parents discipline

Calm Parenting`most of us aspire to it, desire it, and even promise ourselves we`re going to do it`but it`s so difficult to sustain. We know how important it is to parent from our principles rather than from our fears, but despite our best intentions we lose it and end up yelling at those we love the most ` our kids. "Often without realizing it, we are parenting from a sense of panic, urgency and fear; we are reacting to triggers that are continually setting off internal alarms." Triggers and Buttons `We are all vulnerable to different emotions that can set off an alarm bell inside of us. Some of us become easily angered and others deeply fearful. Parenting can expose us to our own deep, dark self`the pretty and not so pretty` some of which we were probably hoping to keep out of sight! Of course, our explosion leaves us feeling more guilty and hopeless as parents`and the cycle continues. The LOGIC ROOM Let`s imagine our brains with two offices - one upstairs and one downstairs. The upstairs office, called THE LOGIC ROOM takes care of processing logical information and preparing charts, systems, plans and strategies. The downstairs office, called THE EMOTIONAL ROOM, takes in and processes our emotions. When things are calm in the downstairs office, the upstairs office functions well. But if the downstairs office gets too heated, the alarms will sound, the LOGIC office upstairs shuts down and things go haywire in a desperate attempt to cool the flames. When the heat is finally lowered, the upstairs office reopens and checks for damage, plans for repairs and creates strategies for the future. Remember that when your emotional brain is in control,`you'll`most likely react by yelling and screaming. Other forms of reactivity can include: shutting down,`distancing, ignoring, and turning a blind eye to behaviour. Responding, on the other hand, is when you avoid saying anything until the internal fire is out.`You`can then go upstairs to the LOGIC ROOM and think of the best way to respond to your child and the situation. Understand that your intense feelings and emotions don`t make you bad, hopeless or inadequate`they make you human. But as humans, we have control over our feelings and a responsibility to respond maturely and rationally to our intense emotions. Although challenging, it`is`possible. What will this`change in your path`require`

  1. Educate the logical, thoughtful part of your brain. Read articles on parenting that teaches and reminds you why it is important to stay calm and not lose your cool with your children. Stop, pause, and think before responding, always.
  2. You can't "make" others act a certain way so you can feel okay.`Keep in mind`that we have a`tendency to want others to think and act the way we want them to think and act when we get anxious, particularly our children. This is called the `herding` instinct; it`makes us feel calmer when others act in ways that fit our needs. When we can`t get others to `be` the way we need them to be, we get more anxious and start shouting at them in our`attempt to "herd" them. Know that this is a`natural tendency that occurs in all of us, and prepare for it to happen when you get triggered. Stop, pause and recognize that you can`t yell your way to calm or get calm through someone else. Find ways to soothe yourself through calming music, quiet walks, and self-care. The truth is, yelling at others and jumping on their back will only cause more stress.
  3. Know your triggers.`Recognize your triggers. Pay attention to which of your child`s behaviours gets the heat rising in you. Check your body signals that indicates your heat rising. Are your shoulders tense` Throat tight` Are your words defensive` See if there is a pattern. Write all of this down.
  4. Ask yourself why these behaviors upset you so much.`Write your thoughts down. Look to your past and look to your fears of the future. What does it trigger from your past` What fears does it trigger of the future` Ask yourself if your child`s behaviour make you feel unsure of myself` Helpless` Out of control` Scared` Overwhelmed` Why` What can you do about these feelings` Are they rational or irrational` Write down what can you do to help soothe yourself when you feel any of these triggered emotions.
  5. Know what's at stake.`Remind yourself that angry interactions can often`negatively impact your influence with your child. Influence will only come from a child wanting to be led by you. Use your compassionate friend that sits on your shoulder to help you calm down the deep emotions that get triggered. You will want to settle these emotions within yourself so they don`t spill outside of yourself onto others.
  6. Have realistic expectations:`Keep your expectations of yourself and parenting realistic and reasonable. Give yourself permission to be imperfect and recognize the inevitability of being inadequate at the job of parenting. Get support from friends and family that love you.
  7. Heal your wounds.`Heal the wounds of your past by learning your family history or seeking out professional help. Finish the unfinished business of the past so it does not repeat itself in the present. Get your adult relationships and personal life in order so you don`t rely on your kids to fill`the void. Look at it this way:`if you need this from`your kids, your sense of worth will be up to them. You will be vulnerable to them and therefore easily triggered.
  8. Avoid power struggles.`Be careful not to get hooked in to a pattern of`negative interactions with your child when you get triggered. Don`t react to her reactivity and get caught in a battle of wills. Hold on to yourself and your realistic expectations of yourself and your child. Stay focused on your child`s strengths instead.
  9. Stop futurizing.`If you are a big worrier, you probably carry lots of scary mental images of your kid`s outcome in your head. Images of disaster, what will happen if they venture out by themselves, failure, catastrophes befalling them. Some part of you probably falsely believes that if you worry`and "futurize" you will prevent these things from happening. Not true. Try and overdose your mind with visions of happy, safe outcomes for your children. When these negative images get in your head, replace them with an opposite image. Work on this. Do the same thing with negative thoughts that pop into your head; replace them with an opposite, more realistic thought.
  10. Release your stress through exercise. Try walking, yoga, prayer, meditation. Practice mindfulness. Relax your body when you feel yourself tensing your shoulders. Take deep breaths and close your eyes. Notice your breath without changing it. Acknowledge all thoughts that come into your head and then return to your breathing. `
  11. Give fair warning.`Sometimes you can`t suppress the urge to yell, but if you know you`re about to let loose, `tell your kids, and give them permission to leave the room first,` suggests Hoefle. (They`d have to be older than preschoolers). `This teaches personal responsibility for words and actions,` she says, because it tells them that we all have strong emotions from time to time, but that we still have to respect others` feelings.
  12. Remember your role.`When you resort to screaming, you`re forfeiting a piece of your authority. `A yelling parent lowers herself to the level of a sibling or peer,` says Dr. Kennedy-Moore. You can`t demand respect from your children by shouting at them, but you can command respect by acting as a responsible figure in charge with a calm, in-control manner.
  13. Get close.`Find yourself shouting up the stairs and across the yard` That`s too easy for your child to ignore, which sets up a cycle of you yelling, your kids dismissing and you yelling more loudly. `Parents often tell me, `I say the same thing 14 times and he doesn`t listen!`` says Dr. Kennedy-Moore. `That`s because he`s tuned out the yelling.` If your kid doesn`t comply the first time you make a request, she says, `walk over to him, get his attention, make eye contact and speak firmly but gently.`

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