Parenting is not easy. There are many events that happen while we are parenting that can set us off or trigger emotions deep inside us. Sometimes it can be your child’s resistance to an ordinary request. Other times your child does that one thing you ask him or her not to…again. Many of our battles as parents come from our own feelings about compliance. If only my child would not make my life so much more difficult in this moment, if only I could get my child to do the thing he or she needs to do without a fight.
Parenting is also exhausting. Parents tend to neglect self care. With busy schedules, work, parenting, and caring for other family members, there is never enough time in the day. Sometimes we sit down at the end of the day and realize we forgot to eat. Other times we see a friend and realize we haven’t spoken to another adult about something fun in far too long.
All of these factors affect how we interact with our children. In the moment, we get to make the choice whether to model unconditional love or to express some of the ugly emotions we feel on the inside. Too many times we don’t stop to take a breath and think about the consequences of our actions as well. Fortunately, there is hope!
Calming ourselves is the first step. In her blog post, How To Love Unconditionally While You Are Angry, Dr. Laura Markham describes five ways to be calm in even the most difficult moments with your child:
- When you’re angry, shift your attention away from your child and concentrate on calming yourself.
- Don’t analyze whether your child “deserves” your angry.
- Discipline (guide) your child once you are calm.
- Acknowledge how you feel and then calm down and manage the feelings underneath.
- Don’t teach “rage” as the teachable lesson.
Not acting on your anger gives you the space and opportunity to love and connect. And that’s all we really want to do with our child anyway, isn’t it?