Three strategies to keep your cool under pressure
When our children have one of those moments where they feel all the big feelings and lose control over their emotions and behaviour, it’s really difficult for us parents to stay calm and model the behaviour we want them to exhibit as well.
After all, emotions are contagious!
Going back to where we started with your child losing it in the middle of the supermarket, attracting unwanted attention from strangers around you. How do you refrain from taking the short-cut and demanding your child calms down, stops and is quiet?
There are three easy ways which I recommend to parents who struggle to keep their cool in situations like this:
1. Imagine they’re someone else’s child
I don’t mean dismiss them and make them someone else’s problem. Sure, it sounds controversial at first, but have you noticed that you treat other people’s kids much better than your own?
When you find yourself in an emotional situation with someone else’s child, you don’t lose your patience, you don’t get mad at them, you don’t smack them, you don’t send them to their room or threaten them.
You do quite the opposite – you get down on their level, you connect with them. You hear them and you work things through until you find a solution.
Children respond really well to that! Try this with your own children and watch what happens.
2. Imagine you’ve got an audience
Whenever there is an audience, we tend to parent much better.
Next time you are under a lot of pressure, imagine I am standing in the corner of your living room, watching!
You will be much more patient and gentle with your children.
3. Have compassion
This one may seem obvious, but we do have to be reminded of it sometimes. Show compassion!
That means soften your eyes and see your child as a struggling little one who doesn’t know how to find their words and regulate their emotions, manage their behaviours or view things from another person’s perspective.
Children who are experiencing big emotions are like a train going through a tunnel.
All too often we are getting out the earth moving equipment and the dynamite in an attempt to reach into the tunnel and extract the train.
Our job is not to fix things. It’s to ride the train with them until it comes out the other side of the tunnel.