We just finished co-leading ‘ScreamFree Parenting,’ a class for parents of pre-schoolers, adolescent children and teenagers where we learned how to improve the relationship with our children by focusing on ourselves. Yes — ScreamFree Parenting is about the parents — not the children.
What happens when you don’t keep your cool? Check out this trailer for Disney-Pixar’s new film, ‘Inside Out.’ Releasing in June 2015, the film is an animated story of the powerful ‘emotional’ voices inside ourselves. This clip gives us a funny view behind the dinner table conversation of a teenage daughter and her parents.
Can you see yourself in this story?
The conversation in the video clip is a common one. The dad responds to his daughter’s emotional outburst with his own emotional ‘show of force.’ He believes he’s averted a crisis of authority while his wife knows he has created a new stress between parent and daughter.
Have you experienced a similar challenge? Your child says, ‘I hate you!’ or ‘You’re stupid’ or ‘I’m bored’ or ‘I never get to do anything.’ And you respond emotionally saying, ‘I cannot believe you did this’ or What in the world were you thinking?’ or ‘Look at me when I talk to you.’ You issue an emotion-filled punishment before you really have time to think it through because you want to show her who’s boss. I can remember a few of those ‘discussions’ at our own table.
ScreamFree Parenting teaches parents to look at themselves ‘inside out:’
- The number one leadership role for the parent in the family is that of a calming authority. When your children push your buttons, trying pushing ‘pause’ and avoid an emotional confrontation. You have a choice in how you respond.
- Let the consequences do the talking. Help your children understand that while you establish the rules and consequences, they get to choose their behavior and the resulting consequences.
- Be the healthiest person you can be. Avoid orbiting your life around your children or you’ll have nothing to give them when they really need it. Make a commitment to take better care of yourself. Get to the gym, spend time with your spouse and if you’re single, find a peer group where you can be with other adults. You’re not being selfish; you’re becoming the parent your children really need.
The new year is a great time for resolutions. Commit to take a few small steps to improve your physical, emotional and spiritual health. Don’t try to do ‘parenting’ alone. Find a few friends to walk with you on your parenting journey. You and your children will be better for it.
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