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Spring Break Tips for Parents

What does your child say or do that pushes your buttons? When you say “He’s driving me crazy!  or “If you don’t cut it out I’m going to pull over!”  it indicates your buttons are being pushed. They act. You react. When you react you feel anxious, frustrated and fed up! Your reactions include your words, your body language, and your body’s physical/chemical reaction. Once you know what pushes your buttons, you can prepare yourself to RESPOND rather than REACT. Raise your awareness and you have mastered the first step to peaceful parenting.


1. GRAB YOUR VIRTUAL REMOTE:  Own your remote control.  No one can truly push your buttons.  That is a false impression you perceive whether it’s button-pushing from your kid or your in-laws. So step into your power. Own your feelings. Choose your response. Certainly don’t give over control of your emotions to those least able to handle it…your kids!  Breathe. When you feel your body begin to react, choose to act instead. First breathe. Then speak words that you choose, not those that come in reaction to the push of a virtual button.


2.  PUSH THE “PAUSE” BUTTON:  Now that you are holding your own remote and taking full and complete responsibility for your emotional responses, it’s time to press “pause.”  You may think your whining or demanding child needs an immediate response. But it’s okay to tune in and get thoughtful. Take the pause between stimulus and response. This is where you find calm. This is your point of power.  You will have the power to change your old patterns by changing your response.


3.  DO THE WORK TO GET TO KNOW YOU, SO YOU CAN GROW YOU.  Do you have to grow your patience? Do you need to grow your ability to be consistent or  supportive? Being a parent forces you to grow up! The growth you are experiencing as a parent is painful like all growth. It is also an opportunity for you to get to know yourself better and to evolve into the human you are challenged to become. Tune in.  Are you taking great care of yourself, or just focusing on the kids? Are you barking orders to them, and slacking off yourself? Learn where you need to grow and grow into that calm and confident parent that your child craves.


4.  CREATE YOUR OWN THOUGHTFUL WISHING LIST, INSTEAD OF WISHFUL THINKING:  Stop whining. Your kids whine, beg and plead. But do you ever notice that you do it too? You wish things could be different. You wish the kids would just cooperate or treat you with some respect. Wishful thinking is disempowering. It’s giving up. Take my twist on wishful thinking and do some thoughtful wishing!  Identify what you want to experience. What is working well that you would like to see more of? Write that down and start your list. What still drives you crazy when you think about it? How can you re-write that negative experience into a situation you really long to experience? Become thoughtful and aware of what you want.  Write it down.  Engage your reticular activating system, which is at the base of your brain, in manifesting your desires. This happens when you write your thoughtful wishing list.  Let the momentum begin.


5.  GET CLEAR ON WHAT YOU WANT MOST, RATHER THAN WHAT YOU WANT NOW.  This is a tough one.  We are often directed by wanting to fulfill our immediate desires.  So if the dirty clothes on the floor are driving you crazy, you may get reactive and command some respect and spew out directives.  In doing so, you lose sight of what you want most – to be calm and confident, for what you want now…a tidy home!  Your reactivity creates a setback in your goal to become a peaceful parent.  What you want most is probably to raise kids who know they can trust you, and that you won’t fly off the handle if they have to talk to you about something really tough.  In fact, you want to be sure your name is on the list of people they can come to when they are in a tough situation!  And, if you chose what you want now (tidiness) over what you want most (calm), you lose. Most Wins. 


6. THE PRESENT IS PERFECT. ACCEPT WHAT IS. LOVE WHAT IS:  As I mentioned in step 4, you are evolving into the person and parent that you are meant to be. The process of your personal evolution is perfect. What you may perceive as a set-back may be just the lesson you and your kids need to learn from. While you are growing, they are surely observing. While guilt and fear are best friends of parenthood, they simply do not exist in the present moment. When you are here NOW with your kids, and not anticipating what happens next or thinking about what you didn’t do right, you are most likely to be peaceful. Regardless of what happens, accept that it is perfect just as it is. One day you may find out what was perfect in that mess. Accept what is. Love what is. Love yourself for doing this work.  


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