Photo by Rachel Hadiashar
Connection is the foundation of a parenting and life, and a natural extension of your Positive Intent.
When you are in a place of Connection, you are connected to your best self, your highest place, and your goodness as a parent, and as a person.
With children, "Connection = Cooperation" as Jane Nelsen founder of Positive Discipline says.
The reality is disconnect happens. Overwhelm, grief, anger, depression, and anxiety resulting from the crazy stress of modern life, as well as originating from negative experiences from one's childhood, happen.
These "ruptures in connection" as Dr. Dan Siegel, Interpersonal Neurobiologist, calls these misunderstandings, arguments, and other breakdowns in communication with our children, are a part of life. Life is not perfect, but hopefully it is not overly traumatic or stressful either.
Very often, the rupture in connection begins within oneself, and trickles out to those around you.
While this disconnect from your highest self
--from your place of wisdom, strength, and goodness, is a reality,
the goal is to recognize when it's happening, honor your experiences, and ultimately learn how reconnect with your place of power and strength to transform the disconnect.
The field of Interpersonal Neurobiology explains the brain science behind disconnections, and why people "flip their lid," or lose it as parents.
"Brain in the Palm of Your Hand" confirms what is happening on that "low road" when parents yell, lose it, or "flip their lid."
Yesterday, I taught one of my Positive PlayTime classes at a local library. I asked 12 parents, does anyone here NOT get upset, yell, or lose it with their children?
No one raised their hand. Most parents get upset or lose their tempers with their children because parents today are stressed out!
I help parents get over their parenting shame. We need to talk about parenting mistakes.
You seeing clearly what you are working on and developing compassion for the challenges you face is the foundation for positive change in your life.
(And knowing you are not alone. All parents face challenges, lose is sometimes, and make mistakes. You have a supportive community behind you!)
Parents lose their tempers because of high stress levels and unresolved negative and/or traumatic life experiences.
When you're getting upset, or you have lost it, the stress response system is dominating your brain and ruling your actions.
In this sense, your brain is reading your child's misbehavior the same way it would react if a bear broke through your window and was in your living room. Your instinct would be to run away, fight the bear, or freeze- like a deer in headlights.
If you are losing it as parent, your body and brain is reading your children's behavior like a bear in the room. Your brain is saying "Danger! Stress! Fear!" when your children misbehave
-- and yelling (or shutting down) is the way you are coping to this stress.
Compassion for yourself is absolutely essential. Your losing it as a parent is a coping mechanism to the stress you face.
The amazing thing about the brain is its "neural plasticity," or ability to change throughout your entire life.
You can teach yourself to strengthen your muscles of connection, so you can meet your needs for calm and safety within yourself.
You can teach your brain a different response, or coping mechanism, to your children's misbehavior.
While this rewiring of your brain is 100% possible-- you are always teaching yourself new things---it does take time, dedication, and practice-- just the type of understanding and support you'd give yourself if you were learning a new language.
Your birthright is to live in Connection with yourself through all the moments of life, both the easy and hard ones.
Furthermore, your Connection with you will help you get through and transform the challenges and stress you face.
To get started on this road to Connection:
1. Simply notice when you are triggered as a parent-- when you lose it, yell, get upset, or "flip your lid."
2. Bring your awareness to how it feels in your body when you've lost it, and before and and after you get upset.
Some parents say they feel a clench in their jaw, an explosion in their stomach, or that "angry mom/dad" scowl on their face.
This Awareness is the first agent of positive change, as Dr. Becky Bailey of Conscious Discipline says.
But awareness must be followed for compassion for you, and the stress your face and the negative experiences in your life.
3. Be compassionate to YOU.
Your yelling is a coping mechanism to the stress you face.
You can teach yourself to not read your children's misbehavior as danger and a trigger to your stress response system.
So your children's misbehavior is not like a wild bear to your brain!
Your connection to your highest, best self if your birthright,
and your children's birthright.
Let's support you to staying in connection with this power and strength of you,
help you utilize your power and strength to transform the stress you face
By developing your plan for Regathering and Reconnecting.
More soon. Stay tuned.
You got this,
p.s. Please take care of you. If bringing awareness to your triggers is retraumatizing for you, please talk to someone: a friend, family member, elder, or a professional. This is big work you are doing and support is there for you.
Hi friends, I write from the heart to tell my life story, and the story of those in my neighborhood called life. Research shows that our children's emotional & mental health is contingent upon us parents being able to tell our life story, or "coherent narrative." This is my coherent narrative, my life story in the making, with some of what I love in life too. My goal is to share my life in a way that is real, uplifting & positive- sometimes serious, sometimes fun. In my practice, I inspire parents to empowerment through reclaiming our life stories and learning respectful discipline. My work is my offering to our children- our future. Wishing you all a happy family!