be that our sense of authority is being compromised, that we feel like we’re failing our child in some way, perhaps we’re having some “am I good enough?” critic entering our mental chatter or is what’s going on reflective of some misalignment between the current reality and our core values for our family.
Whether we tend to fight, flee or freeze this is our cue that we’re in our brain’s hypothalamus which highjacks the rational mind and we then overreact, seek more control, become aggressive, our view and perspective is narrowed to just what’s right in front and we’re saying and doing things from our threatened fear based perspective. So how do we move ourselves into our brain’s executive function which releases hormones like oxytocin and testosterone - allowing us to process, plan, focus, prioritize, control our impulses, have a more positive attitude and think clearly with long term goals in mind?
Again, this takes practice in self-awareness and “catching ourselves” as we’re unraveling.
Try out some of these suggestions:
My response to my son in the “caught stealing” article was a reflection of consciously rechanneling myself to connect with my executive brain and engage with my higher anabolic levels that promoted thinking, feeling and responding from the perspective of “What’s the bigger picture here? What’s my real motivation and intention with my son?” It was also important to remind myself that his actions were not about me and by no means an attack on our relationship with one another. Once we distance ourselves from the situation and depersonalize it, we access our higher levels of consciousness and self-regulation. We invite our ability to tap into an incredible wealth of wisdom within.