Staying calm protects your relationship with your child and helps with their overall health and wellness. In family holistic health we teach our families to stay calm also indirectly teaches them about healthy behaviors, managing difficult emotions, and self regulating. I get it can be difficult to keep your cool around the clock, especially true during relentless work deadlines, spousal pressures, school pressures, and familiar obligations. Keeping your cool becomes even more necessary and evermore difficult all at the same time, yet I know you are able to do it one step at a time.
Essential family health and wellness questions would be as a parent, how can you remain poised when your child throws a tantrum at the supermarket? Or in the middle of Target because you said no to a to that you discussed before you left, while driving, and before you got out o the car? How about when they start hanging out with a crowd who look like they’re auditioning for their own reality show? These are some of the solutions we provide to families as a means of family holistic health strategies. Or even worse, skipping school, doing drugs, or simply talking back asserting their own independence.
You can make your family life more peaceful and cooperative as an essential family health and wellness. I am confident of it. This requires some focus, determination, and lots of self forgiveness combined with unconditional love, but I know you can do it. The following strategies are designed to help you stay calm regardless of the circumstances.
Family Holistic Health Prevention Strategies for Staying Calm and Improving Health And Wellness:
- Consider the reasons. Do you assume that your child is trying to undermine you? Or perhaps that this is a personal attack against you? In reality, they may be too young to think through any complicated actions. Even older children may be more preoccupied with dealing with their own issues rather than opposing you. They simply want what they want regardless of your opinion of it. Take a step back and attempt to empathize with them, after all they are not against you. The very opposite actually they are a part of you. This new generation is extremely independent in their thinking. So, taking a step back instead of reacting can prove to be incredibly helpful in dealing with challenging and stressful situations.
- Make boundaries and expectations. Many standoffs can be avoided by setting ground rules and expectations in advance. For example, agree to a family technology contract instead of arguing about phone calls during each meal. Some even more clever children are also able to find loopholes or can bend things based on omission. A simple expectation comment can be, and anything else I can’t think of it is a NO. Create a very narrow scope with them, meaning this is the box, this is the expectation and boundary. If you go outside of this expectation and boundary, this is the consequence. Be clear and simply stated with your boundaries and expectations.
- Remove temptations. Try to childproof your surroundings. Put fragile items out of reach. Lock the liquor cabinet. Have everyone put their cell phone on the charging station in the living room, etc. Even adults struggle with impulse control. Even though you know this is not a good idea you do it anyway. How many times have you personally knew you needed to go to bed but kept watching that series or playing on your phone, feeling the impact in the morning. Children are no different. They are depending on you to provide a structure and a framework to allow them to feel safe, as well as secure.
- Supply distractions. Be realistic about young attention spans. Run errands on your own or in the early morning when stores are less crowded. Bring toys and videos along for long car rides. Children are not going to have the same attention span to things, especially things that are not of interest to them. Instead of grocery shopping consider ordering groceries online, or leveraging an activity that they can earn for positive behavior. An example is, after we are done with these 3 errands, we will go to the park for 30 mins. Make sure you state numbers, so you can count as you go along. Errands can mean 3 or 30. Giving your children an expectation allows them to follow along in the process, can ease anxiety, and help them feel one step closer to their end goal.
- Step away. Take a break if you feel like you’re becoming frustrated. Breathe deeply or go for a walk around the block. You’ll be less likely to say something you may regret or create an action that could be harmful. I recall a time when my daughter used my amazon account to buy a piercing kit. I caught the charge on my account, confronted her with it and thought end of story we are returning the package. WRONG, not only did she steal the mailbox key off of my key ring, but then also set up a piercing shop with her friends in my living room, piercing the neighborhood children. Walking in my door felt like molten lava oozing from my pours. Instead of addressing the multiple issues at the time, I calmly asked her to clean up and I was taking a walk with the dogs. Based on my calm, yet twitching appearance she knew I meant business. Children can read your energy and they know what’s going on. They will push our limits and stretch us beyond our wildest dreams. Think of all the personal growth and development classes you are saving on!!
Family Holistic Health Communication Strategies for Staying Calm:
- Lower your voice. Your child is more likely to listen if you speak softly. This can be. Challenge in the moment, but is necessary. If you are unable to speak calming, walk away, go to your room, or wait until you are more grounded to be able to communicate. Be firm but kind. Remove name calling, put downs, and derogatory terms that can disenfranchise a child’s self esteem.
- Validate and empathize is essential family health and wellness. Try to see the situation from your child’s perspective even when you disagree. Let them know that you care about their feelings. The more you can validate and acknowledge how they feel, the less resistance you create, the less stress back and forth. Having a frank, but clear conversation with statements like I recognize you feel this way… or I can see that you are angry… helps them to not only identify their emotions but also begins to give them the language to express and communicate their emotions.
- Keep it simple. Use language that your child can understand. Stick to one message at a time. In the early years I taught my daughter what an emotion is, we used face cards that had children expressing emotions on them. Like flash cards we would go through the various emotions, and help her to identify them. So when an emotion was triggered we had a face to a name. I often used the universal laws to guide my parenting. I would use concepts such as cause and effect and would ask her questions about things rather than tell her. Our job as a parent is to show them how to think, not tell them what to think. Telling them what to think builds resentment and tension between the two people.
- Focus on teaching. Discipline is more about instruction than correction. Ask yourself what you want your child to learn. This is an extension of the last tip, when my daughter would have a certain behavior I would ask why she thought that was a good idea, she would answer. Then I would tell her, if you had a chance to do it over would you do it differently. If she answered yes, I would then say what would you have done differently. I was always tunneling her down to help her to think through her actions, rather than acting on impulse. It is really about slowing down and thinking rather than speeding through things.
- Repeat yourself. Be prepared to go over the same material many times. Repetition helps small children to feel secure and master new tasks.
Don’t expect them to get it the first time, the second time, or even the third time. They are not robots, they are people, they are humans. All humans, especially little humans are forgetful. Often times they behave on impulse and feeling, help them maintain logic and reason by continuing to remind them of the boundaries.
- Encourage cooperation. Work as a team. Ask your child to assist you and present them with choices. Tell them you appreciate their setting the table when you have to work late. Giving them choices, and responsibilities helps them to feel as thought hey are valuable and builds self esteem. This is especially important in single parent households. Helping them to feel supported and acknowledged is key to building their self esteem.
- Laugh. Humor can lighten things up. It’s okay to use your children for entertainment as long as you guide them towards becoming responsible adults. I would often laugh at some of my daughters behavior, like when she got a ferret after she asked me if she would be okay with getting one. She launched into a 2 hour back and forth explanation as to how the ferret was contributing to her quality of life, self esteem, etc. All I could do was laugh. And the ferret went packing. Be clear that you are not laughing at your children as a means of humiliation, but more so laughing at the silliness to their behavior.
- Offer praise as a means of essential family health and wellness. Notice the things your children do well. Express your gratitude. Tell them that you’re proud of them for studying hard and sharing their toys with their baby brother. Children want to make you happy, and want to make you proud. Make sure you encourage the positive behaviors so they feel supported, loved, and acknowledged.
Family Holistic Health Strategies for Staying Calm:
- Build bonds as a means of essential family health and wellness. It will be easier to handle mishaps if you have a strong and close relationship. Spend time with your kids one-on-one and as a family. Share their interests and pay attention to what they have to say. This is especially necessary in single parent homes, or entrepreneur homes. I often found myself easily distracted by things. I would need to leave my phone in my room for undivided attention. I would really have to focus on the television show they would want to watch, or the video game they wanted to play. At times it could be a struggle with the mounting to do list but designated quality time was helpful.
- Practice self-care. You’ll also feel more stable when you eat healthy, work out, and sleep well. Ensure that your children are getting adequate sleep too. You cannot parent well if you are not parenting yourself well. Taking 15 mins per day to ensure you are healthy, well, and whole is key to ensuring you stay calm. I often recommend a daily meditation practice of 15 mins per day in the morning to being the day. This is essential family health and wellness.
- Seek professional help. A family therapist can provide additional coping strategies if you’re struggling with staying calm. As a holistic doctor, I often work with the family dynamics, helping communication be heard, needs being met, and behaviors being understood. This is part of my work that I truly love is helping with the family dynamic. This is very different than therapy and often yields different results.
Your kids will still lose their backpacks and share embarrassing information with your neighbors. However, skillful planning and communication can minimize conflicts and help you to collaborate with your child during stressful times. Parenting is easier and more effective when you can stay calm.