One of the greatest challenges we have as parents is maintaining a sense of calm in situations such as these:
• You’re in the midst of crazy hour just before dinner and you’ve two under fives racing toward you, each with a tale of woe about the other.
• You’ve a primary-aged boy who refuses to do his homework even though he’s struggling at school.
• You’ve a teenager who rudely mimics your quite reasonable request for help.
All situations that we know in our heart of hearts that should be ignored, or at least handled calmly but also situations that commonly lead to us losing our cool!
So often our best parenting intentions are derailed by our inability to regulate our emotions. We blame our kids for their poor, thoughtless or challenging behaviour but it’s our emotions that let us down, derailing our best intentions. You know your emotions have gotten the better of you when you start to feel pangs of regret for what you’ve said or done. Then the recriminations- the ‘If only’s-begin:
“If only I had taken my daughter seriously. I should have listened not shrugged her off.”
“If only I hadn’t told my son he’d continue to struggle at school because he was lazy like his father.”
“If only I had used a little to humour to laugh off my teenager’s baiting rather than getting involved in an argument of his making.”
The genie is out of the bottle
Once your emotions let you down you can’t take your outbursts back. You need to go into damage control to repair relationships that have been strained, to reassure kids who are disappointed in your response, and to rebuild self-esteem that’s been damaged by your outburst.
Take a Meta-Moment
We need something to help us manage that tiny space between an event that triggers our emotions and our response. The team at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence has termed this space a Meta-Moment and designed a wonderful process to help you manage it effectively.
A Meta-Moment is always there, but it’s not always used. The space needs to be recognised or created, then managed effectively. Managing that space is central to your well-being, as well as your personal and professional growth.
The significance of using Meta-Moments and their impact on parents and children is profound. Our next online course –Parent Well with the Meta-Moment – will teach you everything you need to know to master this wonderful process. Find out more at Parentingideasclub.com.au
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