KEEPING YOURSELF ON AN EVEN KEEL
by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families LLC
New Zealand, the country we come from, is well known for its boating expertise. Yachting has always been our strong suite and when it comes to the America’s Cup, the competition is fierce. In the last few years the yachts have become computerized in a number of the important functions that such sailing requires. In the past, single-hulled yachts competed, but the last series had super-expensive multi-hulled catamarans. To see them fly through the water at breathtaking speed is quite a spectacle. Sometimes the boats have leaned so far over they have almost capsized.
We can be like that sometimes emotionally. We can be flying along in the best of moods, then something happens, perhaps many small annoying things, and we find ourselves tipping over. We wind up venting our feelings and often times our kids are at the other end of some unfair treatment. We know we are doing it, but we let ourselves get past the point of no return and whoosh, we say things we can’t take back.
So, how do we keep ourselves calm and collected? First of all, we need to take notice of the warning signs in us and take a step back before we hit the slippery, sliding slope. We need to recognize what our ‘red buttons’ are, face up to them and deal with them. Is it your kids’ whining and fighting? Is it untidy bedrooms or toys left everywhere? Is it the need to repeat oneself 10 times before the kids take any notice? Is it bikes dumped in the driveway so you can’t drive your car into the garage? Is it dirty dishes all over the house? Do you get annoyed at yourself for never being organized enough to be on time or never quite finishing a job?
Kids whine and fight for all sorts of reasons, but often it’s because they feel tired, hungry, insecure, or haven’t learned how to share. Untidiness can make you cranky, but that also comes from not being, or teaching your kids to be, disciplined to immediately put things in their rightful place and to tidy up after play. If you have to repeat yourself you have fallen into a trap of not creating consequences and following through when kids do not respond after the first request. That goes for bikes being left where they are a danger and allowing dirty dishes to be left all over the house.
Our kids need to live in a calm, tidy yet productive, happy, consistent environment. The way you respond to situations is what they think is normal behavior and will copy exactly what you do. If you consider yourself unable to keep on a steady emotional keel, even though you have tried, then you would benefit from some professional coaching in regards to time management, anger management and/or successful parenting skills.
We all feel inadequate in our parenting at times. I have made plenty of wrong moves because I let myself get frustrated or angry to the point of losing control. I am ashamed, but I also decided to do something about it. Sometimes you need to apologize to your children and sometimes they need to apologize to you. It is all about recognizing and responding to unwarranted behavior and creating peace in and around you.
If you have any comments or questions on this subject, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out our website at www.forefrontfamilies.org and our blogsite at www.forefrontfamilies.blogspot.com.