"I watch their softly tousled heads slumbering on
their pillows, and sadness wells up in me. Have I drunk in their smiles
and laughter and hugged them, or have I just checked things off my to-do
list today? They're growing so quickly. One morning I may wake up and
one of my girls will be getting married, and I'll worry: Have I played
with them enough? Have I enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of their
lives?" -- Janet Fackrell
It's part of our job description as parents to guide our kids and keep them moving through the daily routine. All too often, that means setting limits, denying requests, correcting behavior. Sometimes we're skillful enough that our child doesn't perceive our guidance as "negative." More often, kids give us the benefit of the doubt because all the other loving, affirming interactions create a positive balance in our relationship account. READ POST
Dr. Laura, I see how all your
mindfulness techniques make me a more patient mother. But when I find my temper rising, what can I do in that
moment? I know yelling doesn't work. I know that my inner critic that
tells me I'm a bad mother just makes things worse. But what do I actually DO?" -- Cara
Nothing. Really. You notice what you're feeling, you breathe your way through it, and you DO nothing.
When our temper rises, we all feel an urgent need to DO something, anything. But that's our emergency response system operating. And parenting, despite how it feels, is not usually an emergency.
So the most effective thing you can do is restore yourself to calm before you act. Why? Because the rational brain stops working when you're angry. So when you act from anger or fear, you're never taking constructive action.
I define mindfulness as just noticing our own feelings and thoughts without acting on them. Meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg says it more directly: "Mindfulness is not hitting someone in the mouth."
Sure, it feels like we MUST intervene at that moment. Otherwise, our child will "get away with" bad behavior, and will become a terrible person. But that's fear speaking, and it drives us to take actions that make things worse. Later, we realize that we let our emotions run amok. We didn't guide our child with love. We didn't help her WANT to be a more loving or cooperative person. Instead, we dumped those yucky feelings from our full emotional backpack onto our child.
So what can you actually DO when you feel your temper rising? READ POST
"It’s like a big stick that I hit
myself with from the inside. Really, would I want anyone I love to do
that to themselves? Certainly not! And, I’ve made a commitment to
support my kids and myself in putting that stick down. For good. The
other day...the part of me that is Unconditional Love stood up, turned
towards the Critic, and embraced it. In that moment of love and
connection, the critic dissolved. Now I make it a practice to embrace
the Critic, over and over again. I am learning that whatever has a hold
on me, that which we most want to turn away from, is exactly what needs
undivided, loving attention." -- Jennifer Mayfield
The inner critic's goal is to protect us. It thinks its job is to constantly scan for threats so it can keep us safe: future dangers, past problems we keep reliving to prevent their recurrence (or prove we were right!), defects in others that we need to control and correct, and deep flaws in us that we fear threaten our very survival because they make us unlovable. No wonder we so often ricochet between anxiety and depression. READ POST
“The key is
unconditional kindness to all life, including one’s own, which we refer
to as compassion.” – David R. Hawkins
All parents know that children need unconditional love to thrive. But how can we give our children something most of us haven't really experienced?
The answer is that we CAN experience unconditional love -- by giving it to ourselves. We do this by actively, thoughtfully, accepting our selves -- imperfections and all. When we miss the mark of our own standards -- as we all do, all the time -- we give ourselves a compassionate hug, and resolve to give ourselves better support so we can keep moving in the right direction. READ POST
"Realize that now, in this moment of time, you are creating. You are creating your next moment based on what you are feeling and thinking. That is what’s real. We can let go of the unconscious belief that being anxious about the past or the future will somehow protect us and instead reprogram our cells with new ways of responding.” -- Doc Childre
Do you worry about your child? Join the club. It's part of the job description. But when we say "Be careful!" to our child, we're not giving the message that we care, even though that's what we feel. We're giving the message that the world is an unsafe place and we don't have confidence in our child to navigate it. READ POST
"Yesterday my husband and I had an argument at dinner time in front of the kids. My four year old daughter yelled at us to ‘Be quiet!’ … My two year old had a tough time going to bed, which is unusual for him. Could that have had to do with mommy and daddy arguing?” READ POST
“I was born perfect. The rest is just
beliefs that I picked up…I don’t believe them anymore. I choose to
believe that I am perfect and whole.” – Caron Goode
Ever wondered why some parents can keep a sense of humor in the face of their child's challenging behavior while another parent starts yelling? Why some parents plague themselves with criticism, worry and doubt while others seem more able to just relax and enjoy their children?
Yes, some children are more challenging than others. But whatever our child's behavior, we always have the choice of how to respond. And yes, it's our emotional response that determines our actions. But what creates that emotional response? READ POST