Step One: Be Calm
You’re thinking yeah, right! In this chaos?! Hear me out, though.
Your brain really loves repetitiveness. Every time you lose your cool, you’re strengthening a little pathway in your brain that makes you more likely to lose your cool again and again. Eventually, it doesn’t take much to set you off. When your fuse is only about 3 centimeters long, it’s pretty difficult to live in joy, for both you and your family!
If you’ve developed a yelling habit, it’s not too late to stop.
Disarm the triggers that light your fuse by keeping track of them for a few days to notice your patterns. Intentionally plan a response to each trigger so you don’t go to your default reaction. Then, the next time you feel the agitation rising, embrace that tiny space that occurs between the initial trigger and your reaction, expand that space with a few deep breaths and a helpful mantra, and then remember your planned response.
This isn’t easy, but each time you calm yourself down and respond with a rational mind, you’re strengthening a new pathway that will help you be a more effective parent. As a bonus, when you remain calm during emotional upset, you model an extremely valuable skill for your child. As a result of seeing you master it, they are more likely to be able to calm themselves as well. Plus, your kids aren’t listening when you’re freaking out on them. It triggers their lower brain, too. (That’s the part that makes us flip out.) Calm minds equal rational responses.
Step Two: Be Confident
The messages you get on what “good parenting” looks like is often contradictory. The “should” and “should nots” are coming at you from all angles, and it can be difficult to feel confident that you’re making the right choices. Truthfully, you probably are, and if you’re not, your gut will tell you.
The trick is learning to tune out all the clamor so you can tune in to your intuition. Children feel secure with a parent who is both calm and confident, so have faith in yourself. You don’t have to be perfect; just show up and do your best each day.
There are two key ways to show confidence. One is to be calm, which we just discussed, and the second is being consistent, which we are going to talk about next.
Step Three: Be Consistent
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