This past week, I attended another great parenting workshop offered by Family Child Resources and Family First Health, two wonderful community-oriented organizations in my city. Last month, I took a class called “Parenting the Preschooler” and found it to be really helpful so I signed up again.
Truthfully, things in the behavior/discipline department have improved since the last class. Whether it’s Holden responding better to my cues or me just ignoring her craziness, overall things are looking up. Now the issues seem to be how to handle two little toddlers at very different stages of their toddlerdom at the same time. But that would be a semester-long class all to itself.
This month’s workshop was called “Power Struggles,” a topic I’d say I’m somewhat familiar with. We started by talking about the struggles we’re all currently facing and I tried very hard not to dominate the conversation, as I have a ton of great material. We were asked to identify our physical triggers that we feel before we get into an argument with our kids (muscles tensing, gritting your teeth, breathing heavily, etc.) and then we talked about ways to stop ourselves from getting worked up: namely, Square Breathing.
Square Breathing: Take a deep breath in for 4 counts, hold it for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts and hold for 4 counts. Apparently the counting requires your concentration and requires you to focus on your breath, rather than the incorrigible little monster standing before you.
Not getting worked up is important: once again the moral of this class was Do. Not. Let. Them. Win.
Our teacher demonstrated for us two hands pushing against each other. When one side stops pushing, the other side “falls”/loses. This hearkens back to the lesson from the first class: keep your cool and ignore the bratty behavior. Don’t fight with them and they lose the power to push back.
For me, though, the best way to avoid getting worked up is to avoid the situation in the first place, so luckily, we talked about that too.
One of my biggest takeaways from this workshop was this: “No” is a complete sentence. Don’t allow them to talk back. Don’t continue the argument. This is something I struggle with.
I also noticed that I tend to phrase things as a question when I talk to Holden: “Are you going to come eat dinner?” “Why don’t we go to the potty?” “Can you stop hitting your brother with that wooden train track?” I guess I was trying to make her feel like she has a choice in the matter, but really I just open myself up for arguments and pain.
So really, in the end, we’re all just struggling to be The Boss.
But in order to be The Boss, you actually have to act more like that “Like A Boss” meme. Don’t let those little
jerks cherubs ruffle your feathers. Keep cool and stand your ground.
Easier said than done, right?