Parentingideas Blog

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Written & curated for parents by the Parentingideas team

The allure of calm

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I recently read Raising Girls by Steve Biddulph. 

Together with journalist Karen Fontaine I’ve been reviewing it to include in the Book Rap section for Parentingideas Club that I’ll be a launching in a few week’s time.

I nodded my way all through the book as Biddulph’s wisdom and perception of what girls (and boys) need is profound.

His thoughts about calm hit me with sledge hammer clarity.

He writes, “Calmness is not a character trait, it’s simply a skill. You have to decide if it matters…………Then you practise it until it gradually becomes part of you. It benefits everyone around you- they feel comfortable in your presence. It’s exactly what children need in a parent. And it benefits you too –with fewer stress hormones, you will live longer and feel better. It’s well worth cultivating.”

If you want calm, less anxious kids you need to who know how to be calm and relieve your own stresses.

Calm parenting is something to practise.

Calmness is physiological. Slow your breathing. Drop your shoulders. Settle your muscles.

Calmness is also psychological.  Focus your thinking on what you are doing. Replace panic thoughts with rational thoughts.  In an emergency, slow down to see what’s needed.

To be really effective as a parent you need to practise cognitive control. Your ability to inhibit a habitual or instinctive response and replace it with another is so important.

If frantic is your default then replace it with calm, particularly when things go wrong. You and your kids will be so glad that you did. You’ll respond better. You’ll feel better. You’ll work better too. And you’ll parent better.


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