My daughter’s tantrums would push me over the edge and I felt stuck in this never-ending power struggle. Wishing that things could just be simple and calm… Calm that’s what I would wish for.
“If only SHE would JUST listen to me and stop being so naughty I wouldn’t have to shout at her.” I bemoaned to a good friend.
It was so easy to resign myself to my present reality when I didn’t see a way out. Really! is THIS my parenting journey?
Because, when I delved into the REAL issue of what was causing my problems, it’s wasn’t my daughter’s behaviour or lack thereof!
It’s wasn’t my super busy chaotic life, or even a stage I just had to manage.
It’s WAS everything to do with HOW I THOUGHT about the situation.
Interested? Read on.
1. I made my child’s behaviour about me
In the past when my daughter was acting up, Oh my! it would it trigger me, “How dare she talk to ME like that.”
I would question my parenting skills, and jump between feeling as if I had failed as a mum or that she was a bad child.
However, it’s important to remember that your child’s behaviour is NOT a reflection on your parenting. This isn’t a reason to become permissive and let the kids rule the roost. But, the fact of the matter is, you simply can’t control your child’s reactions.
It’s not personal.
You can ALWAYS decide on YOUR actions and YOUR reactions. How you decide to act is your choice.
Your child doesn’t control your behaviour.
Your child’s behaviour is their choice BUT —HOW you decide to respond to their behaviour is always your choice.
This is where you have control—over yourself, and no one else.
In short! You Choose Your Behaviour, No Matter How Your Child Chooses to Behave
2. I resigned myself to “Life is hard.”
Parenting a strong-willed, more challenging child is well, more challenging. It left me feeling overwhelmed and as if life was happening to me. Running a hundred miles a minute and I couldn’t keep up. I had thought I had to accept that this was my reality and I’d better get used to it. That life should be hard. I had a more challenging child for goodness’ sake.
And in some ways I was right. Parenting is relentless and you can’t have a day off. It’s exhausting. And some days you just manage to make it through the day.
However, what we focus on grows.
Focus on what’s NOT going to plan and you miss many of the wonderful moments. – Your son sharing his favourite toy with a friend, the trip to the supermarket that didn’t end in chaos, the bedtime cuddles, cooking your favourite meal that the kids actually eat…
When you focus on the positives you’ll SEE more of the good stuff.
Above all, whenever you feel a sense of overwhelming, take a deep breath and remind yourself:
Life goes on. Better wake up and smell the roses.
3. One difficult situation can dictate the mood of the day
The milk carton was empty (I NEED my coffee in the morning to function)
My kids were arguing.
My daughter had an epic tantrum and I really was about to lose it
It was a REALLY stressful morning. This was when I decided to PAUSE, take a deep breath and RESET.
Too often, moments like these dictate the rest of the day. Your child doesn’t do what you ask and is moody towards you, so you’re moody right back.
You forget that you have a choice to let go, and each moment is a time to move on.
Try and shift your focus from “Who said and did what.” to resetting and starting over.
I use to sing the song “Let it go” at the top of my lungs when my kids were younger. That song has a whole new meaning for me now.
Go on give it a try!
4. My Mind was elsewhere
I was driving the kids to school, had a doctor’s appointment, and a client to go to, food shopping and bills to pay…
The kids were messing about in the back of the car and I turned around and snapped at them: “Will you please just be quiet! Aaaarggh!”
My husband was soon to reply. “Hang on! What’s the matter?! They’re just having fun.” And you know what! He was right.
My mind was elsewhere and my own frustrations allowed me to overreact.
Isn’t this the case for most of us? You’re not present in the moment. Your mind is elsewhere. Planning, thinking, worrying.
When not being present, you miss out on SO much. And you get frustrated AT your kids for simply being kids just because they’re interrupting your thoughts.
This causes you to live on autopilot, and react without thinking.
When we slow down and become present in the moment, we have more choices in our reactions and gain a deeper connection with our children.
5. Feelings are a choice
Your husband isn’t helping out enough, your toddler isn’t listening, your child is ungrateful and you feel like you do EVERYTHING.
The resentment starts to creep in.
You start competing with your partner about who has less sleep, about who has it more difficult, about which child is more challenging… all the things you have to put up with.
And the funny thing about human nature is that we like to prove ourselves right. It’s something called confirmation bias.
So you go about your day pointing out “YOU SEE! You see… THIS IS WHY I’m feeling like this. I HAVE PROOF. This is why my life is hard.
The truth was, a few years ago this was me. I played the victim of life and circumstance and give permission to let my circumstances dictate my life.
When you lose your power, you give it to others and leave it to them to change your emotions and reactions.
We think that our feelings are caused by our circumstances or by another person. But that’s not true.
It’s how you THINK about what’s happening that causes you to feel an emotion.
6. Reality and expectations don’t match
Before becoming a parent, I’m sure you had an idea of what life would look like. The kind of parent you wanted to be, the kind of child you would have, the family life, holidays you’d take…… See where I’m going with this? We have it all mapped out in our head before it’s even happened.
There is a disconnect whenever there’s a gap between our expectations and reality. We mourn the loss of what never was.
A client of mine paid for a lovely city break for his family. He had it all planned out, sightseeing, museum visits, long lazy dinners. However, reality kicked in and his kids complained about the boring historic site visits and his daughter refused to go out for dinner.
His expectations didn’t match his reality and the city break was a disaster, one spent arguing and greatly stressed out.
It’s at times like these that you need to take a pause and recognise you’re off the path, even in tough moments like these, it’s easy to focus on the gap rather than where you are. By becoming grateful for what you have at the moment we open up to new possibilities to be happy.
7. Control is an illusion
I thought my job as a parent was to control my children’s behaviour, by controlling them! Oh my! this leads to endless power struggles and WAY TOO much shouting…
Whenever there is coercion there will be pushback.
Control is an illusion. The fact of the matter is you just can’t control another person. You can only control your own thoughts and reactions.
Influence YES! Control NO!
Stuck in endless power struggles and stress can make you lose sight of what your true job as a parent is.
Your job is to love your child, not control them. The rest will follow..
It’s liberating to realise that when you let go of control over your children, you actually get more of what you want. And willingly.
8. Lighten up!
My husband stood in the kitchen, “You’re not fun anymore!” he retorted.
‘What?” I replied, somewhat taken aback.
“Everything is just so blah..”
And you know what! He has a point.
Life’s so fast, it’s easy to be ben so focused on what’s not working, your never-ending to-do list, the issues we have with our children.
You forget to have fun, laugh, dance around the kitchen like a crazy person, shift the mood…
Above all, you miss the small things that make life so important.
I want to invite you to become aware and of how little changes in your thinking that can have a huge impact on your life.
As always, I would love to hear from you.
Hi! I’m Camilla, a Language of Listening® parent coach, and I support parents just like you to transform family life with the magic of Language of Listening® To get more support click here to get my FREE parenting into class. It’s the missing step in parenting.
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