Before I had children, I used to never really think about my own personal triggers before I became angry, upset or scared. I would always have good intentions to look into it and resolve those issues so that I could gain insight and grow as a person. But you know, life gets in the way if we let it. Most of us are also stuck in some form of denial and it’s only after breaking through that, that we can truly grow. Enter children. Now you are the example they follow. You are the mirror, for better or worse. At the beginning how I tried to be a flawless, sparkling perfect mirror with no smudges, especially after I learned my child had special challenges. I’d better rise to that challenge and be perfect no matter what. Instead, I would keep getting triggered, sometimes intentionally by him or others, sometimes unintentionally and losing a lot of time and energy being angry, fearful, depressed. I’d finally had enough when I sought therapy four years ago, and as I’ve said before, it was the best decision of my life.
However, being triggered and having my own behaviors, well working on that is a process even today. I think it is for all us Moms, Dads and even those of us who aren’t parents. We all have emotional baggage that we need to sift through in order to grow stronger and healthier. What I have learned though, is to stand back and be on the detached side if I can say that, while observing myself interacting with Michael. On the days things go well, I see what I am doing right. On the days things go wrong, I have also learned to see a pattern. I have learned to be this “other observer” if you will from practicing meditation for the last five years. Once you learn to stand outside yourself and look in, the results are incredible. Through therapy, I also learned how to laugh at myself when I was in frizzle frazzle mode. This is ESSENTIAL as a parent. If you can’t laugh at mistakes, you can’t learn and move on. But how do you learn to do this? Here are 5 ways:
- Stop and observe: When your child is acting up or tantrum mode, just take a moment to stop and see what is happening-really happening. What is your child trying to communicate? It is amazing what you will you find.
- Listen to what they are saying: If you do this, you will see that what your child needs is a calm neutral force to bring them back to themselves once they’ve worn themselves out with the tantrum or episode. You will also gain a new insight and respect for this little person still learning to control their emotions.
- Listen to your inner body: When you take the time to listen to your breathing, pain in your body or stress, you will know what you need to reign in so that you can focus on your child so that they can calm down.
- Think before you react: This is SO hard. Most parents, (myself included) will tend to react to a child’s temper, whining, or any other type of stress with our own stress if we are not in balance. Being in balance means that we have met our own emotional needs on a regular basis so that we could be there for our child.
- Speak your truth whatever it is: This is harder to do, and is not to be done when your child is having a melt down. This is to be done when you are alone, in therapy or with close family and friends. You share your issues, work through them, and are honest with yourself about where you need to grow.
Exceptional Parents, have you ever had the experience of standing outside of yourself as an “observer” of who you are you and what you are doing? It’s intense, a little surreal, and so incredibly powerful. What you will find is how much of us gets tangled up in our stories when we need to focus on the here and now, and the people in the here and now. So be in the moment with your child and yourself. It is a powerful lesson and one that will help you pull through very intense emotional moments with ease. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.