3 Practices for Less Yelling and More Loving in 2015
Many of us use the New Year landmark to make changes and set goals for the upcoming year. It is a time for reflection and inspiration, a time to let go and dream big.
When I sit down to set goals, parenting is always on my mind. I think about challenges from the past year, looking for patterns and reflecting on where disconnection showed up in my relationships with my family.
While I can make a list of things I wish my kids would do better this year, I know that change starts with me. I invite much of the behavior I see, and the vibe I bring to the relationship sets the tone for the interactions that show up.
Some themes show up each year, and as I think about it, I know it is not just me. This parenting journey is a universal experience, and while there may be small differences in the challenges we are experiencing, there are also things we can all do to increase love and connection on the journey.
Here are three practices for less yelling and more loving in 2015:
Take Care of Yourself
I am sure you’ve all heard this, “you have to put on your oxygen mask first, before you can help others.” And while your have heard it, and know it to be true, have you take the steps needed to actual do it?
Taking time for yourself is not selfish or indulgent, it is necessary. Just like our kids, when we are hungry, angry, lonely or tired, we show up poorly for others. What fills your soul cup? Is it walking in the woods? Time with friends? Meditation or prayer? Early bedtime? Whatever it is, you must schedule in time to do it if you want it to happen. Write it down. Every day.
And going to bed at 1am so you can binge watch Orange is the New Black doesn’t count (oh, that may have been a note to self ☺).
A practice that has been filling my soul cup is getting up a half hour before my children and taking time to meditate and write in my journal. Because it is the first thing I do, I then move into the rest of my day feeling full and ready to be there for my peeps.
I don’t mean inside the house. Go inside your body, get to know the sensations and emotions that come along with situation that trigger you and send you to Grumpy Parent Land. Get curious about the emotions that live underneath anger. Is there fear? Shame? Guilt? Unworthiness?
We all carry a weighty amount of “stuff” inside of us. Exploring it allows us to recognize and release the habits and responses that aren’t helpful. And by exploring, I mean really see it, and find its’ source. This can bring up old hurts and pain from your past, and it is ok to go here, the past is over, why allow it to have a hold on your present?
When we do this internal work, we allow more space and awareness for compassion, patience and gratitude, which is exactly what is needed in those moments of being emotionally triggered by our kids. When the I’m so pissed right now language shows up, go inside and explore it. I promise you, when practiced regularly, this curiosity alone will help to lessen the hold the anger has on you…
I have noticed that when I do this, my Positive Discipline tools are more available to me, because my mind isn’t flooded by emotion. I see my children AND the situation with more clarity. I am open to listening deeper, and finding solutions that are helpful, rather than hurtful.
Yes, I know I am going a little “woowoo” here, but it’s just so darn HELPFUL to focus our attention on being truly present with our children… Now, I am not suggestion that you are totally there and present 100% of the time with your kids. There is no way to embrace the first two tips if that was my suggestion. What I am saying is just like you schedule in your self care time, make sure there are times of the day that you are intentionally present with your kids.
For me, this happens in the morning. Because of their schedules, I have an hour or so with each of them alone in the morning. I connect with them over breakfast, asking lots of what and how questions, showing my interest in them and the day ahead.
I also make sure to really tune in to my kids when I am taking them to activities throughout the week. I embrace those alone times and remove distraction so that I am there, fully present.
I am not saying to be in deep conversation with your kids as often as possible. A lot of the time, intentional presence is quiet. It is being available. It is proximity. Be there, and they will come to you.
As you connect throughout the day, throughout the week, you will notice that the challenges that show up won’t carry the same sting. Instead, you will be able to look deep, and recognize the needs of your children. Deleting the Facebook app off my phone has taken this to a whole new level, by the way…
I promise you, if you bring these practices into your daily life, you will shift the relationship you have with your family. You will find more peace and less stress on your parenting journey… and there will be room for a lot more loving!
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This post was written by Casey O’Roarty exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC.