The sign of great parenting is not the child’s behavior. The sign of truly great parenting is the parent’s behavior. – Andy Smithson
I have fallen into the trap of thinking my kid’s behavior meant something about how well I was doing as a parent.
If my child melted down at Target…and people gave me the “You need to fix that” glance then I would come to the conclusion that I was failing. All because my child’s behavior wasn’t fitting into what society felt was appropriate.
But what is really happening when our child melts down? I promise they aren’t trying to be difficult. An emotional meltdown is a sign that something isn’t working for our child. We often blame ourselves, thinking something is wrong with our parenting (because that we can’t get them to stop). OR that something is wrong with our child (that they should be able to calm themselves down — something many adults can’t do when things don’t work out or they get their feelings hurt).
If our child doesn’t have a meltdown…and follows the rules…then we give ourselves a high five and give ourselves an A+ on our parenting!
We make a decision based on their external behavior.
Good behavior = Good parenting & good child
Bad behavior + Bad parenting & bad child
What if we needed to look beyond their behavior to really understand what’s going on?
What if a compliment child was struggling just as much as the obedient child?
What if the compliment child’s way of adapting to what wasn’t working for them was an internal meltdown of shame, people-pleasing, and embarrassment instead of an external meltdown of tears, yelling, and tantrums.
What our child is or is NOT doing alone says nothing about how our child is doing.
So where does that leave us?
Working on WHO we are for our child instead of what we DO with our child.
Believing, trusting, and accepting our children even when they are yelling at us, refusing to do their chores, or making bedtime a difficult t is how they learn we are going to unconditionally love them no matter what.
How do we do this?
We ask ourselves questions like…
What am I going to say when my child is unkind?
Who do I want to be when my child gets aggressive?
How do I want to react when my brain says she’s acting rudely?
What’s my response going to be when he says no when I say it’s time for bed?
Is it possible to be calm and kind and compassionate? YES!
Will their behavior trigger you and cause you to lose your cool? Nope…not this time.
It’s a journey.
I’ve been my child’s worst critic and I’ve been my child’s greatest cheerleader.
It’s a dance.
The more we practice the dance of connection and compassion the more comfortable we get at it and the easier it is to dance even when the music is wrong and our dance partner isn’t wanting to dance.
When you get triggered here are a few things to try…
1. As soon as you notice yourself getting triggered PAUSE.
2. If you can’t respond calmly don’t respond.
3. Excuse yourself, but don’t tell the kids it’s their fault you’re triggered
4. Take a minute to BREATHE.
5. Think a new thought you want to think about what’s happening (come up with this new thought ahead of time)
6. Say the new thought 5-10 times. Make sure it’s believable and you feel it in your body.
7. Be gentle with yourself and repeat the process if necessary.
8. When you’re ready come to the situation with compassion and love for yourself and your kiddos.
PS I’m gonna be opening up my coaching program again in a few weeks…stay tuned.