Shifting your parenting style is a significant change, and you may expect some hiccups as you and your family adjust to new patterns of communication.
Even if your child occasionally “acts worse” than she would have previously, those bumps don’t imply you’re doing anything wrong.
When your child behaves out, she’s actually expressing feelings from the past, from times when you screamed or chastised her and she felt so alone and misunderstood.
It will take additional compassion from you, but your empathetic reaction will help to heal those wounds and allow you all to go forward.
It’s akin to mending past wounded sentiments so that they don’t drive fresh poor behavior.
Transition to Positive Parenting
Many parents may feel bad about how they behaved before they learned how to parent peacefully. But, just as it doesn’t benefit your child, feeling awful doesn’t help you act “good.” So get rid of that guilt. After all, you’re paying the price and making apologies now by assisting your child in healing those past hurt feelings.
The ideals of positive parentingwere never a source of contention for me. They’ve always felt right, and I’ve always wanted to raise my children with empathy and respect.
But there were times when I doubted my capacity to make positive parentingwork for our family, especially when I was dealing with tantrums and power conflicts.
Looking back on those trying days, I’m so glad I didn’t give up on adopting positive parentingtechniques with my kid!
That experience provided me the assurance that no matter what parenting problems we confront, we can always find a calm parenting solution.
Finding the appropriate technique might take some time, but developing a solid, loving relationship with my children is well worth the effort!
However, the fact is that implementing calm parenting is difficult at first.
The shift to calm parenting is similar to the beginning of a weight-loss journey in many respects.
When people strive to lose weight, they could believe that “quick” diets perform better because they see results immediately. The same phenomenon happens when parents use threats or punishments to discipline their children.
They appear to provide excellent outcomes at first since they appear to decrease undesirable habits in the short term.
The issue is that punishments (operant conditioning)(much like “wonder” diets) are more harmful than beneficial in the long term.
On the other hand, while attempting to reduce weight by adopting a better lifestyle, the initial results are not as promising. Many individuals lose up before fully realizing the advantages of change because it appears difficult and unpleasant.
The shift to calm parenting follows the same pattern.
Start With Yourself
You are the source of “peace” in positive parenting. Specifically, your devotion to self-controlling your emotions. That is, when you are unhappy, you should Stop, Drop Your Agenda (For the Time Being), and Breathe.
You become more aware of your body’s feelings, allowing you to remain more alert and avoid being hijacked by anger.
You ignore the frantic “fight or flight” sensation that makes your child appear to be the adversary. If at all possible, you postpone taking action until you are more relaxed.
This takes practice — both in those tough moments with your child, and in general, as you become more aware of your own thoughts and emotions. It’s not easy.
In fact, it’s really, really, hard. Every time you do this, though, you’re building gray matter in your brain, which develops impulse control. And you’re excavating those triggers that make you lose it, so you don’t get upset so often.
Focus On Connections
Without connection, positive parentingis impossible. So, before you do anything else with your child, work on strengthening your relationship.
Otherwise, you’ll stop punishing your child, but he or she will still be unmotivated to “do the right thing,” and you’ll witness more testing behavior.
Begin spending at least 15 minutes each day interacting one-on-one with each child, just following his lead and showering him with affection. The contrast in his responses to your demands will astound you.
Keep The Family In The Loop
Wait until you see greater collaboration and connection. Then start a conversation.
“Do you remember how I used to yell at you and send you to your room when you broke the rules? Have you noticed that I’ve been yelling a lot less lately? I’m so sorry that I’ve gotten into such a bad habit of yelling so much. I love you so much, and I know you try so hard. You don’t deserve to be yelled at, no matter what.
All of the regulations are still in place. As a result, lying, breaking promises, or hitting your brothers is never acceptable. But don’t you believe cleaning up your messes and correcting your faults will teach you more than getting punished?
So, if you break something, even a connection with a member of our family, we expect you to fix it. We’ll be there to assist you at all times. We want to help you with any difficulty you’re having while you’re unhappy.
Let’s start with a family gathering to discuss which household rules are most essential to us.”
Ask For Cooperation
“Our most essential rule is that we treat each other with compassion in our house. I’m going to try extremely hard not to shout at you and instead focus on listening and being kind.
Do you believe you’ll be able to follow this guideline and be kind to your sister as well?” You may depend on your child losing control and breaching the kindness rule from time to time. Resist the urge to use this to excuse your own shouting; after all, you are the role model.
“I know your little sister irritates you at times and always wants to play with your belongings. That irritates you greatly.
You have earned the right to keep your valuables safe. However, hitting or yelling at your sister is not acceptable. Why don’t we collaborate to find a secure location for your valuables where your sister won’t be able to access them? What can you do if you’re upset with her and don’t want to yell?”
You become more adaptable as you experience things through the eyes of your child more frequently, which is a wonderful thing. However, you’ll still need to set a lot of boundaries.
The trick is to set the boundary BEFORE you become upset when you’re still laughing and empathizing with his point of view. “Don’t you wish you could never have to stop playing and get ready for bed?
I’m sure you’ll play all night every night when you grow up, won’t you?! And now it’s time for you to take a bath.” When you establish the limit, remember to acknowledge your children’s point of view. This will help them comply with you.
Teach Children How To Repair
If you’ve been disciplining your child, if he breaches a rule and you don’t punish him, you’ll feel incomplete. So, instead of thinking in terms of destruction, train yourself to think in terms of repair.
Have a private talk with your kid about what happened when everyone has cooled down and feels reconnected. Be patient, pay attention, and sympathize. That’s what’ll get him through it. “You must have been angry when he did that… “I hear you,” I say.
Refrain from teaching until your child has opened up and shared all of the emotions that have prompted him to behave out. Then, without shaming or blaming him, bring out the consequence of his behavior. “You damaged your brother’s feelings when you said it to him…. I’m curious whether it influenced him.
Ask your child if there is anything he can do to help restore the harm. “I’m curious what you could do with your brother to help fix things?”
Avoid the temptation to penalize or compel an apology. Instead, encourage your child to understand that he can learn from his mistakes and improve. “You do realize we always clean up after ourselves, right?”
It’s just a different type of mess than a dropped glass of milk. I’m confident you’ll come up with the perfect solution to help your brother…. I’m excited to see what it is.”
Cleaning up his messes will educate him that he doesn’t want to cause such harm in the first place, much like cleaning up the spilt milk in a matter-of-fact manner. Keep in mind that this is not a punishment.
He does need to make a repair, and he needs to do it before the end of the day, but it is up to him what he does to improve things with his sibling.
Of course, if your children’s “healing” is deemed insufficient by the sibling, you will need to interfere once again. After all, the goal of mending is to make things better with the person you’ve wounded.
What if your child refuses to make the necessary repairs? That implies he’ll need extra support from you to get over his annoyance before moving on to mending. Make sure you’re not lecturing him and that you’re truly seeing his point of view so he feels heard and can sort through his huge feelings.
If ancient grudges are causing a chip on his shoulder, make a promise to yourself that you will begin the repair process today to melt those grudges.
When children are disciplined, they learn that expressing strong emotions that lead to misbehavior will get them into trouble, so they develop the practice of pushing those “bad” emotions down.
Of course, that doesn’t work. Jealousy, irritation, and need are still lurking in your children’s emotional knapsack, ready to erupt at any moment. Your child is simply keeping them hidden because she is scared of them.
As a result, once you stop punishing, those feelings are destined to surface and heal.
As a result, you may anticipate observing more strong emotions if you start punishing. You will notice less anger if you can provide a secure environment for your child to express his or her more sensitive feelings.
However, there could be additional outbursts for a brief period of time. When your child “acts out,” she is expressing sentiments that she is unable to articulate verbally. as an example “Those times when you shouted at me and I was terrified… I pretended not to care, but I was scared on the inside….That dread is still with me, eating away at me and making me feel awful….So I lash out to put those feelings at bay.” She can’t tell you that since she’s a child, so she acts out.
You are not facing a personal problem by acting out. Emotions are never an issue; humans will always have strong feelings. Of course, this does not give your child permission to harm others. Train yourself to perceive disobedience as a cry for assistance and to set boundaries in a calm and compassionate manner.
The objective is to assist your kid in working through the wounds and anxieties that are fueling her anger so that they no longer control her behavior. Connection, laughter, and tears are the greatest ways to achieve this.
Create A Safe Environment
Stay cool when your child expresses his dissatisfaction. Don’t take anything too seriously. The more sympathetic and accepting you are, the more comfortable he will feel in revealing the woundedness that lies behind his anger. (Anger is the body’s fight-or-flight reaction to those frightening sensations.)
It is therapeutic to express those sorrows and concerns. Those distressing sentiments will go once he shares them with you — and he doesn’t even have to know what they’re about or use words — and he won’t need that chip on his shoulder to defend himself.
Create more safety for your child if he is locked in anger by being as empathetic as possible about what is bothering him. If it doesn’t make him weep, and he continues to be angry, it’s an indication that he needs more everyday empathy and laughter with you. Both contribute to the development of trust.
Allow Children To Express their “Side”
I was having a terrible time when you were a kid… I was yelling a lot… I was at a loss on what to do… You were scared by that…. So you were a little angry at times… Nowadays, I try very hard not to shout and instead to be compassionate….
You’re not scared as much as I am…. And you’re getting better at letting me know whether you’re unhappy, afraid, or angry….. In our family, we work together to solve challenges….. Everyone is irritable at times….
We make an effort to listen and be courteous to one another…. Then we constantly mend fences between ourselves…. There’s always room for greater love.”
Using words and tales to comprehend one’s emotional existence is beneficial to all children’s. Just remember to sympathize rather than analyze.
Expecting your kid to mend connections by the end of the day encourages them to do so, which is far more effective than pushing them to apologize in the heat of the moment. This breeds animosity.
Your child will learn to follow your example if you model apologies yourself. So, when anything goes wrong, assume as much responsibility as possible to show others how to stand up and take charge.
“I saw two children who are distressed… I’m sorry I wasn’t there to help you sort this out before you both became angry and began striking… and then I became concerned that someone could be harmed, so I began shouting as well…
Please accept my sincere apologies…. Let’s all give it another shot…. I understand you don’t want to hit each other since it hurts… And I’ve heard you’re angry…. Let’s start anew so you can communicate what you need to each other without assaulting one other.”
There is no guilt or shame here, which makes it simpler for everyone involved to evaluate and accept how they may have contributed to the situation.
Setbacks Will Happen
Because you’re human, you’re not flawless. Compassion for yourself, just as you do for your kid, is the key to making this adjustment. Expect some days to be really difficult. You should expect to make mistakes.
Parenting is difficult, and this type of parenting is much more difficult to begin with. It does become easier, though, because you’re learning new techniques that function better and retraining your brain.
Even though it’s difficult, you’ll notice a change because you’re mending your children’s past wounds—and your own. Simply said, there’s less drama and more love these days.
Obstacles You Might Face When Transitioning To Positive Parenting
Breaking Habits Is Hard
Switching to positive parenting will not happen overnight if you have battled with anger management or utilized alternative parenting approaches.
It will take time and patience, just like any other significant adjustment in your life. Allow yourself to make mistakes and not be too harsh on yourself if you don’t anticipate perfection.
Here are some pointers to make the changeover phase go more smoothly:
- Always keep in mind the ultimate result you want to achieve: a more tranquil household, a better relationship with your children, and a calm and pleasant parenting adventure. This will inspire you to keep going even if you encounter difficulties along the road.
- One at a time, work on forming new behaviors. It’s best not to try to alter everything all at once since it’ll be too overwhelming. Begin by focusing on your own emotions, then go on to the aspects of parenting your children that you wish to improve one by one.
- Give yourself plenty of time to make this change. You’ll have to learn new methods to deal with unpleasant situations, and your children will need time to adjust.
Set Backs Will Happen
There are two possible causes for this.
To begin with, as you begin to exhibit greater emotional availability to your children, they will feel more comfortable sharing their feelings with you.
As a result, all of their suppressed feelings from their emotional baggage may erupt, prompting them to “act out” even more. This is how your children are expressing sentiments they previously suppressed when they felt alone or misunderstood.
When your child misbehaves, you may help them heal previous wounded feelings and “empty” their emotional load by remaining calm and sympathetic.
You will notice a good change in your children’s behavior when they have accomplished this, and your connection will become much closer and stronger.
The second reason your children may misbehave more at the beginning of this shift is that they must adjust to a new style of connecting with you.
If you’re a regular yeller with your kids, it may appear that they won’t listen to you until you shout. If you used to spank your children every time they did anything wrong, it may appear that they don’t take you seriously unless you threaten to spank them.
This is simply because they are accustomed to interacting with you in this manner.
It takes some time to break these behaviors, but if you can stay consistent with your new approach, you’ll see results sooner than you think!
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