Positive Parenting Refresher
At the beginning of the year, I asked if anyone needed a positive parenting refresher, and one of the ways I thought I could do that is by talking about books, articles and podcasts by parenting experts that I love. That way, you don’t have to read all the books, because that can be so daunting. I have to admit, I usually (always) listen to or read about the topics I am currently struggling with. So today, I want to talk about this amazing podcast by Janet Lansbury called Unruffled. The episode I want to discuss is called “The Securely Attached Child + How to Handle Disrespectful Behavior” with the equally amazing Dr Tina Payne Bryson (who co-authored No Drama Discipline and The Whole Brained Child).
So why this one? Well, honestly I googled “Janet Lansbury” and “rude child” because I have felt that my 5 year old has been a bit demanding and rude to me lately. I needed a refresher. I need a refresher with every new phase my oldest child is in because it’s all unchartered water for me as a parent. With my second, I am so much more “unruffled” because I have been through it. These phases don’t bother me anymore. But man, that first born can really push my buttons...
And that’s one huge thing to remember - a lot of this is about me - what is pushing my buttons and causing me to be upset. My 5 year old being disrespectful to me “you’re not the boss of me, I’m the boss of my self!” makes me feel really disrespected, like I have no control over my own kid. And then I react from my feelings of failure. So what do we do in these moments?
Well, the experts in the podcast reminded me to
1. Hold the Limit - “show time is over”.
2. Validate their Feelings - “you’re upset that I am turning off the tv”
3. Connect - “I am right here with you while you are feeling angry” (disappointed)
4. Don’t let “you’re not the boss of me” hold power, let it roll off of me. Be “unruffled.” Because really, this tantrum is no big deal.
When our kids are upset, they are in distress. And Dr Byson said we can think about it as if they are physically hurt. There IS something in them that is disregulated, feels uncomfortable. So when they show us their emotions, first of all, it’s awesome because they are securely attached and feel safe to show us their uncomfortable emotions. And we can respond with “you sound so mad, how can I help?” Connection is more important in these moments than correcting.
What we don’t want to do is teach them that their emotions are bad or wrong. Feeling angry, frustrated, disappointed or sad is all apart of being a person, and if we “correct” them by reacting negatively to their emotions, they shut down. We need to be that safe space for them to express their feelings, even as they get older.
BUT, that doesn’t mean being permissive. Going back to point number 1: Hold the Limit. Validate for sure - you can even empathize or relate and say “I would feel disappointed too.” Disappointment is a part of life, and learning to experience it, feel it and then work on a solution is one of the best lessons we can teach in these moments (or in the calmer moments after a tantrum).
So...how do we wrap up an exchange like this? After we hold the limit, validate feelings and connect (while staying calm ourselves), we can then work on an appropriate solution or resolution. In my example above about tv time, I can present the options my son has when shows are over. Or we can choose what show he will pick for tomorrow. Options are great as long as it’s not trying to replace or distract from his feelings of anger or disappointment. It’s important he expresses those feelings to me in the moment, and I need to remind myself what an honor it is that he feels safe enough with me to show me his most painful emotions.
To listen to this podcast: https://m.soundcloud.com/janet-lansbury/the-securely-attached-child-and-how-to-handle-disrespectful-behavior-with-dr-tina-payne-bryson
Next on my reading list:
The Power of Showing Up by Tina Payne Bryson