Parenting Stress Cycles [Part 3]Mar 30, 2023
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Today’s episode is part three of a three-part series all about parenting stress cycles. If you haven’t listened to parts one and two, be sure to go back and check them out.
In this episode, I’m teaching you how to reframe the way you view your child’s behavior so that you don’t get as stressed in the first place.
What are you making it mean?
It’s very common in our society to judge kids and their parents based on behavior. But when we do this, looking only at the external, it actually creates more stress for us.
It is a normal human response to take a completely neutral situation and attach greater meaning to it. And we do the same thing with our kids’ behavior.
You might make the behavior mean something about you…
I’m such a bad mom because my kid has bad grades.
I’m such a bad mom because my kid is sad.
Or you make it mean something about your kid…
My kid hit another kid at preschool. If they keep this up, they’re going to end up not having any friends and be a jerk.
My kid loves screens so much they’re going to be addicted. Then, they’ll probably end up addicted to drugs and drop out of school and no longer achieve anything in their life.
These interpretations leave you feeling insecure, doubtful, angry, disappointed or fearful.
When we take a behavior way far into the future and make it mean something negative, it is going to create stress in us. And your brain is quick to jump in and send you all the stress hormones so that you can deal with the threat.
The more often this happens, the more often you have to deal with the stress juice, reset and work on calming yourself. It’s exhausting.
But you can help yourself to not get activated in the first place by learning to reframe your kid’s behavior.
Why kids misbehave
For all humans (not just kids), behavior is a way to communicate our thoughts and feelings.
Your kids misbehave because…
- They are communicating their feelings to you through their actions.
- They are trying to cope with a circumstance they don’t like.
- They are working to change the situation to make it work for them.
- They don’t like to stop having fun because having fun is the best.
Behavior becomes misbehavior when your child acts out their feelings in a way that causes a problem for someone else (this includes you).
I want you to be able to see that behavior differently, reframe it and view it from a different lens. So that rather than being activated by your kid’s behavior you can either remain neutral or even show up in compassion.
You have to understand that your kid’s behavior is not about you.
It is 100% about their own thoughts, their own feelings, and how they are processing those thoughts and feelings and communicating them. It is about what is happening for them in this moment, right now.
It doesn’t mean anything about you as a parent or what their future will look like.
You can look at their behavior as an opportunity to see their thoughts and feelings in action.
First, take a Pause Break. In order to show up the way you want, you need to calm your stress response first.
Then, get curious. This is where we find the neutral situation and can move through curiosity to connection and compassion.
Ask yourself, “Why does this behavior bother me? What am I making it mean?”
Really what you want to know is…
- What does this behavior say about my kid right now?
- What are the thoughts and feelings that are driving this behavior?
As you practice this curiosity, it will help you get out of the stress cycle. And getting to the root of what is driving their actions is where you find connection.
The beautiful thing about this is that you’ll feel more compassion towards other people in your life, too. And you’re modeling it for your kids. They will learn to be compassionate through your example.
- Clues that you’re parenting from stress
- What misbehavior really means
- How to see your behavior from a different perspective
- Why learning to reframe your kid’s behavior can make you more compassionate toward others, too
- Listen to Part 1 of this 3-part series
Part 2: Ending a Stress Cycle
Episode 2: Getting to Calm with the Pause Break
Connect With Darlynn:
- Learn more about Raise Emotionally Healthy Kids
- Book a call with Darlynn
- Sign up for love notes and learn about The Calm Mama Club at www.calmmamacoaching.com
- Follow me on Instagram @darlynnchildress for daily tips
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