Have you ever disappointed someone you love dearly, someone who believed in you? That feeling can be crushing. The closer we feel to another person, the more devastated we are when we do something that they disapprove of. When relationships are damaged, it takes a lot of investment to repair them.
As parents, we need to realize that loving relationships give consequences their power. Consequences are opportunities for our children to learn from mistakes if we remember to keep our relationships intact by putting empathy first. For parents who get pulled into endless arguments, that becomes the focus of their relationships with their kids.
I think we can all agree that arguing with our children is not a good thing. Fighting, arguing, and lecturing causes us to move from the frontal cortex part of our brain where thinking, reasoning and impulse-control happen to the brain stem which is responsible for basic survival and the “fight-or-flight” response. When we or our children are in “fight-or-flight” mode, understanding, reasoning and connection get buried beneath angry words and feelings.
Empathy allows children to learn from their mistakes. Anger short circuits learning. Sarcasm backfires every time, sincere empathy works wonders. It allows the parent to remain the “good guy” and the poor choice to be the “bad guy.” Empathy prevents fight-or-flight & maintains lifelong loving relationships!
One tip that I love to teach parents to avoid arguing and keep the relationship connection comes from Love and Logic Parenting. It is a two-step process:
Focusing on the connection creates a living thread between us and our children, and these threads weave a powerful bond that fills them with a genuine and lasting happiness. When we unconditionally care about our children’s happiness, they feel a powerful connection to us. They feel whole, safe and included in our lives.
Check out my new four-week parenting series “Mission Possible: Raising Resilient, Responsible, Respectful and Fun-To-Be-With Kids” to support you in creating stronger connection as you parent your children. coachmyrna-webinars
The world that parents are raising children in today has changed tremendously over the past twenty-to-thirty years. People are living longer which means that grandparents can be more a part of their grandchildren’s lives.
We see a large increase of three and four generation families. Yet, we are a global community and often live far from our extended family. Most often, both parents work outside of the home. There are many children being raised by single parents and by grandparents.
Technology has changed our world forever. Children and youth today do not know a world without cellphones and tablets. Communication is instantaneous and we can connect with those halfway around the globe.
Among all those advances and changes, the fact is that family is important and is the most basic social unit. It has been said that family is the only institution created by God. I believe that regardless of all the technological and societal advances, parents will always be the most important source of information and values for their growing children.
I would like to ask you to think for a moment about your goals in raising your children. For many parents, one of their goals is to teach them to obey. However, I would propose that having this at the most important goal is an inferior one because it creates a family culture based on rules and compliance instead of relationship, choice, freedom and love.
Parenting is an inside job. We guide our children through our relationship with them. Through our connection with our children, we build trust, respect and love. This allows them to make choices, learn from their mistakes and develop their own moral compass. As parents, when we remain calm and ask guiding questions to help our child sort out problems and emotions, our relationship is strengthened and the poor choice remains “the bad guy.”
Brene Brown said, “Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and values; when they can give and receive judgment.” As we parent our children, we are creating the inner workings of our future adult children. Connection is key. Relationship is the heart of the matter!
Check out my new four-week parenting series “Mission Possible: Raising Resilient, Responsibility, Respectful and Fun-To-Be-With Kids” to support you in creating connection as you parent your children. coachmyrna-webinars
Reprinted from a Face Book post by Leah Carroll
To the mom of three at Chick-Fil-A: I sensed your panic when your five year old son pointed at my son in his wheelchair and shouted "Mom look at THAT boy!" You leaned forward and quietly told him and his three year old brother that we don't say things like that and they shouldn't point or stare.
But as in most cases, these suggestions are futile with young, curious minds and they continued to stare and loudly ask questions about my son's differences. When you realized your whispers weren't working I saw the panic disappear and you took a deep breath and took a step of courage.
You brought your boys over to Malachi and said "I bet he would like to know your names!". As they said their names my little Malachi started grinning from ear to ear and jabbering back to them. The joy on his face brought tears to my eyes- he loves kids his age but so many are fearful to come and speak to him. Your boys continued to ask questions about his foot braces, his wheelchair, why his legs don't work, why he holds his mouth open like that.
You took the time to educate your sons in that moment and help them understand that different is okay. Different is not something to fear. And that it was okay to ask questions!
Thank you for giving my son a chance to meet your kids. Thank you for being the type of mom who educates your children instead of frantically trying to silence them. Special needs moms have to develop tough skin- we get used to stares, comments, and whispers.
Please know it takes a lot to offend us, particularly when the comments are coming from young children. Give your kids the same grace we give them and use the opportunity to teach them about differences.
So Chick-Fil-A mom, thank you for raising your children to embrace children like Malachi. And thank you for giving my son something to smile about.
UPDATE: After this post went viral the Chick-Fil-a Mom reached out and Malachi reconnected with his new friends. We still meet up for play dates and she and I have become very close friends. Chick-Fil-a did a follow up video of our reunion that can be found here: youtu.be/_FqXgxnfzd4
"Meltdowns are terrible, nasty things, but they're a fact of childhood," says Ray Levy, PhD, a Dallas-based clinical psychologist and co-author of Try and Make Me! Simple Strategies That Turn Off the Tantrums and Create Cooperation. "Young kids—namely those between the ages of 1 and 4—haven't developed good coping skills yet. They tend to just lose it instead."
What is it that sets off a tantrum? Basically, every single tantrum results from one simple fact: the child isn’t getting what he or she wants. For children between 1 and 2, tantrums often stem from trying to communicate a need—more milk, a diaper change, that toy over there—but not having the language skills to do it. For older toddlers, tantrums are more of a power struggle. "By the time kids are 3 or 4, they have grown more autonomous. They're keenly aware of their needs and desires—and want to assert them more. If you don't comply? Tantrum city” says Levy.
When your kid's in the middle of a tantrum, it can be tough to keep yourself from having your own meltdown as well. Author, psychologist and trusted guest expert Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore says that a parent’s response to tantrums has a big impact on whether they continue or not. “If you pay attention to tantrums, they are going to happen more often. If you get angry in response to tantrums, they are going to escalate.”
So, as a parent, what can you do?
One of the biggest challenges as parents is managing our own emotions when our children do unexpected, even "awful" things. Looking back, I realize that it was often in these very moments that I learned to be present to my children without trying to fix, manage or organize anything. My mantra became "This too shall pass." and "I am enough."
Children need to figure out themselves in relationship to the world and we are their guides, their support and their teachers. The most important thing is that we find ways to take good care of ourselves, learn how to stay as calm as possible, forgive ourselves when we get upset or lose it and reach out to others (spouse, friends, family, a coach) to get the support we need.
Check out my new four-week parenting series “Mission Possible: Raising Resilient, Responsibility, Respectful and Fun-To-Be-With Kids” to support you as you parent your children. Webinars