How To Be A Calm Parent With These Mindset Shifts
How to be a calm parent
If you’re like me then you are tired, and overwhelmed and sometimes your reactions absolutely do not reflect your values. Then you are left feeling guilty and wondering how can I be a calm parent all the time? The problem is parents are usually overworked, with responsibilities piling up and under-rested. So most of the time, it really isn’t your fault that you’ve lost your cool, not to mention that many of us were not taught how to deal with stress effectively, yet now we need to teach our little humans how to do this. But the fact that you are actively trying to work out how to react with calmness, means that you really damn well care. And so I want to say to you this; In striving to be a good parent, don’t forget that that already means you are one.
I read something once which said that our reactions to our children often depend on how we view them. I am especially learning this with my son as he enters his preteen years and his behavior can sometimes be somewhat….questionable.
If we view our children as being “bad” then we are going to react in ways that make them feel bad. Consequently, they will behave badly because that’s the reflection we’ve held back at them. If we view our children as learning and developing in an unpredictable world, then we realize we need to react with consistency and guidance. Consequently, children will feel understood and supported and they will behave positively because we’ve helped them to feel that way.
Similarly, if we view our children as needing to earn respect, we are more likely to tell them what to do while we do differently. If we see our children as worthy of our respect, then we are more likely to speak to them with kindness and model healthy communication skills.
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Mindset Shifts On How To Be A Calm Parent
1. My child’s brain is not as developed as mine
This helps me when I feel like I am losing my patience. I try to pause and take a moment to calm myself. I remember that the brain is not fully developed till mid- late 20’s. Specifically, the prefrontal cortex which regulates our emotions, thoughts and actions is last to develop. This knowledge can help us to reassess our expectations of our children.
2. I am my child’s safe space
We are our children’s secure base. They gradually take steps away from us to explore their environment and they return to us for their need to feel safe and to recharge. Knowing this can help us to see that our children are not trying to irritate us, they need us to share our calm with them. This can be difficult when they get older because they spend more time away from us and become influenced by different people. However, knowing this can help us understand their behavior and be the calm parent they ened.
3. By looking after myself I am also looking after my children
Becoming worn out can creep up on us so slowly and yet so suddenly. I always know when I have not looked after myself enough because I have less patience with my children. This is why it is important to make self care a part of your routine. It is not selfish to look after yourself as a parent, it is the complete opposite. Our children not only benefit from having a happier parent, but they will learn how to look after themselves by watching how we do it.
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4. My children are not giving me a hard time, they are having a hard time
When our children’s behaviour becomes challenging, this isn’t to purposely upset us. They haven’t yet learned the social skills to express their emotions and needs. This is what we are here for! How we handle stress, is how they will learn to handle it. When we respond to their dysregulation with anger or punishment, they will learn to suppress their emotions or have outbursts later on. This is because emotions need to be processed, and children need coregulation to be able to learn how to regulate themselves. Once we have helped our children learn to calm down, we are able to help them to learn healthier ways to communicate and help them to learn problems solving skills.
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5. I don’t have to know all of the answers right now
Being a calm parent is an exhausting role to keep up. It can feel like expectations are forever being placed out of reach. And yet by not reaching them, we are made to feel like a failure for it. This simply is just not true. The reality is that our children don’t need, nor do they want, perfect parents. Our children just want us, they want our presence, they want our listening ear and guiding hand. Our children learn its ok to not be perfect, by seeing us mess up and then trying to make it right, apologizing, and having self-compassion.
6. Children are individuals who have different needs
What works for one child will not necessarily work for another. This can be helpful to remember when we feel like we are doing everything right, yet it isn’t working. If you are comparing two different children then they may have different natures, temperaments, interests, etc. When we have this mindset, we can begin to think out a plan which is better suited to our child. We are then less likely to make them feel bad by comparing them or making ourselves feel like we are doing something wrong because one specific strategy isn’t working.
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Do you have any mindsets which help you be a calmer parent? I’d love to hear them in the comments! or head over to the forum to share your thoughts, get support, or connect with like-minded others. See you soon!