Do you feel like screaming when your toddler takes too long to put on his shoes? Do you worry that your child is still hitting at school, or that your preteen just declared she’s going on a diet?
Most of us are triggered by our children multiple times a day. And it’s often our own behavior that makes things worse.
We angrily grab toys out of their hand when they don’t share. We lecture at them when they leave their wet towel on the rug after a bath, or tromp through the house with muddy boots during a thunder storm.
If you’re looking to change your child’s behavior this year, I’m going to encourage you to pause for a moment, or a few months, and work on you. That’s probably not what you want to hear. But it might be one of the most important and profound things you can do for your children this year.
When your child’s difficult behaviors crop up, notice what is happening in you. Because when we react to our children out of fear or rage, we’re not modeling the calm, compassionate person we want them to be.
Of course there are tools and techniques that I would recommend to prevent your child from spitting on you, slamming the door in your face, or screaming at their sister.
But I’m suggesting that this year, you resolve to take a close look at why you’re so triggered when your little throws a piece of broccoli on the floor or when your 15-year old criticizes you where it hurts the most (they are so good at that!).
In the Parenting by Connection approach, we recommend finding a listening partner—someone you can call when you’re at the end of your rope. Someone that can listen without offering advice and can create a safe space for a big cry when you’re exhausted and having second thoughts about this whole parenthood thing. Or maybe you need to yell about how much you hate your child, or how worried you are that they’ll never change.
Some of my clients have found listening partners in my parenting groups and they are still listening to each other and supporting one another years after the group ended.
Although I’m not running a group at the moment, I do have room for two more private clients in January. So if you’re committed to starting off the new year by working on you, hit reply to this email and let me know.
We’ll look closely at the places where you get triggered and create a plan to alleviate your hot spots so you can be less angry and exasperated and feel closer to your toddler or teen. You’ll learn about the power of listening partners and how to find one. And you’ll discover what tools it takes to manage some of your child’s most challenging behaviors.
If you’re ready for the deep dive, you can read more about my 8-session package here:
Of if you’d like to dip your toes in and see what it’s like to work together, start with two sessions here: http://www.parentchildconnection.com/sanity-starter-package/