Posts tagged Not Listening

Does Your Child Push Your Buttons?

buddhastatue

Chances are, your child is an expert at pushing your buttons. Here’s how to short circuit the button, so that you can stay in that loving Zen place and stay connected, instead of pushing the disconnection even further along.

If you’ve been reading my blog at all, you know that connection is big for me. Parents tell me ALL the time that what they want most is to know that their child can share things with them, and will come to them when they need support – they want to stay connected, and they want to be trusted. Is this you, too?

When our children get good at pushing buttons, it drives DISconnection and weakens trust. Here’s what to do…

First, remember what I said in my last blog post (read it here): Your child is doing exactly what he needs to be doing to learn what he needs to learn in order to become the person he’s meant to become. Read that again! It’s a BIG concept. Your child MUST push your buttons. He’s learning SOMETHING from the process. So, you may as well use the same process to learn something awesome, too.

And here’s the awesome thing that you can learn from it. (And, happily, a beautiful thing for your child to learn, too.) Your child does not control you. You get to decide how you will react when your child pushes your buttons.

Sorry if that sounds patronizing. You’re a smart person, and of course you know that you have control over your own emotions, but if you’re reading this, chances are you’re having a tough time accessing, or acting on, that knowing in the moment.

First, I’m going to increase your motivation to learn this. Your child needs to know that he or she does not control you. Being in control of a parent’s emotions is a BIG responsibility for a little child. Your child needs to know that YOU are in control, that he or she can trust you to handle stuff. When your little person pushes your buttons and sees you react, that is scary stuff for her. She needs to know that she does not have the power to throw her whole world out of kilter. If your child is older, or a teenager, your peace, your ability to stay calm, gives him or her a safe place to land.

So here’s the magic move. It’s incredibly simple, and it’s much more powerful than you may know.

When the button is being pushed, breathe UNTIL your brain turns off and your heart is speaking clearly. Breathe UNTIL your love for your child bubbles up and overtakes whatever ego-driven, power-focused thing you were about to say or do to your little person. Breathe UNTIL either the moment passes completely, and you can’t remember that the button was pushed, or UNTIL you know exactly what loving thing you can do instead of reacting from fear or anger. Keep breathing.

Breathe into the crunched-up, angry part of yourself that can’t seem to let go of the crunched-up, angry thought that you are holding (see my last blog post to understand where that thought came from ). Breathe into the tips of your toes and the bottom of your belly. Feel and follow your breath into the spaces between your ribs. Breathe with ALL of your attention. Breathe with ALL of your power. Breathe with ALL of your heart. And when your attention shifts back to those crunched-up angry thoughts, breathe louder and deeper.

If your attention is 100% on your breath, your mind will shut off, and the crunched-up angry thoughts will float away.

What will your child do while you are doing all this breathing?

First, he or she may just stop doing whatever he or she was doing that was pushing your buttons, because broken buttons are no fun to push. Second, he or she may try harder to push your buttons, because broken buttons can also be frustrating. That’s okay, chances are you can out-breathe your button pusher. If you can’t, that’s okay, too, because you can always start again. Third, your little button-pusher may get a little worried about you. You are behaving in a way he or she is not used to, and it may be a little disconcerting. Keep breathing. Breathe as if you are eating chocolate, enjoying every single melty bit of it in your mouth, down your throat, in your belly. Breathe joyously. Breathe determinedly. Breathe, breathe, breathe.

Remember that breathing does not mean that you don’t DO anything else. It just means that you don’t do anything IN ANGER. And that is the ultimate key. You may still not know what to do (if this is you, join us for Big Picture Parenting 2015 and learn What to Do Instead of Rewards, Punishment, Praise, and Shame) but there’s a good chance you’ll come up with something much better to do than what you would have done otherwise. And you’ll do it from a place of peace, a place of understanding, and a place of kindness.

Start breathing now. The more you breathe, intentionally, every day, all day, the easier it will be to breathe in the moment. The more your mind is used to existing without thoughts, the easier it will be for your mind to go there when your buttons are being pushed.

Your child will thank you for it.

If you need help short-circuiting your buttons, check out Big Picture Parenting 2015 or call me for a little coaching… 403-607-1463. I’d love to support you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Help Your Child Obey With Joy

Dad with Boys

Obedience with Joy!

This phrase is not to suggest that obedience is the greatest good with our children, but we all know that a lot of cooperation is involved in our daily lives in today’s world.

The basic concept is this: ideal discipline comes BEFORE an issue arises. When children’s developmental and daily needs are met, they are much less likely to “misbehave”, because they are too busy with the work of growing themselves, and too fascinated by that work.

Every child has a powerful drive to learn, explore, and grow, to engage with the society they are a part of. A child whose developmental needs are met accepts guidance more easily because that guidance helps them learn – learn how things work, but more importantly, learn how to be in the world.

Montessori talks about “obedience with joy” – one of my favourite Montessori phrases. The child whose deepest needs are met obeys an adult who helps meet those needs, joyfully, most of the time.

So, here’s what to do:

To halve your frustration, and double your patience, remember that learning is messy! One of the main roles of the adult is to offer many, many Gentle Reminders as children follow their developmental processes. 

To meet your child’s developmental needs, fill your home with meaningful activitiesallow your child to choose his activity, and don’t interrupt your child’s work. Concentration brings peace.

To enjoy your children more, reframe discipline issues in a “how to” way, and then give lessons: “Oops, did you forget how to ask nicely? Let me remind you,” or “Oh! You don’t know that glass figurines can break and need gentle handling yet, do you? Let me show you,” or “You are experimenting with doing something you KNOW I don’t like.  Let me give you some information about what you are doing and how I am feeling.”

These three ideas sound simplistic – but they are ongoing, and involve really knowing yourself and your child.

Refer back to your copy of “The 7 Keys to Mastering Discipline Without Guilt” for much more detail and lots of examples on these three points. (Don’t have one yet? Go to www.parentingwithoutguilt.com to get your gift copy!)

Obedience with joy just not happening at your house? Call me! I’d love to work with you…403-607-1463.

 

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