As parents we sometimes get things wrong, as of course do our children too. No one is perfect, and nor should they be! But it often helps to have a vision as to where you hope to go. One which, as well as loving and supporting your child, includes keeping afloat yourself too!
To be a calmer role model as 80% of their learning is through copying you – a scary thought! Achieving it means making a point of looking after yourself on a daily basis, such as finding ways to take time out for your needs, getting to bed 15 minutes earlier, making sure you are eating well and seeing friends or family. Say no sometimes, let things pass and don’t be ashamed to ask for help if you need it.
Feeling better in yourself will make it easier to prevent angry power battles and confrontation. You then have more resources to stay calm, and can then avoid taking impulsive action when you are angry (it rarely ends well otherwise!). Your child is still learning to manage their emotions. Much as it feels like it, they really aren’t trying to make life difficult! Take a breath and say to yourself; ‘this will pass’, ‘ I shouldn’t take it personally’, ‘he’s still learning’ , ‘I’m going to stay in control here’.
By showing them how to remain calm and connected – you can then talk about the problem in a constructive way. They are learning how to be considerate and respectful.
To understand your child’s needs better, as big feelings usually come from unmet needs, perhaps through misunderstandings or your child not yet having the necessary skills to express their emotions calmly, causing difficulties and frustration. Instead of punishment, stay calm and say and stay close. When things are calmer, acknowledge their feelings, offer limited choices, while still setting clear limits and expectations.
- To build a close connection with your child; through play and chat, through following their interests more intently and helping them learn cooperation to be part of the family team. Love is also about letting your child make small decisions for themselves wherever possible, showing that you trust them to make choices. What better way to affirmation to your child and to build that crucial close connection. Children are hard wired to want to do well, to help and to be appreciated by you!