Parenting is full of ups and downs. The ups can pass by all too quickly, without the time to really sit back and enjoy before yet another moment comes along to throw you back into a downward spin. Daily, hourly, sometimes even in the same minute. Throw in sleep depravation, lack of ‘me-time’, adjusting to this new all-consuming role of motherhood and you can sometimes be navigating almost daily roller coasters.
Faced with moments like these, it’s important to remind yourself that whatever the circumstances, you always have a choice. You can either multiply the stress and negativity by focussing on everything that’s going wrong or you can realize that despite the chaos that surrounds you, whatever the conflict may be that you’re facing, how you react is still your choice. You have the power to change the outcome of any situation, simply by changing your attitude.
Even if you’ve already blown a fuse, you can still turn things around at any point. No child needs a ‘perfect’ parent, they just need a parent who’ll make a promise to show up for them. Someone who can sit with them when times are at their toughest. And perhaps most importantly, a parent who will teach by example and show them that even though they make mistakes, even though they may do things that are undesirable, that they are all still loveable and LOVED. That whatever has happened, anyone can turn things around and start over.
Six Steps To Reset During Conflict
- Take a deep breath and a moment to pause.
- Give yourself some space. Even if you need to walk out of the room or get outside for a minute, get some distance to gain some perspective.
- Remind yourself that your children are acting like children because they ARE children.
- Shake it out. Give yourself a physical shake to get rid of all that negative energy inside.
- Return inside and try to approach the situation in a calm, empathetic manner. If your child was having their fifteenth meltdown of the day, perhaps you can try to understand how important that particular orange cup was to them or consider where the outburst is coming from – are they tired, hungry, stressed or over-stimulated? Find the root of the issue and work on resolving that, rather than simply reacting to their symptoms.
- Reinforce your boundaries with empathy, give your child a cuddle and remember that this too shall pass.
Prioritise your relationship with your child over the behavior. Trying to rationalize with an upset child or have them understand where you are coming from with an adult perspective is not going to go down very well when emotions are running high.
Remember that you don’t need to make an equally dramatic scene to match your child if you’re in public. Being ‘seen’ to be doing something only validates the opinions of others around you, who quite frankly, don’t really matter. I often remind myself that I have nothing to prove to anyone and no-one’s expectations to live up to except for my own.
Once everyone has calmed down, take some time to reflect back and consider the reasons why things went so out of control. Perhaps they’re out of a routine or facing some major changes. Maybe it’s just that they were hungry or overtired. Have a look at the situation from their eyes…the answers you find in your heart can often surprise you when you’re looking back with empathy.
Facing a challenge head on and being able to reset yourself back into positive frame of mind not only teaches your child about resilience and models great conflict resolution, it also gives you the tools to grow as a happy, confident and connected parent.