How do you help your children when they are angry, frustrated,
disappointed or sad? You don't need to argue, defend or join them
in their emotional upheaval. Instead, just breathe, relax and stay
I know, it's not easy.
Like anything else, accessing your inner calm takes preparation
and practice. Feeling frustrated or angry often is our autopilot
response and we need to create space and awareness to choose
something that will actually help.
So how can we do this? Call it what you want-meditation, quiet
time, breathing, relaxation, sitting-it's not the word that
matters, it's taking the time to practice the word.
You don't have to take a class or buy books. I have studied many
different types of meditation, and I know many who swear by a
certain teacher or practice, but for me, trying to follow a
specific guideline became too distracting.
So now I just take some time in the morning, from five to 15
minutes, and sit, breathe and relax. This was once a task on my
to-do list, but it became something I look forward to. I sit
comfortably, surround myself with things I love-pictures, candles,
gifts from my kids-close my eyes and breathe.
Sometimes the day just starts off too crazy and I forget all
about quiet time. Then I'm more distracted and more easily
agitated; I am more easily offended or annoyed by small things.
Finding calm is not just for your parenting skills, it's for
your overall health. It can improve sleep and immunity, it
increases your sense of well being, and it helps you quiet your
constantly processing mind.
That's really the best part of finding quiet-it helps you
distance yourself from your incessant and often unhelpful thoughts,
and leaves you feeling more centered and clear.
It takes practice to get used to sitting with yourself, but
start simply. While sitting in the car waiting for your kids, just
close your eyes and breathe for a minute or two. Once you notice
the benefits, you can incorporate stillness into other parts of
Practicing a few minutes (or more) a day will increase the
likelihood of being calm in difficult moments. Not only will you
feel better about the way you respond to challenges, but you also
demonstrate to your children that calm begins inside, regardless of
what is happening in their outside world.
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.
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