By Lisa Smith
I’d like to let you in on a secret….
Your child’s behavior has nothing to do with YOU! It is a language they are speaking to you, to themselves, and to the world. They are saying I am trying to get my needs met and I need help!
Ross Greene, Ph.D. says the behavior is a language that says, “I am stuck. I am not meeting expectations and I need help.” I think of the behavior, which sometimes looks like a storm with yelling, screaming, door slamming, arms crossed, eye rolling, fighting, crying, shutting down, as the request for help. Help me sort out the feelings and needs underneath all this storming.
It literally is a cry for help.
So the storming is the symptom and the real problem are the feelings underneath and the unmet needs that drive the storming. Just like a runny nose is a symptom of a cold—you treat the runny nose but you all treat the cold to help control and prevent the runny nose.
When parenting, the focus needs to be on the problem of big feelings and unmet needs, yet so many of us spend our time focusing on the symptoms of storming. As the Peaceful Leaders of our families, it is our job to guide our kids and try to help them storm less or in more acceptable ways. This might surprise some of you but it is also our job to let them feel their feelings. Yep! All of them! Even the ones that are really uncomfortable.
The Peaceful Parenting solution is to find a way for the above two statements to co-exist side by side. Yes, it is possible and here are the steps to get your there:
1. First-realize their storm isn’t about you! Do not take it personally. Taking the storm personally leads to judgement, feeling triggered, and reacting to the storming.
2. Second-Take a deep breath and tell yourself that your child is simply speaking a language. He or she is trying to communicate to you, to themselves, and to the world that they need help. This really helps me stay in a curious, empathetic place.
3. Third-Try to see past the storming and ask yourself and your child, “What is going on? What do you need?” This only works if you do this from a place of love and curiosity, which I know is sometimes hard during the storm. But if you ask from a place of judgement or anger, your child won’t be able to check in with themselves and solve the mystery. You see, our kids don’t often know what they need, thus the storming in the first place.
It is really helpful to look past the behavior and go underneath and try to diagnose the big feelings and unmet needs. If you and your child can get to that place:
Problems can be solved for the long haul
Solutions and systems can be put in place to meet needs
Conversation can open up about the big feelings
Both parties can feel heard and respected
And when this happens parents report feeling deep connection with their kids and peace in the home! Isn’t that what we all want?
The mantra I use and teach to help remember this is: Get curious, not furious!
Write it down, memorize it, chant it, use it. This takes a mindset shift on your part and practice.
Try it and let me know how it goes!
Dear Peaceful Parent,
I have a free gift for you! I put together this holiday guide for the month of December.
The guide is designed to offer tips, ideas and support to help you stay grounded and peaceful during this holiday season.
Snag your free Peaceful Parent Holiday Guide here!
*Previously published on Lisa’s blog and re-printed with permission by the author
Lisa Smith is a mom, certified parent coach and international best selling author of, The Angry Parent: How to Find Peace in Your Parenting Through the Message of Anger. When she is not coaching, you’ll most likely find her at a basketball game rooting on her son or traveling somewhere new. She is obsessed with cross-fit, personal development and romance novels.
Her free Peaceful Parenting mini-course, full of tools, tips and support has been enjoyed by parents all over the world.
Editor: Dana Gornall
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