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Welcome to my New Blog
Welcome to my new blog. Check back regularly for interesting updates and information.
New Years Resolutions and Parenting
Every New Year’s Day is the same, we start off with the best of intentions of making positive changes in our lives; to lose weight, do more exercise, find a new hobby and as parents, often to improve your relationship with your child or teen by being more patient or present for them. However, despite the best of intentions, we can find them going by the way side as the everyday stresses and challenges of life often get in the way of us making these changes.
However there are some things that you can think about doing for the New Year that will not only benefit you but as a result will be good for your relationship with your child:
- Take care of yourself. We hear this all the time and yet few of us stop and take the time to look at what we need. We are so busy focusing on what everybody else needs that we neglect ourselves and often end up feeling exhausted, irritable and impatient; sure signs that we have forgotten to fill up our own cups and look after ourselves as well. So this year make a promise to listen to and ask yourself what it is that you need to take care of yourself (when we are feeling irritable, stressed and impatient it is even more important to do this) and give yourself what it is you need. It may be that you need to get to bed earlier, or have a break away from the children to talk with other adults, or a walk around the park or a cup of coffee and sometimes what we really need is to remind ourselves to stop, breathe and relax and tell ourselves that everything is okay
- Slow down. Remember you do not have to do every little thing yourself right now. If you find yourself rushing around, stressed and anxious, stop and ask yourself why it is that you are so stressed, what else could you do in this situation that would make it less stressful, can others help?
- Catch and challenge those negative thoughts and change them into more encouraging and positive ones. We can be our own worst enemies, harder on ourselves than anyone else and expecting nothing less than perfection. Remind yourself that you are doing the best that you can and that there is no such thing as perfect, it’s about being good enough as a person as well as a parent.
- Manage your emotions. When we react in anger or frustration, we can say some of the worst things, that once they are out there, are hard to get back. Commit to reacting calmly to your children rather than allowing your emotions to take hold. This will become easier, the more we are taking care of ourselves and our needs.
I have been having one of those weeks were my head is full of where I have to be and what I have to be doing, with the result that I am wondering if I actually locked the front door when I left, and realising that it’s the vitamins that go back in the press not the glass!!
Time to slow down I think! So I opened the little book of slow down therapy that a good friend of mine gifted me and read a couple of lines….below is a link to some of those gems for slowing down. Enjoy
Are your buttons being pushed? We all have those things (sometimes big things) that push our buttons and can cause us to flip our lid and often those closest to us, our partners, children & teenagers can be the best button pushers. Regardless of what our buttons are, we can keep a lid on our anger.
‘It’s in the Pause that change can happen’
Only recently I was reminded again of the importance of pausing. Having cleaned the house and just returned from doing the weekly shop, I spotted some baking items on the counter which had been there from the day before (I was hoping they would have been back in their home by now! I also noticed some cups and plates on the counter on top of the dishwasher!!). As I began unpacking the shopping I could feel the anger and frustration rise and naturally I fuelled it with my own internal running commentary on the situation ‘why the hell is that flour still on the counter, how many times do I have to ask for things to be put away’ and of course the cups became part of the internal monologue ‘how hard is it to open a dishwasher and put in some cups’. As I opened the press to return the baking items I remembered to pause and breathe. I continued to take some deep breathes, which gave me the times and space to calm down and think about what I was going to do next rather than stomp up the stairs to rant and rave. Now I was able to approach the situation from a calmer and clearer place and ask respectfully why the items were still on the counter and boy was I grateful I had as I was told that the items were on the counter because they were now out of date and needed to go in the bin. Okay so they hadn’t yet made their way into the bin but by pausing I was able to learn that piece of information which changed my view of the situation and therefore my response to it.
No matter what the age, toddler, tween or teenager, the pause is one of the most important tools in the parenting toolkit. When we pause it gives us time to reflect rather than react. It allows us to get out of our own way and see another side of the situation and when we do this it opens up more possibilities and more solutions; ones that keep us connected in our relationships. Unfortunately pausing is not something that comes natural to most of us. It is something we have to consciously remind ourselves to use and to practice regularly.
Practice makes perfect
Rather than waiting for those situations that push your buttons to use the pause; your toddler refusing to put on their jacket when going out or your teenager giving you attitude when you ask them to do something, it’s important to find ways of incorporating the pause into our busy daily lives. Some of those ways include
- Pause to check-in throughout the day – notice how you are inside, what you are feeling
- Mindfulness breathing – notice your breathing for a minute or two
- Before ringing a doorbell, pause for 30 seconds then ring it
- In the car with the radio off, notice the silence or the sounds of your children chatting
Sit for a minute before leaving for work or take a minute or two when you return from work before going into the house. There are many important aspects to building positive family relationships; listening compassionately, using respectful language to engage cooperation and setting boundaries. By spending the time on practicing pausing it allows for these other aspects to happen more easily.