What is it that makes you lose your patience with your child/ children? For me, it’s their complaining and whining. This kind of behavior quickly takes me over the top. Of course, God felt like I needed to grow in this area of patience, so I have one child who only functions in that mode. I’m exaggerating, it’s not always but somedays it’s ALL freakin’ day.
“I Need a Minute Rule” to Stay Calm as a Parent
One thing I’ve started doing again, lately is I’ll tell my kids, “I need a minute.” I was doing it for awhile but apparently I didn’t practice this long enough because I quickly returned to my bad habits. So, how this looks: I walk away amidst the clutter, the squabbling children and I take a deep breath. Just long enough to give me a minute to calm myself think, pray and even ask God for forgiveness. Then I re-enter the situation as if I just walked in for the first time–maybe when you first walked in you yelled.
This time walk in and say, “Wow, sure is a good thing you have each other to love on.” Then you can calmly say, “I see you’re upset with one another. Do you need my help with this?(you just guide them not referee the situation) But if you’re going to keep arguing can you take that in the playroom.” I wish I could say I do it every time but I’m learning.
Over time, our self talk carves out pathways in our brains. So my hope is the more I do this “I need a minute” rule, the more I’ll go back to this pathway instead of my negative habits.
Not only that but this taking a step back helps us move forward together not against each other. Only by stepping back can we prepare our hearts, minds, words and attitudes. A lot of times we see the chaos and we’re ready to lunge forward with words like, “For crying out loud, just STOP, STOP or you’ll both go to your room until your 18 years old.” This stepping back helps us not charge into discipline or consequences that maybe too harsh and then we end up taking back but that only ends up reinforcing that if they complain about it enough, you’ll change your mind. But that’s a whole different topic.
Some ground rules that will help when you use this phrase is to tell your kids that when you say this you need them to stop calling you. Also, make sure you’re not using it all the time. You don’t always have to leave the room but if this helps, do so.
Something the book by Lynne & Jim Jackson–Discipline that Connects with Your Child’s Heart that really stood out to me is this,
“When a parent’s overflow is out of a heart of anger, anxiety, or need to control, the messages children perceive from parents might be:
I am out to get you. You’re a problem. You make me angry. I don’t really love you when you act this way. When children perceive these message they most likely will resist our efforts.”
This is one of the wonderful parenting books that I keep on my shelf as a counselor. Note, I said I’m a counselor and I also do parenting seminars–we’re all on this journey, falling but getting back up! Here’s one royal mess I made of myself FB post, I only share it to encourage because I definitely wasn’t proud of myself.
I highly you recommend, you keep trying this, I Need a Minute Rule to Stay Calm as a Parent. We are on our first week of our Love Dare Parenting Challenge, join us! Here are all the details, it’s simple and free!