Parenting: Let the Raw Feelings Happen

This is a bit of a raw feelings post for me. Every once and awhile I will post about things I am experiencing. I feel that this post is necessary so you see that things happen to all of us.

Our little man has entered into a whole new world this year. He is in full-time school. I know..What is the big deal? Well for 6 years I have been able to check in with him and help him unload feelings through the day. Now he has to do that on his own. This is a great thing for him to have to learn.

Here is where the post becomes raw… Like most 6-year-olds he occasionally has struggled with keeping up with his peers. He also puts a great deal of pressure on himself. The school environment is proving to not be a place that he feels competent in. As a parent, I just want to run into the school and save him!! Don’t worry my helicopter and cape are hidden.

As soon as I pick him up from school, I can tell from the look on his face how much writing and colouring he had to do. So what do I do…I let him play and have fun on the playground. He uses his imagination and a number of his feelings from the day are gone by the time we reach our vehicle to come home.

He usually has a great night. I, on the other hand, fight back tears and try to stay composed until I can unload or take a few minutes for myself. For a few weeks, I struggled and I mean I struggled with, “why the hell is this getting to me”.

This is when you yell ……practice what you preach!!!

I was getting triggered by his emotion. His day was bringing me right back to the little girl that was trying hard to keep up with her peers. The little girl that would have rathered been playing in the park or pushing bricks down a ramp. The little girl that was told by several teachers “if only you would stay focused”, “you would forget your head if it was not attached to your head”, and the best (which was saved for later in my schooling career) “you are too stupid and will never read and write properly”.

So what can we do when we realize that our emotion is affecting how we parent…

1.  Acknowledge that this your issue

2.  Practice self-care

3.  Be mindful and use strategies that help keep you grounded (deep breathing, meditations, and visualizations help me)

4.  Create lots of memories with your child to focus on instead of focusing on the negative ones from your childhood.

It was a big deal when I realized where my feelings and emotions were coming from. I would be lying if I said that now everything is great and I never get brought back to the crappy feelings. It is constant work but worth every ounce of energy it takes. This allows me to be the Mommy I want to be!

Please remember when you find yourself getting emotionally involved or exhausted by a situation with your child it can very easily be linked to how things were for you as a child. When you see and recognize that, it lifts a huge weight off of your shoulders. I recommend that you use all the strategies mentioned above and also find someone that you feel comfortable with that you can talk about your feelings.

A couple of years ago I was blessed with the opportunity to take the Professional Intensive course from Hand In Hand Parenting. One of the strategies that they promote is a “Listening Partner”. This is someone that you have a scheduled time that you meet either in person, online or on the phone. This person listens to what you have to say without judgment or trying to fix the issue. Then after a set amount of time you take on the role of listener. I can honestly say that this has been a wonderful experience for me. My Listening Partner and I do our best to have a phone call weekly or bi-weekly. We have both reported feeling a huge weight lifted after our conversation.

A book that I highly recommend if you find yourself in the same space as I was in is “Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive” by Dr. Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartzell, M.Ed. This book really helped with giving me perspective during the roughest times I have felt as a parent.

As Always Be the Parent You Want to Be!

Parenting Styles: Mindful Parenting

Parenting Styles: Mindful Parenting

Mindful Parenting is a parenting style that is gaining in popularity and understanding. In order to understand this parenting style, I will first talk about what it means to be mindful.

Mindfulness is a practice that has been going on for many years. It has gained momentum and following in Western society in the past few years. Being mindful is the practice of being focused on what is happening right now without dwelling on the past or future. Sound simple? It is not as easy as you think and it takes a great deal of work and practice.

I have been trying to lead a more mindful life in the past 10 months. I will be honest and let you know that I have had some good days and many other days where I have focused on how I have failed at it (not mindful at all). What is helping me now is knowing that right now in this moment I am breathing and I am me. (It has taken me a great deal of time to be okay with just being me!).

So what exactly is Mindful Parenting?

Mindful parenting is when we parent in the moment in a conscious manner. So when you are talking with your child you are focused on the conversation and tuning out the thoughts of everything you should or could be doing. This is also when you are aware of how you want to parent and keep that in your thoughts when your child is being a child.

How do you practice Mindful Parenting?

In my opinion, the main keys to Mindful Parenting are as follows:

1.   Parenting in the moment: Allowing your child to start fresh each day and not dwell on past behaviours. When you parent in the moment you will find that it is important to stick with the boundaries you have set in a respectful and calm manner. There will be many moments throughout your child’s day that will be teachable moments. These are the moments that you are able to teach your child how to act in certain situations and it also gives you an opportunity to learn what your limits are.

2.  Talking about emotions: Children will learn about how to deal with feelings when we teach them by talking about the various emotions they will feel. mindful

3.  Listening: This may seem easy but in reality, it can be really hard. Hearing your child’s opinion without cutting them off in mid-sentence. Practicing reflective listening so your child can hear how you have interpreted what they said. Reflective listening is when you state “I heard you say….”. Then it is important that you acknowledge their feelings by stating something like “I can hear that you are _____ (frustrated, angry, etc)”. This will help your child feel that she is heard and understood.

 

Mindful Parenting is one of the many styles of parenting that are practiced in today’s society. This method may or may not work for you. As with all things to do with parenting, it is important that you parent the way that is most comfortable for you.

3 Magic Little Words

Do you ever feel like there is so much going on that you do not know where to start or that you will never get things accomplished? This can be the start of major overwhelm! And guess what???….

THIS IS A NORMAL FEELING!

Many people go through this and it can be extremely stressful. As parents, this feeling can happen often. This is true for stay at home moms/dads, work from home moms/dads, working moms/dads, foster parents, step parents etc.

It even happens to me!! Yes, you heard that correct. I am normal (at least I believe I am 😛 ).

Now that the cat is out of the bag, what can we do about it??

Perspective is important! Rethink the way you think?? What do I mean….

When I find myself saying “I have to……”. The list becomes so long that no one will be able to accomplish it. Then replace “I have to” with…

“I GET TO”

Yes, that is correct. I will say “I get to prepare lunch”, or “I get to play with the little man”. You get the point. This word change helps immensely. Even at 3 am when our little man needs to be tucked back into bed.

So if you are in the midst of sleep-teaching your child, trying to figure out your child’s behavior, overwhelmed at work, have a to-do list that is getting bigger by the moment please remember to breathe and say “I get to”.

This simple word shift can cause you to have a different perspective about the task at hand. When we are able to look at things in a more positive light the overwhelm reduces and we often feel better able to cope. I hope you are able to have a wonderful day and change your perspective if needed.

All the best!