At Lil Helper, we are first and foremost parents. Always seeking ways to improve ourselves and support each other. So we invited Muriel from PreParenting LLC on the blog to share her CALM parenting method. Plus, some next level parenting strategies we can all practice every day with our littles.
Being A “Calm” Parent Doesn’t Mean You Never Feel Anger…
… It simply means making the conscious choice to respond to ALL feelings with grace, maturity and wisdom instead of reactivity.
Dear Frustrated and Overwhelmed Parent,
Almost everyone who has children they love in their lives can relate to the frustration, overwhelm, fear or even rage that can be felt when a child seems to be pushing every little button we have. We often point the finger at the child for throwing a “temper tantrum”, having a “meltdown” or being “disobedient” when children get under our skin with big emotions, altering perspectives or personal needs that differ from our own.
Yet, in doing this, we unconsciously project onto them all kinds of labels and judgements. We essentially “blame” them/their behavior for how we feel and our own overwhelm, rather than reflecting on our emotional responses, taking responsibility for them and then acting from a space of “calm”. This approach is the cause of many common parenting difficulties and “battles”. It simply doesn’t have to be this way.
Keeping It Calm, Cool and Connected to Stay in Your POWER
Being truly “calm” has nothing to do with feeling only what we consider to be “good” emotions. Rather, it is that we are able to meet ALL emotions and experiences with emotional maturity and grace.
When you feel yourself or another person (child) entering into illogical, emotionally immature and challenging feelings, think C.A.L.M:
- C- ompassion
- A- cceptance
- L- ove + Logic
- M- aturity
C is for Compassion in Parenting
Have COMPASSION for the human experience and it’s wide-array of feels. Surely, you know what the emotions of a “temper tantrum” feel like. ;) So give the kiddos a break and let your inner tiger take a step back.
Remember this one fool-proof tool: The higher a child’s energy/emotion, the lower yours should go.
A is for Acceptance (BONUS: Attachment)
Instead of resisting a child’s behavior or emotion + it’s expression, learn to accept it for what it is. It is a normal expression of their immature, undeveloped brain and nervous system. Then, from this space of acceptance, show them how to express their feelings in a new way that isn’t harmful, disrespectful, etc…
And remember that children only model after adults whom they look up to and are connected (attached) to. They need to TRUST your ability to lead them to be led with ease. In order to maintain this trust, you must prove yourself as a reliable, mature and secure leader.
L is for parenting with Love & Logic
The lower the emotion, the lower our capability to access logical, loving thoughts and actions.
Remember the super power of Love + LOGIC. It helps adults to recognize emotional outbursts (or acting in anger) as immaturity– both in themselves and in children.
Only when we allow ourselves to have compassion and be accepting of emotions can we regulate ourselves and our nervous system. This allows us to access loving emotions and logical solutions.
M is for MATURITY
The key component to the above steps is that they lead us into a MATURE leadership role, rather than being stuck in immaturity alongside children. Only via this mature role do we actually have the POWER to influence children toward different behavior.
(Click here to book a complimentary session with me to learn more about HOW to create a practical, daily plan of action for overcoming anger and implementing C.A.L.M in your own day-to-day parenting life.)
Never ACT In Anger
It’s unrealistic to try and force yourself not to feel anger, etc…, but it is reasonable to make a vow to yourself not to take action from an angry space, as often as possible. In fact, it is the adults absolute responsibility to do so as a role model and trusted leader of younger humans.
Think of it this way: acting in anger = immaturity. From an immature space, one cannot expect to lead another into maturity/better behavior/emotional regulation, etc. This is why “generational cycles” seem so hard to break for so many people.
Instead of reacting in anger when we feel it bubbling up during an interaction with a child, we can use the C.A.L.M approach to bring ourselves back to a space of power and strong leadership.
Why this Way of Parenting Works
The parent/trusted adult-child relationship is meant to be easy and intuitive. This happens when each role is played as nature intended it to.
It’s only when we get lost in the emotions and immaturity of our own reactivity– giving up our role as a mature leader– that we have a hard time maintaining strong leadership and connection to children. Often unintentionally, adults completely obliterate a child’s trust and attachment to them. We do this when we act out of the immaturity of anger and frustration rather than leading from a space of C.A.L.M, which makes it INFINITELY more challenging to lead them.
The young, developing brains and bodies of children learn through modeling after the adults in their lives whom they respect and are attached to. So, it is imperative to learn how to lead through your own mature behavior and energy. Anger destroys a child’s trust in you. It harms their attachment/ability to actually WANT to model after (or listen to) you.
To ensure this DOESN’T happen, we simply exercise our “calm” muscles more than our angry ones, over and over again– part of the mature adult's role is to repeat this “calm” behavior as MANY times as needed until the child’s brain eventually builds the neural wiring to “get it” themselves. The more you do it, the stronger you get… it takes lots of time, dedication and commitment to see the “results” of your efforts.
When we understand that children aren’t being “bad”, they’re simply less developed humans who need a strong, mature and developed adult to lead them, we “drop the rope” of power struggles and find joy in the powerful journey of CALMly raising a generation of healthy, successful and happy humans.
If you want children to express their emotions, ideas and needs eloquently, start with doing so yourself, first and see what happens.
Lots of Love,
Muriel Wiesner AKA Muri Poppins, the Child-Whisperer :P
How are you going to apply C.A.L.M to your family in easy, PRACTICAL daily steps? Click here to book your complimentary thriving family strategy session with me to create a clear plan for your families specific needs!
Want to learn more about Muriel and PreParenting LLC? Visit www.pre-parenting.com and follow on Instagram @PreParenting
About the Author:
Muriel is a homesteader, writer, parent educator and the heart and brains behind PreParenting LLC. When she is not supporting families in healing generational trauma and finding their Parent Power to naturally grow and raise healthy humans, you can find her basking in the Colorado sunshine, arranging flowers, digging in her garden, adventuring in nature, working on home-projects or laughing with loved ones. To learn more about how she helps families thrive through each stage of the parent-journey, head to www.pre-parenting.com.