Keeping Your Cool When Things Get Hot! - iBlankie - Parental Tips to Raising Happy Kids - Parents Instruction Manual

Your Inner Parent:
Keeping Your Cool When Things Get Hot!

"There is such punishment in the culture for angry women."
-Gloria Steinem, feminist activist

Frustrated Mom Everyone gets angry at times. Parents raising young children experience challenging and frustrating times every day that can lead to anger. Feeling angry at your child can be uncomfortable and may occur more often than you want. When you learn to control your inner thought process you can center and self-soothe and feel better about your child and yourself. A calm parent is an important model for a young child who is trying to gain impulse control over their own emotions and actions.

Most children have a unique talent of knowing what buttons to push on their parents and when is the worst possible time to push them. Try the following technique to deal more effectively with a high-adrenaline moment.

3 BREATHS: Breathing and controlling breathing is essential in calming. First focus on taking three deep, slow breaths, counting each breath as you take it, "breathe" on the inhale, count on the exhale: "breathe-1," "breathe-2," "breathe-3." Try it. Good. Hopefully you feel a little calmer than before your took your three breaths.

EMOTIONAL DISTANCE: Along with breathing, gaining emotional distance from a situation is also essential in calming. You won't be taking three steps back physically, but you will be taking three steps emotionally-mentally picturing yourself pulling back, first 1 step, then 2 steps, then 3 steps, mentally gaining some emotional distance from the situation, withdrawing in a centering and helpful way.

Now take your three breaths again and with each breath imagine yourself taking a step backward. You "breathe-1" while taking a mental step back at the same time, "breathe-2" while taking another mental step back, and then "breathe-3" while taking a third mental step back from the situation.

SELF-TALK: Now, after the breathing and emotional distancing, the self-talk begins.

VACATION TIME: Incorporate a mental picture in your mind as you take your three breaths. Tap into your inner vacation place. In your mind, go to your special place: that oh-so-relaxing tropical island, sun warming your face, waves lapping gently on the sea shore, palm trees bending in the breeze, cold drink in hand. Recapture your vacation calm. Feel your whole body relax as you take a three-second mini-vacation.

Hopefully you are calmer and more centered and can respond to this hot moment in a cool way.

REHEARSALS: This will take practice. Try rehearsing the breathing, emotional distancing technique and vacation visioning several times a day in quiet moments. These rehearsals will help establish self-calming techniques as part of your parenting skills.

And you can be guaranteed that, with a young child, if you don't get this technique right the first time, you will have plenty of opportunities to try this technique again in the not-so-distant future!

©Irene Shere, LLC