By Jill Hope
We all experience these moments. Periods where it seems like no matter what you say or do, your child resists, pushes back, pushes buttons, gets angry, etc. And when these situations occur, they can elevate into all out arguments with your kids.
If it happens once in a while, it can typically be dealt with. However it starts happening more regularly, it can affect the quality of your family life, as well as your mental and emotional health.
So, what can you do to move beyond these situations with your child and restore peace to the family? How can you release the pattern, begin moving forward in a more positive and loving way, and maintain a close relationship with you r child?
Here are 3 things to consider:
1) Look at the role YOU are playing in the challenge.
You can’t have discord between 2 people and have it be the fault of one. If you are not getting along with your child, you both need to take 100% responsibility for your roles in it. And since we are dealing with children, you need to lead this charge and model how to take responsibility for one’s role in a disagreement.
When I am having a problem with my child and I take a step back from it, I usually realize that I am coming from a place of anger, impatience, or frustration. I notice that my tone is off, my energy is negative, and that is certainly not conducive to effective communication.
By putting some space between you and your feelings about the situation, you can see what you are bringing into the conversation which is contributing the discord. Once you create this awareness within yourself, you will have the opportunity to approach your child in a different, more positive way.
2) Ask yourself: “If I came from a place of love, how would I respond?”
This is a powerful question to ask yourself, because chances are, if you are arguing with your child, you are not coming from a place a love, but from a place that is dysfunctional, and perhaps even toxic.
When we come from a place of love, there is understanding. There is a willingness to listen and to be open to possibilities. It is in the moments of coming from a place of true love, that I learn the most about myself through my child. And the added benefit is that my child responds back with love and understanding as well. In this space, we begin to truly communicate with each other.
Next time you feel angry toward your child, take a step back and ask yourself how you would respond if you came from a place of love. You will be amazed by the results this one action can have in improving communication with your child.
3) Remind yourself that you are the responsible adult, and your child is looking up to you and watching for cues from you on how to behave.
When you fall into an argument with your child, you are in essence bringing yourself down to your child’s level. Remind yourself that you are the adult here, and every situation is a learning situation for your child.
Don’t allow yourself to respond in a childish way. Do your best to maintain your composure, hold to your boundaries, and help your child to understand why a situation is the way it is.
Your child watches and learns from your every move. When you respond in a reactive, childish way, they learn that this is acceptable adult behavior when dealing with a conflict. Think about how you want your child to manage conflict, and model that for them. If it means you need to remove yourself to take a few breaths and regain your composure, then tell your child this and do so. This action in itself is teaching a powerful lesson.
The next time you find yourself in conflict with your child, take a step back and remember these 3 tips for maintaining good communication with your child. In doing so, you will remain the strong adult model your child so desperately needs and deserves.