Here’s a new way to think about your child’s button-pushing behaviors that will help you respond with calm confidence rather than react in all the ways you don’t want to.
Imagine you’ve been looking through the same parenting glasses for as long as you remember. They color the way you see, interpret and react to your child’s behavior. I invite you to take those glasses off for a few minutes and try on this other pair I'm handing you today. With these new glasses, you can see Behavior As Communication.
Take a minute to focus your eyes.
Can you imagine an iceberg? The little bit above the water is your child’s behavior. Most of the iceberg is below the surface, holding stress, anxiety, or overwhelm. These big feelings, below the surface, can be really scary for kids (and grown ups too.) They are driving the behavior which is the “language” your child uses to express those big feelings.
When behavior pushes your buttons, how do you react?
Our impulse can be to try to control behavior. Instead, practice translating what their behavior is telling you. Then connect with your child emotionally below the surface to help them feel safe with their feelings. Making room for your child’s feelings is not at all the same thing as giving them permission for bad behavior. It’s apples and oranges.
Here's a Quick Tip for a Quick Win with your parenting...
>>Tough behavior? Change your parenting glasses and connect below the surface!<<
First ask yourself, What stress might my child be experiencing right now?
The #1 place to look is transitions: (after school, getting ready for bed, getting up in the morning, ending play time, etc.) All transitions are stressful to some degree but even more so, if your kid is stress sensitive.
As you look through your new glasses, take a minute to pause…
take a couple deep breaths focusing on the exhale...
Then ask a different question. How can I connect with my child right now?
When you use self-regulation skills to calm your stress first, your field of vision widens. You’re able to better see what’s happening with your child and “hear” their feelings. Then you can better help them with what they need.
The more they feel heard, the more they learn to use their words.
(Click the image below for more about your best parenting tool.)