I am the first to assure you that being a Peaceful Parenting is not all about turning your whole life over to being available and sensitive and encouraging for your children. It’s about being real, understanding that when you have a problem and you need to resolve it before you crack, that first, you breath… take stock of the situation and plan your approach. You have needs too and at times your children will trample all over them because they are totally unaware that it means anything to you. Parenting is really about education! One loooonnnnggggg eduction for your children… so they can grow up and learn to be with others in this world.
The funny side of this one is that we (parents) sometimes forget that…. we somehow think they know that right now is the time for them to stop being so demanding and can’t they see that I just need a break and can you not realise how miserable and frustrating it is to hear you fighting with your brother all the time… can’t you appreciate how I FEEL about this!
They’re in their own little bubble where it’s all about them and this sets off our internal emotional trigger… and it can go off unchecked and create major damage…
It pushes our buttons
This step is about recognising when your buttons have been pushed and you are unable (like we say in step 4) to remain calm and carry on.
When you feel that you’ve been hurt by their behaviour or words.
When you’re angry because you’ve had a tough day and they just added to it.
When you start wondering why you even bother.
Then it’s time for some self care!
I like to ask my parents (that I work with), what does an airline instruct passengers to do in the event of cabin decompression and the masks drop down? They ask you to put your mask on first before helping others. Why do they ask that? Because they recognise that you need to be OK to be able to help someone else, so if you’re not OK, you need to look after yourself first, children and partners second.
Give yourself a break.
In what ever form that works for you:
Read a book
Talk with a friend
It needs to be a priority for you (a number one priority).
4 Reasons Why You Should Come First
You need to educate your children as to why your self care is a priority,
- So you can be there for them when they need it.
- So they can learn that it’s healthy to look after your own needs.
- Giving your energy all the time to your family, your work to everyone else but you is draining.
- You end up draining and limiting your ability to help them when they really need it.
Once a week or once a day, make it about you. You may be thinking that your parents didn’t do that and they were OK. But ask yourself if that’s really true, if it was, was it because they had more time on their hands? Life was very different for our parents, they worked shorter hours, they had different values, mums often stayed home full time. They had the energy to carry on because the kids were out of the house at school.
That was then and this is now!
If you are finding yourself:
snapping at your partner or children
feeling burdened by bills and responsibilities
Then take a break from it, a mini break each and every day. One way of doing this is taking up a mindfulness practice. Mindfulness is about taking all of your awareness into the current moment, into whatever you’re doing, seeing, feeling, smelling right now. Some people do this by meditating… but I do this throughout my day. All I do is put my full attention into the current moment.
Like you can right now…
➢ Feel yourself sitting on the chair
➢ where your thighs meet the cushion
➢ where your arms are resting
➢ how your breath is moving in and out
➢ put all of your attention into this moment
➢ any sounds you hear throughout the house
➢ any physical sensations
You can also do this with other chores.
- Washing dishes becomes a new experience when you put your full attention into the sensations you feel while you wash the dishes.
- Brushing your teeth becomes a sensory fascination
- Eating mindfully is highly recommended (switch off the TV!), focus on the food, smell, taste, experience it completely. The feel of your stomach as you eat more (you’ll be able to notice the moment you get full) and notice that the pleasure goes down when you are full… time to stop.
The point of this practice is to help you get back into the current moment and from there you can recognise what you need, what set you off and why and plan how you can resolve the issue. Talk it over with your family, find solutions to have your needs met too and teach the children to empathise and be considerate of other people’s needs in the process.
That’s our role… as parents we are teachers
However, if you find yourself reacting badly and not knowing why, not understanding what your fears are about or your anger or sadness if it seems overwhelming and unproductive and is impacting on your whole families peace then your emotional climate is out of control and this last step is where you need to start and not finish…
Coming up next week step 10.