Taking Care in the Midst of Chaos

Parents,

who hasn’t lost their temper or been so confused by the behavior their child is displaying that they throw their hands up in defeat?

Well, I don’t know about you but I have, I have wondered; am I being to hard, how will my child and I get along in the future, what sort of values is she learning and integrating in her little mind, how can I help her be her best self…

Sometimes I can to be patient to a fault and other times I can lose my cool and in those moments I find myself apologizing for it later… what’s that teaching her?  Well, in a positive way a child can learn valuable skill sets from a parent who is willing to own a mistake or two.  It shows the child that we are all human beings and that we make mistakes, and that we get to be accountable for the fault that is ours.  However, if it happens too often those same children might learn some not so positive things like; my parents are out of control, they might learn its okay to fly off the handle any ol’ time just make sure you say sorry later or they may even learn that they need to take care of their parents in an emotional and rather adult way.  Either way it is ultimately be better if those times of us flying off the handle are few and far between.

In my pursuit to understand parenting and be a better clinician I have studied many books and taken many classes on parenting and child development, what I have found most helpful is the idea that in order for us to be well rounded and (sane) parents we need to take care of ourselves.   We need to have our anxiety levels in check so that when your child is about to jump off the top of your balcony you can do something more strategic besides yelling, which may actually frighten them into falling.

Lets just take a moment to talk about self-care. In the myriad of things that a parent has to do through out the day, how much time gets devoted to self-care?   For me, I find that its something I have to schedule in just as I would any other appointment.  I set my alarm in the morning to do some writing, reading and meditating before anyone else gets up, that way I can ensure quiet uninterrupted space.   If you aren’t a morning person then maybe in the evening when everyone has gone to bed you might be able to take a moment and write about how your day went, what could have been different or maybe just lay on the floor and breath for five minutes.   Whatever, it is that brings you some peace and relaxation just make sure you make time to do it at least once a day.

When it comes to parenting many times we are being pushed beyond what we have learned ourselves or even what we know about parenting.  However, if we have taken care of ourselves we have a better chance of being able to handle the pressure and complicated nature of parenting.   So, make sure to take some time to pursue your passions and make them about you not your children ultimately it will make you a better parent in the long run.

Food for thought

1.     When you hear the word self care what are the immediate messages that come into your mind?  Write them down and then create an opposing positive message for instance:

a.     I don’t have time:  (positive) I do have time I just have to find it

2.     Think of a time when you thought your child or children were out of control. If you had greater control over your emotions, how could the situation have had a different outcome

3.     What sorts of fear stop you from focusing on yourself?  List them out and think about where they came from. Maybe some sort of work ethic from a family member…