This was our second GHC in TX. It was great meeting so many new families who decided to join the Playing Skillfully community. Whenever I meet a mom or dad on the road, it is my goal to learn their name, hear their story and encourage them in some way during our brief encounter. It never fails that some names, faces, and stories linger on my heart after the trailer is packed and I am headed home. This was one of those trips.
I met this precious mom (I will rename her Beth) last year. She attended my talks, purchased our curriculum and has been pursuing a lifestyle of #sayingyes. It was great to see her again and hear about her year, but I sensed that her heart was heavy from the challenges of motherhood. We talked about some specific struggles, hugged and exchanged phone numbers. I thought about her so much as I drove back to GA. It wasn’t until a few days ago, that I realized that my instinct was correct. I received a text from her and a face time call soon after. She was struggling in several areas of motherhood, specifically with her child’s anger management and obedience. I encouraged her with the following:
- Give your children permission to feel. One of the best things we can do as parents is to honor our children’s emotions and help them walk through those emotions. I suggested that she simply acknowledge her child’s anger in the moment and offer a magazine for ripping pages to get the anger out. Taking a light hearted approach with this often helps. For example, say something such as “I see you are very angry at the moment. Let’s get that anger out so we can move back to a happier place. Why don’t we stomp together or rip some pages of this old magazine? I will rip with you or you can rip by yourself.” This type of talk gives your child permission to feel and to move through their emotion. Another idea is to teach your children the importance of belly breaths. Again, a light hearted approach is best. Try saying, I see your are super sad. Let’s grab a deep belly breath together. Breathe in slowly and blow it out. Exaggerate your deep breaths. Deep breaths calm even the fiercest of emotions (and might even cause some giggles).
- Choices! Give your child REAL choices in the moment. When a child doesn’t want to go potty, simply state something such as, “We need to take a potty break soon, I will set the timer. Do you think we should set it for 3 minutes or 5 minutes?” This gives the child a real choice in the situation.
- Don’t expect perfection. Somewhere along the way, it was decided that we were not good moms if our kids did not obey the first time. I disagree. Sure, I want my kids to obey me, but I don’t want obedience at the cost of them not feeling the freedom to feel and work through a situation. When children are young, they need guidance and love and encouragement. In my opinion, the relationship between my child and me is far more important than first time obedience. I want my children to understand that we clean up because we take care of the things that we worked hard to get. I want my children to understand that we are kind because the alternative is hurtful to others. I want my children to understand that we go to sleep because our bodies need rest. I want my children to feel safe in expressing their thoughts and opinions, to ask questions and even disagree. For me, parenting is a relationship journey for my children to understand that their actions have consequences…. good and bad. I believe that will help prepare them the most for adulthood and it takes the pressure off of me to be a perfect mom. I always tell parents that my rule is, when I am perfect is when I will expect perfection from my children. I am a VERY imperfect mom, but I have children growing into beautiful adults.
I am so grateful that “Beth” took the time to reach out. I finished our conversation with “You’ve got this.” She does have this. She is a beautiful mom on the inside and out. She is FOR her children and she is making a difference in their life.
Goodbye, Texas! Next up, Midwest Homeschool Convention.