"Is there a way to change how we experience the hair-pulling challenges of mothering? Can one truly alter her feelings in the midst of the supermarket trip from hell? … there is always another way to see the situation, a way that potentially offers greater peace, comfort, acceptance, and balance than our initial response.”
-- Bethany Casarjian, Ph.D. & Diane H. Dillon, Ph.D.
Baffled about what you should do when your kid does something you don’t like, and you're too upset to think straight?
There are always times when we simply can't get our emotions into alignment with our conscious desire to be a patient parent. When this happens, sometimes we have to act our way into who we want to be, and let our feelings follow. So when you don't know what to do: READ POST
"Let it go. The moment you
feel your hackles rising, let it go. If you let it upset you, what
follows is anger, and to quote Yoda, that leads to the dark
side....Notice … and interrupt it. Find your own way of accepting things
with grace." -- Steve Errey
All parents get angry at their children. And there's nothing wrong with anger; anger is a message. The problem is that we can't hear that message clearly while we're angry. In the heat of the moment, we think the message is that we should hurt our child. In fact, the message might be that we need to put him to bed an hour earlier. READ POST
"I don't negotiate with my kids, I think it would confuse them... And didn't you say in a previous post that parents should stand firm so that children know they can trust them to mean what they say? It seems that allowing negotiation would undermine that, and give the child the impression that the parent isn't confident in the boundary they are enforcing... Wouldn't it make more sense to tell the child in the first place if a particular request is a choice, instead of giving an instruction and then allowing them to negotiate their way out of it?" - Sylv READ POST
"When we acknowledge our children’s
right to want things, as well as their right to be upset when they can’t
have what they want, it goes a long way toward defusing their anger and
the tantrums that occur as a result.” -- Nancy Samalin
We can't say yes to everything our child wants. Sometimes we need to say No, for their own good, or for the greater good of the family or community. It's hard for children to accept big disappointments and weather that sadness. But when we allow them to feel their disappointment and love them through it, they learn that: READ POST
"In a society that has figured out that parents deserve support, you would be able to push a button and call the Parent Rescue Squad....Three people arrive within five minutes...One takes you over and listens to how your day has gone and how your child is driving you crazy....One is helping your child with his project and giving him some carrots and peanut butter....One peels the baby off your leg and plays with the baby for awhile...until your family is triaged and put back together and your patience is healed...It only takes about 20 minutes...and then they go down the street to the next family who could use a little help." - Patty Wipfler READ POST
“Dr. Laura...You suggest setting a
limit with empathy and then when our child has a tantrum in response,
staying connected. I have been doing this with my three year old, and
it does make things much better, meaning she has fewer tantrums now. But
sometimes I just don't have time for this. What about when I need to
get out the door with her and she won't put her shoes on? I don't always
have time for her feelings. How do I avoid the power struggle?"-
It's true, we don't always have time to help our child with her big feelings. That's why it's so important that when we do have the time and energy to help our child with what's bothering her, we do it. Preventive maintenance such as Roughhousing and Special Time work magic because they give our children the regular opportunity to "unpack" all those sad, scared feelings they've been stuffing in their (figurative) emotional backpacks, which will otherwise spill out as contrary behavior.
But let's say you skipped special time this morning because everyone got up late, and now your child is feeling a bit disconnected. That disconnection often surfaces in a power struggle, because your child doesn't feel as much part of a team with you. (That's why five minutes of concentrated morning connection with each child is so important to getting out the door on time.)
But power struggles take two people, so it is possible to sidestep and avoid them, simply by not engaging. (You don't have to attend every power struggle to which you're invited!) This will take an attitude shift from you, of course. Always start by asking yourself if it really matters. Maybe you could just bring her shoes and let her go barefoot? That's always my preferred approach. Your child then is empowered to make her own decision. But let's say it's cold and wet, and you really want her to wear her shoes. Sure, you could force her, but she will just be more contrary later.
So you take a deep breath, restore yourself to calm, and begin the dance of reconnecting to your child. In other words, you ignore your child's defiance or other invitation to fight, reminding yourself that what he really wants is to feel the solidity of your love for him. Instead, you summon up all your warmth and presence to re-connect. Then, the number of ways you can move toward a win/win situation where your child's shoes are on is limited only by your imagination. You could try: READ POST
“There's nothing tiny or insignificant.
Everything is significant... Whether you are looking at world events or
something that's happening in your kitchen, there's potential for
connection or disconnection in either case. And it is really only the
connection or the disconnection that is of any importance.” --
How's your week going? Have you had a moment of connection with your child that made your heart melt? READ POST