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Why is it SO Hard to Stay Calm?

 

Why it's so darn hard to stay calm?!

I don't know how many moms I've heard, say in one way or another, "I just need to be more patient."

Friends, that's just not how it works. If beating yourself up for it worked, you would be in a
different place by now. And I feel like there was a poll on @mombrain.therapist on Instagram
recently. And she has like hundreds of 1000s of followers. So you know it's a big pool that she's polling. And it was something about "Do you believe other parents have more patience than you?"

And the overwhelming majority said "Yes, I believe that." So that also can't be true.

But we don't honestly talk to each other about just how much we blow up at our kids or lose it or snap or have mom rage or just really struggle with staying calm. Because it feels icky. It feels yucky. We feel embarrassed and shameful about it. And why would we be the first to admit that and be vulnerable about that?

But you are here, because it bothers you. And you are ready and willing to take on more perspective and want to take action to make a change. And your kids are lucky to have you and that mindset.

The bad news is there is no magic button to becoming more patient. Sorry.

The good news is once you gain awareness of your triggers, you're much more able to override them in the moment, install new coping strategies and show up as the parent you want to be.

So a few disclaimers right off the bat:


#1 - You are human.

You cannot and will not ever be able to have Zen-Like reflexes 100% of the time.  Not even I do. Not even the most well-renowned philosophers, psychologists of our day, I promise you. The goal is progress over perfection.

Give yourself credit for the progress you see. Because whatever you pay attention to is what grows.

#2 - Awareness leads to acceptance, which leads to action.

Name it, and claim it, to overcome it. So when you become more aware, and pay close attention to your thoughts, your words and your actions, even if they make you cringe, then you will be able to accept your reality come to terms with what needs to change and then take action. You have that awareness that reveals the answers that you're looking for.

 

#3 - Confidence expands your capacity.

When you feel prepared for whatever comes your way....More strategies, more discipline, insight, more playful examples, more ways to work with momentum and cultivate cooperation, you understand more of what's developmentally appropriate what's going on in their head...you're able to trust the process, you're so much more able to no longer interpret -conflicts, and problems and defiance even - as an emergency.

When you take control over what you can control, you're much more able to have the energy and the where-with-all to do the things.

So in Wholeheartedly CALM, we take a very step-by-step approach to big picture, long term,
what's going on with discipline, let's rethink that. Let's align with some new ways to approach the things that we're saying with really tangible scripts. Let's try this, let's try this, let's try this, while at the same time, walking through exercises that really individualize this work so that you can take ownership over your own composure and your own thoughts and your own stories that you tell yourself, and empower you with the ability to change those and do differently.

And that work completely transforms your relationship with your child.  You have the ability to do that. That is on your side of the equation.

So I want you to know that it's possible, and that it's worth it. But it is hard. And it does take an investment in your time and investment in your resources, your money, your energy, your thoughts, to do this work. It is not something that you can bypass, that you can dismiss, that you can put off, or that you can fit into the crevices and crumbs of your day.

If this matters to you to be something that you want to change, it has to be a priority, you just have to make time for it. And anything worth doing is worth making a sacrifice for.

 

So let's go over some of the initial awareness steps of what those triggers could be
for you:

 

Now, think about the last time that you lost it... that you snapped that you totally
escalated.

So often we're swinging a pendulum from really, really nice and kind and asking
a million times and then all of a sudden, we snap. And we're over here threatening to throw all the toys away. There's no happy medium.

The problem with that is we shouldn't be on that super, super, super nice, gentle side in the first place. Because that's what creates the precedent of the dynamic that you set that you really reinforce that you have to yell or that you have to ask a million times.

And really where you need to be is kind and firm at the same time in the same sentence.

Again, if this was never modeled for you, or you've never done this before, you need to be taught this- which is what I do.

Think about the last time that you lost it.

What were you feeling? What was going on? What else could have been contributing?
What were you thinking? What was the story you were telling yourself? And how can you
reframe that now with what you know in hindsight?

Here are some of the possible things that could have been going on:

What could have been happening?

Is your child having a display of anger, not listening... Sibling rivalry- where your mama bear comes out against your other child... yelling, a tantrum, whining, them hurting themselves, them hurting you, hurting a sibling or playmate, property damage, toilet accident or them not sleeping...

Check any of the above boxes, if any of those incidents cause issues for you.

How were you feeling in that moment?

You could have been exhausted, overstimulated, protective, threatened, unappreciated,
disrespected, embarrassed or desperate. Any of those ring a bell?

The other things that could have been contributing in that moment, could be...

Feeling like a broken record, external stress, (like finances, marriage issue) something else going on behind the scenes, having really high expectations, being under a time crunch, having no break, not knowing what to do, being in public, having really bad instincts as your go to M.O., being with extended family, (that's a big one common), being in the flow of work or another task and being interrupted...Is there a mess around you or a chaotic environment overall?

What were some of the things that you were thinking in that moment?

What was the story, you started to tell yourself?

They're doing this to me. They must not like me. They know better than this. If I would have done that, my parents would have... They only do this for me, I must be a bad mom. I must fix this right now. They did this on purpose. I'm creating a monster. There's been so many meltdowns lately. They hardly listen to a word I say. You made me late....

Here's the problem:

When you have all of those situational circumstances happening, while also feeling all of those feelings, while also having added external situations, creating more and more dynamics and implications in that moment... And all these thoughts, running through your head telling a story....

They are all pouring gasoline on an already burning fire.

Every thought that escalates, that over exaggerates, that generalizes, that runs with anxiety, is more and more fuel to the flame.

So OF COURSE your brain is going to go offline, and your nervous system is going to panic.

If you think that and feel like you are responding to the thought of your child, going to juvie or dropping out of high school or becoming the president of a gang (If that's such a thing) And if you have all of these really big panicked ideas, like... they are a bad kid, or this is all your fault, or you are a bad mom...

How are you supposed to stay calm?

How are you supposed to rationalize and "logic and reasoning" your way out of that?

You can't. These are your kids. This is a really big deal.

This is something that matters.

And you feel like you're failing at it and you feel like you're screwing up your kids.

So of course, you're going to react in that way.

You're going to fly off the handle...you're going to escalate especially if you don't have a different perspective and insight to rewrite these stories and you have no other alternative or substitute or replacement behavior of what to think what to say what to do in these moments.

You are conditioned by the way that you were responded to as a kid.

How can you possibly override that conditioning?

That really really deep neuron connection in your brain without a really concerted, intentional effort? To figure out another way of responding?

Of course, this is where you're at... where most everyone is at.


That is so normal and expected. It just makes sense.

 

The only way that you have a chance in the world at responding differently ...at having more capacity and composure, and for being kind and firm at the same time is to do the work of peeling back that onion, and taking away all of these external factors that are playing a part in this moment and finding ways to avoid or eliminate these behaviors from even being a thing long term.

 

#1- It's a lot easier to be patient when you have a lot less reasons to respond. 

If you're only responding to one meltdown versus eight, you have a lot more of a chance to be able to be calm during that one tantrum.

Am I right? YES. Behavior change makes a big difference.


#2 - Address all of those feelings that are happening.

The desperation, the feeling threatened, overstimulated, exhausted, embarrassed...

You can't change the way that you feel unless you change those circumstances from creating that narrative and story in that perspective in your head. And there's a lot that's contributing to that. But it can be sorted out.

#3 - Change all the other things that are playing a part.

Like the chaotic environment, or the time crunch or not knowing what to do, it's such a big one. It's so underestimated. But so often, the worst flies off the handle are out of a sheer helplessness feeling.

When you don't know how to get your kids to do what you need them to do.

That is helplessness. That is a loss of control.


That's the one of the most triggering feelings a human can feel.

You cannot just figure out how to "be patient" through that feeling.

You need to eliminate that feeling from being your prevailing feeling.

 

There's so much more I can say about this, which is why I have a whole course and community about it. 

Join us in Wholeheartedly CALM.

11 weeks of Positive Discipline and Patience practices for moms of strong-willed kids striving to parent with WAY MORE patience

Early Bird pricing is offered April 1st-3rd, 2022, then the next round begins May 1st.

Last day to register is Sunday, April 24th to get your workbook mailed in time!

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Tuesday, Sept 27th at 1:00 PM CENTRAL

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