5 steps to becoming a peaceful parent with happy kids
Clinical psychologist and author Laura Markham Ph.D. shares her 5 steps to more peaceful parenting! Find out more here!
Take a second to think about last week. Through all of the ups and downs at the office, or in keeping up with the housework...how was your family life? More specifically, did you share a moment with your kids that made your heart melt?
If not, you may need to make some drastic changes in your style of parenting. Why? Because as Laura Markham Ph.D. claims, "You need that kind of moment every day, to be a peaceful parent."
Markham, author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, believes that parenting may be difficult but it's those special moments of love that make it easier, and keep us going! But it's not all about parents. Kids need those special moments just as much as parents.
"Our kids need those moments too, to trust us," she claims. "That's when our love really sinks into their souls. When kids are convinced they're lovable, they're more likely to act lovable. When they're not, they 'act out'—which means they have feelings they don't know how to express, so they act those feelings out."
Clearly that special moment is something that each and every parent (and their kid) needs to have on a constant basis. But is such a feat more easily said than achieved?
Check out Dr. Markham's 5 steps for becoming a more peaceful parent with happier children:
1. Imagine yourself connecting to your child, feeling deep love, right now
You know the old adage, "see it and make it so"? Well, if you want to craft a future where you and your kids are leading happier more loving lives, you have to be able to imagine it.
Take as little as 60 seconds to envision this connection or heartfelt moment. Now bask in it! "Let that heart-melting, connected feeling soak in. You're programming your subconscious, so you can create more of these moments in your life," says Dr. Markham.
2. As you go through your day today, notice each time you start to get irritated at your child
Each and every time through the day that you start to feel irritation, or frustration in regards to raising your kids, think about that warm, fuzzy feeling from step 1. Now that you've ruminated over that loving connection and feeling, you can correct and reprimand your child.
It's difficult to take a step back, and think about things before acting sometimes. In fact, you'll need to practice often. However, as Markham suggest, "It gets easier. It helps if you can see things from your child's perspective instead of getting stuck in yours. There's always more than one way to interpret a situation. "
3. Don't try to guide your child when you're angry
If your child is acting, Markham highly suggests taking the time to say the following to your offspring: "I need to calm down before I speak with you."
Then, as she claims, parents should "go calm down and re-center yourself in your loving vision. If your guidance to your child comes from anger or fear, it will backfire. If it comes from your loving connection with your child, you'll be creating less drama and more love. Every interaction either strengthens or erodes your relationship."
Cooler heads prevail, moms and dads!
4. Take at least one action TODAY to make that loving image happen
Actions speak louder than words...and your imagination. You may need to be able to envision a brighter future, and loving connection with your kids, but you'll also need to get your foot in the door. That's why Markham suggests that parents should strive to make that loving image and connection a reality at least once a day.
"Even a small action moves you in the right direction," she writes. "Humans connect most quickly through physical touch. Play is also fool-proof. But it doesn't happen without slowing down, letting go of distractions, and bringing yourself completely into the interaction with your child. Snuggle on the couch, give a foot rub, or start some roughhousing that gets everyone laughing. Encourage sibling bonding with a 'kids against parents' pillow fight. (Let the kids win.)"
5. Give yourself a huge hug
That's right. You need to congratulate yourself often if you want this plan to work. Go ahead, parents, give yourself a nice pat on the back!
As Dr. Markham claims, "You're a hero just for getting up each morning determined to be the best parent you can be."
"You don't have to be perfect," she adds. "In fact, accepting and loving yourself might be the best gift you can give your child, because it helps you be more emotionally generous. So hug yourself. Hug your child. And enjoy your magic wand of connection. You're becoming your child's fairy godmother or godfather."
If you're able to repeat this process every day for a week, you'll be well on the road to being a calmer, more peaceful parent with happier kids!
Dr. Laura Markham's original article was first published by Psychology Today
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