A child’s behavior is a function of temperament together with parenting, which means that while your child may have been born a certain way, your parenting of that child does make a difference in his behavior! This challenges us to take responsibility, to stay on the court, to walk the talk and to not raise our hands up in surrender even at the height of our frustrations. As my mother always says, “this is a growth opportunity” for us!
MODULE 4 – Take it on!
- Reclaim your sense of responsibility
- Recognize your power to choose
- Be the change you wish to see in your kids
Shift your position from how do I control my child to how do I teach, support or guide my child and how do I control myself? While parents do not cause their children’s strong willed tendencies, their parenting can and does impact their behavior. Remember from the Introduction that a child’s behavior is a function of temperament together with parenting? This places a level of responsibility with us!
- How we parent, how we interact with and react to our child does make a difference in his behavior and ultimately in who he grows up to be!
Yes, it is exhausting some days, I totally get it! Parenting is hard! And still I invite you to take charge, to take ownership and to reclaim your sense of responsibility for your child on his process of becoming! Take it on! You can do this, you are a parent!
Think…What do you need to do for yourself to have the energy to reclaim responsibility? I invite you to look within. Consider implementing more self-care into your life to rejuvenate you and energize you to parent your child with the attention and intention he needs. (*Self-care will be our April topic!)
Recognize Your Power to Choose
- Choose Your Words Wisely
If there is another sibling for example, be it a baby or a child with special needs, who may require more of your time and attention, check yourself and your language and be sensitive to your other child’s needs and wants. For example, instead of saying “ok, when the baby naps I can play with you,” try…”I can’t wait to have some time with you. Let me put him down so that you and I can have some special time together just me and you!” Choose your words in a way that leaves him feeling special and wanted by you! Shift the attention away from the baby (or other child) and purposefully onto him. Just shifting your language can make a big difference. Remember that words create our reality!
- Choose Your Reactions & Learn to Self-Regulate
Remember those triggers you identified in Module 1, those moments where you seem to lose your temper and react less favorably than you would like? When you feel your blood start to boil, when your inner voice says “there we go again, he’s pushing my buttons, he’s pushing my limits, I’m going to explode…”
- FIRST STOP and BREATHE!
And remember that mantra you created also in Module 1 to help ground you in those challenging/trigger moments?
- Say that little mantra to yourself to help you stay calm.
Remember to choose a short saying that is meaningful for you (one example is the serenity prayer), or just breathe deeply over and over again.
- Then choose a favorable reaction!
As grown adults we always have the power to choose our emotions and our reactions versus allow them to take over us each time. Calming ourselves down not only helps us make better choices with how we interact with our kids, but is also good modeling for them! And we are always modeling!
Be the Change You Wish to See In Your Kids
Model, model, model! Kids learn by watching us! This is one of our greatest challenges as parents.
- We have to BE that which we wish for our children!
No matter what we tell them, children will internalize and learn what they see in their primary caretakers – what they see in us! Because we are human and imperfect they will pick up the bad with the good in us, so we have to try and be our best selves for them. Our best, yet imperfect and human, selves!
Module 4 Exercises
- Challenge Yourself!
- What do you think is in your way of reclaiming responsibility for your child’s behavior and what might you do about it? Jot it down. Perhaps you are exhausted and a solution might be one morning to sleep in, hiring a sitter or asking your partner for more help, or scheduling a mom’s night out to reenergize yourself.
Practice Choosing Your Words
- What is one thing you might try saying differently to your child this week? Instead of ‘not now’ you might say….Instead of ‘can’t you be more like____,’ you might say….Instead of ‘If you do that one more time..,’ you might say…
- What tricks do you tend to use to calm yourself and what are a few you might teach your child? Kids need to know that their emotions are OK as well as appropriate ways to have them. It is our job to teach them!
Be the Change
- What are some things, or some areas of life, that you might want to work on and to take on for the sake of your child? What changes might you make that you wish to see in your kids?
As always…Be intentional. Be consistent. Be Patient. and Trust the process!
April: Explore your self-care and renew your energy for parenting!