MY CHILD OR ME?

There are SO many challenges & triggers as a parent:

- bedtime
- meals
- tantrums
- not listening
- mess in every room
- answering back, screaming and hitting

The list goes on.

Unfortunately, these behaviours are not isolated to your child alone. This acknowledgment is comforting but also a quiet reminder your parenting challenges are likely to re-occur in these or similar forms, right?

 

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result”.

 

This suggestion from Mr Einstein sounds harsh when applied to parenting … but’s it’s also kind of true. Children aren’t going to miraculously become emotionally competent & compliant beings overnight, eager to follow your every request. So what’s the answer? How do you not just survive these stages & days, but THRIVE when supporting your children?

 

When my children were younger, I realised it wasn’t their behaviour that impacted my mood the most, particularly long term. It was my own. When I was reactive and chose behaviours removed from who I wanted to be as a mother, the guilt of this was heavy. That’s what remained with me long after my child’s behaviour had subsided. In contrast, when I responded with control of myself, of MY behaviour choices, I was much more able to process their emotions and challenges compassionately and calmly. I found I wasn’t running this interaction over in my head hours and even days later.

 

If you know the pain of this self-disappointment, these moments when you're less than the mother you want to be, try these 3 suggestions to help you align with the mum you know you are inside (& yes, they’ll take practice)

  1. Before the behaviour (because, let’s be honest, it’s probably not the first time you’ve seen this reaction) understand what result you’re wanting & importantly, why are you wanting it? We adults have a lot of ‘stuff’ impacting our decision making and behaviours. Gaining clarity over this is super beneficial to ensuring you're parenting from a place of purpose, rather than reaction.
    2. From your past experiences, when do you feel most positive about the outcome? (Hint: is it related to how your child responds or are you more impacted by your personal response, like I was? I know for me, it was always the latter)
    3. Acknowledge you don’t really ‘control’ your child’s behaviour or choices. You do however, have influence over them. What influence will best support your child during this process? 'Influence' is your real centre of control.

With these 3 steps in mind - & I encourage you to return to them at a time when you can quietly & genuinely contemplate them - what mindset will best support you when these moments of challenge arise?

Understand you are the parent your child needs.
Believe you have everything in you to provide the love & care you want for your child.
Remember you’re the adult, the safe space & the sanctuary for your child.

Now return to your day with an open & compassionate heart - of which this compassion might best be directed at you.

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