My husband is traveling, it's 7:00 p.m. and I'm tired. My
girls want to go back to the park; they are full of energy and
questions. Did I mention I'm tired?
I take responsibility and share how I feel.
Girls, I am tired, and I don't have the energy to go
to the park. Instead, we are going to have quiet time at
home while I clean the kitchen. Disagreement all around,
comments about how it's summer, it's beautiful outside, and how
they want to catch fireflies….
I take a deep breath and slow down even more. Slowly and
softly I explain that tonight we are staying inside. I allow
them to share their frustration; I don't talk, I just listen
intently and nod. I slow down even more, keep breathing, keep
Time passes and I realize I haven't talked in awhile. I
look around the room and the girls are all doing different things -
one is cutting paper, one is looking at a book, one is using
watercolors. I don't know when they dispersed and got busy
doing their own thing, but I do know it feels calm in here, it's
quiet, it's relaxed.
I think about Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk who shares his
message of peace around the world. I have heard that when he
walks on stage to present, his peaceful energy brings a sense of
calm to the entire room; everyone quiets down and "feels" his
I don't claim to have the power of a Buddhist monk, but I do
believe my girls respond to the energy I carry. Anxiety is
contagious (if you have been with someone who is anxious, you know
what I mean) and calm can be contagious, too.
So instead of telling my girls to calm down, I can calm down
first. Instead of using words, I can use breathing.
Maybe to teach the behavior I need to role model the
Will this work everytime? I don't know.
But it worked today.
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.
Let us plan your weekend with the best family events and activities in Chicagoland.
Start the week right with deals, prizes, parent life hacks and more delivered straight to your inbox.
Need last-minute ideas for a weekend of family fun? No worries. We've got you.
Get the inside scoop on the people, places and things we are loving right now.
Resources, tips, inspiration and more for parents of children with special needs.
Score exclusive offers from our fabulous advertisers.