The four key elements to creating the parenting experience, and/or the life you want are:
- Trust yourself
- A willingness to take a leap of faith.
- Be willing to shift and change your plan as the need presents itself.
- An ability to think outside the box; step away from the “norm,” and/or your comfort zone.
Trusting yourself means that you believe that your decision to make a change is the right one. It means that you know, no matter what ups and downs present themselves within this decision, you are certain you can handle them. How can you know this? It’s simple really. You pull from your past experiences and your skill set.
Life has not always gone your way, or the way you have anticipated, right? You are still here and standing. This means that you already possess the ability to face and conquer adversity when the need arises.
You need to trust that you know yourself and your children best. You also need to remember that any and all choices in life made with good intentions, are choices we can be proud of. If the outcome of your choice is not what you intended, you can and will re-adjust. You will NOT scar yourself or your children for life. On the contrary you will teach yourself and your children about resilience and the ability to bounce back from a less than favorable result without beating yourself up. You will model for them that it is more than okay to make mistakes. They will learn that there are really no mistakes in life, just lessons. If we view life’s not so great moments as opportunities to learn and grow, that is what occurs. When viewed as a mistake, that energy will pull us down and hold us back.
No decision or outcome of that decision will be life ending— so you might as well go for it! Trust that you will be able to handle whatever the outcome is. You can do this!
The second key element to creating the parenting experience, and/or life you want is to take a leap of faith. To take a leap of faith means to know what you want and go for it, being unsure of the outcome. In order to take a leap of faith you must build on your trust of yourself.
Taking a leap of faith involves doing what your heart is drawing you towards, even if you are not sure of all the steps and the ultimate outcome. You trust that you will figure it out as you go. You are confident that no matter what you are faced with, you will handle it.
Others may not believe in us. That does not matter, what matters is our faith in ourselves. If you believe that you are a great parent, you are. If you believe you know what is best for your child, you do. On the flipside, if you are not sure, and you are doubting yourself, that is okay. We all do. It is during those moments of self-doubt, in parenting, as with all situations in life, that one must take that leap of faith. Follow your instincts and your heart. Neither can guide your wrong. Parenting with good intentions, as stated earlier, is always best. Make a choice and have faith that it will work. Have faith that if it doesn’t work as you were intending you will adjust.
It bears repeating that no choice made with good intentions will “damage” your child for life. Children are resilient. This helps with a parents’ margin for error. Our children are more forgiving of our flaws than we often are. Go ahead, trust yourself and take that leap of faith. Your child will thank you for it!
The third key element to creating the parenting experience and/or the life you want is possessing a
willingness to shift and change your plan as the need presents itself. We have all heard the saying, that “It is best to have a plan,” but also to plan “…for your plan to fail.” My perspective on this is different. It is a good thing to have a plan because then you don’t feel scattered and pulled in multiple directions at once. However, you must be willing not for your plan to fail, but rather to shift your plan as the need presents itself. You must allow yourself not to stress when things don’t go the way you intended. You will benefit from a more “go with the flow” attitude and approach.
For example, you are on your way to meet your friend and her child for a play date. Somehow the no spill cup that holds your child’s juice opens. The juice is now all over your child, and your car. You realize that this is not a small mess, and is going to require cleaning the car and, more importantly, changing your child’s clothes. You are shocked to discover that you don’t have a change of clothes for your child in the bag of “goodies” you carry with you (for times like this). Your options are: Freak out, get mad, laugh it off, cancel your plans completely, or contact your friend and tell them you will be late. Going home to take care of this mess will take you an hour, you decide not to do that. Instead, you contact your friend, tell her what happened (through your laugh), and go to the nearest retail store. There, you buy a new outfit.
In having a willingness to go with the flow and change your plan “on a dime,” you stay calm and therefore, you increase the chances of your child staying calm as well. Your child often feeds off your emotions, and they will react to situations as they see you react. Your child will learn how to handle situations through your modeling, more than what you express verbally. Another example is when you burn dinner, rather than freak out you say, “Oh well, pizza it is.”
The fourth key element to creating the parenting experience and/or the life you want is being able to think outside the box. This will greatly decrease stress for you and your child in many situations. Children don’t possess the skills and abilities to express themselves verbally. They communicate their feelings, wants and needs through their behavior.
Some examples of thinking outside the box are if your child goes to hit you, take their arm or hand and say “You want to dance, okay let’s dance.” At first, they are likely to stay mad, but after a moment or two you will feel their bodies relax and a smile starting to form on their face replacing the tension and anger you felt in their bodies and saw on their faces. My clients have reported much success with this after trying this tactic. They have also reported being very skeptical before they tried it. I have also had great success with this and other tactics for thinking outside the “norm” to defuse stress and frustration.
It should be mentioned that in handling situations this way, you are defusing your own stress, or even preventing being stressed by your child’s stress, while defusing theirs.
Another strategy I have taught my son and my clients is what is referred to as “scream therapy.” This is very effective, if you are a skeptic, try it and see what happens. In scream therapy if you or your child are feeling stressed, frustrated, fearful or anxious you scream (as loud as you can, without scaring your neighbors). This releases tension, and often results in smiles and laughter. A “silent” scream where you scream without noise, and/or imagine yourself screaming is equally effective.
Tickle tag is a game I invented with my son. When playing tag he would often tag hard. So we turned tagging into tickling. He loved this and so did I. I had an idea one day when he was upset. I said “I know what you need, you need a good game of tickle tag.” At first he would resist, I would persist, and start tickling him. He would then begin smiling and laughing. I would redirect his attention, and his mood would shift.
There are many other tactics you can use. You have to be willing to take the information you know about what makes your child “tic” to help yourself think outside the box on how you can handle, and or defuse a situation. You do not have to parent the way society and/or others deem acceptable. Odds are not in your favor that way.
You need to parent in a way that is effective for you and your child. Parent in a way that allows you to take into account the following: Your uniqueness, your child’s uniqueness and the uniqueness of the situation as it pertains to the two of you. In order to do this in a more effective manner, your skill and willingness to think outside the box is of paramount importance.
So, trust yourself, take that leap of faith and be willing to change your plans. Finally, think outside of the box. These strategies will reduce your stress and frustration while increasing your self-esteem. Best of all, your child will begin to model these behaviors! WINNING!
©Sharon Birn, Possibilities R Infinite July 13, 2015