Being a calm parent (the delicious challenge)
The ‘Delicious Challenge’
Being a calm parent can seem like a mystical unicorn that poops rainbows and cupcakes when your child is having a totally illogical meltdown about water being wet, hurting their sibling for no reason or insisting ‘ME DO IT!’ to something they absolutely are not able to do (yet).
And here lies the unpredictable nature of being a parent.
Our little people’s totally illogical requests can be SO challenging for our logical, adult brains.
It’s no wonder so many of us crave tools, parenting books or programs to help us deal with these behaviours…
BEING A CALM PARENT: FIRST STEPS
Most of the time, the challenging, unenjoyable and frustrating moments of being a parent boils down to two things:
Kids NOT doing things you WANT them to do
Kids DOING things you DON’T want them to do
At Playful Families, we call these times ‘delicious challenges’.
It is in these deliciously challenging times that we have an incredible opportunity.
We can let these times bring out the WORST in us, or we use these times as an opportunity to become our best.
We can use power-based tools and shame, blame, lecture, minimise, dismiss….OR we can empower our kids to make sense of what’s happening.
We believe that it is in these times that the real ‘practise of parenting’ exists.
From Instinct to Intention
For many of us, when our kiddos behave in deliciously challenging ways, our instinct may be to take their behaviour personally. They’re doing something TO us.
We think they’re broken.
We may question ourselves ‘what am I doing wrong?’ or look at them like a problem that needs fixing.
If we think our children are being manipulative, our instinct may be to back away.
If we think our children are being overly sensitive, we may tell them to ‘calm down’ or ‘stop being silly’.
If we think our children are being too aggressive, we may punish them.
Most of us have instincts to fight each deliciously challenge stage our kiddos go through.
(And just quietly? That is TOTALLY understandable).
But if we can hold onto BIG developmental picture and understand developmental reasons for our kiddos actions, it can feel less personal and we can focus instead on creating optimal conditions for our kiddos to grow.
‘Leaning in’ to delicious challenges
At Playful Families®, we lean into these delicious challenges.
It’s so hard to do this if we are not aware of what’s driving behaviour and how our own emotions are clouding it!
The hardest thing to wrap our head around is that majority of our children’s challenging moments are totally developmentally normal childhood behaviour.
The only problem? As kids, WE were never been shown what was normal.
We were made to feel we were ‘naughty’ or ‘bad’.
When we were children, we may have internalised that our worthiness and our behaviour were the same.
Bad behaviour = bad child.
Good behaviour = good child.
First we have to rewrite that ‘program’ and ONLY THEN it starts coming naturally because you learn to understand YOURSELF better.
I’m Amy Cox, Aussie mum of 4, teacher, play therapist postgrad and imperfect human here to shift the idea of what it means to be a parent in the 21st century!