“Mystical service means modeling calm in chaos, kindness amid anger, forgiveness at all times, personal integrity — to live, in other words, mindful that every second offers a choice either to channel Grace or to withhold it.” ~ Caroline Myss, Entering the Castle: Finding the Inner Path to God and Your Soul’s Purpose
Every single day, I have to decide to maintain a calm equanimity in all situations and to choose the path of love rather than anger. We all have those days when you just need 5 minutes alone to regain your sanity. The greatest lessons in my motherhood journey have come when I do not have that opportunity… when I face one challenge after another. Here’s one way to find your way to peace.
- Any flavor of bad behavior (talking back, hitting, not following instructions)
- 5 minutes of crankiness, sliced
- Time IN (as opposed to time out)
- Compassion, peeled and cubed
- 2 cups Empathy
- Commitment to regulate your own emotions
- Connection time and love (as needed to taste)
- Set amount of time for fun outing and reminders as needed
- Zest of Belligerent Defiance
- 1 Tbsp. Sense of Humor
- Large Perspective
- 2 lbs. Bad Behavior
- Begin with a large plate of Commitment to regulate your emotions. This is the most important ingredient! This means that anytime you’re feeling upset, you take a deep breath and remember to stay calm. You do not take any action until you are coming from a peaceful place.
- Connection should be the basis of your relationship. All results will stem from your connection with your child. Pour in as much love as your container will hold, cover, and simmer on low until done. Repeat as needed.
- In a regular
bowlday, stir in 5 minutes of crankiness (from your child, not YOU). This is your red flag that a need is not being met. Is your child hungry, tired, not being heard, frustrated?
- Add a dash of Time In. (Time Outs put kids on the defensive, reducing the opportunity you have to help them learn from their feelings or their mistake. They also create power struggles for a plethora of reasons.) Help your child express her feelings and resolve a situation.
- Add Set amount of time for outing (most recipes work best with a physical activity like going to the park). Before adding, make sure child knows there is a time limit.
- Toss in Reminders as time approaches end.
- Top with zest of Belligerant Defiance liberally.
- In a separate bowl, mix together a sprinkle of Sense of Humor and 1 c. Empathy. (Stay compassionate and accepting — “I can see that you would like to stay and play at the park longer and I understand that running and jumping is really fun for you. When you’re all grown up, I bet you’ll go to the park every day and stay as long as you like. Today though, we have to get home. Would you like to skip or jump to the car with me?”) Once feelings are acknowledged, people are much more willing to cooperate.
- Meanwhile, gradually pour in Bad Behavior.
- Go beyond the behavior to heal the cause. Just pour your love into your child. Stay present. Breathe. Accept who she’s being at this moment–all the tears and rage and rebellion. Soften yourself, and she’ll soften, too.
- Remember that it’s ok to mess up and get angry, but there’s rarely an emergency in parenting. Simply breathe, begin with Steps 1 and 2, and apologize to your child.
- Repeat steps 3-9 throughout the day.
- Allow Perspective to melt into mixture. Remind yourself that your child’s behavior does not reflect you as a parent; only your reaction to his behavior is a reflection on you. Every moment you have a new choice of how to react. Breathe.
- Remember that parenting can be joyful! Looking for win/win solutions, staying calm, helping kids with their feelings, and staying connected goes a long way toward ending most conflicts.
- Let simmer all day. Serve with your own special twist.
Try this recipe with marriage too! This may be one of the hardest lessons to learn, but learning to shift from reacting with fear to acting from a place of love has made such a difference for me.
Yield: One happier, more peaceful parent/role model and happy (desired number of) children.
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