The secret to calm parenting is a balanced parent-child relationship. This new perspective and calm parenting technique is the first step in developing a strong parent-child bond.
Picture this: Your 6-year-old kid came inside from playing in the yard. He stomped through our living room with mud-caked shoes (actual depiction of our Saturday morning). There were so many dirty footprints that you would think he was doing the tango on your carpet.
How you act in this very moment determines if you have a peaceful home.
Would you (A) flip out because you specifically told your child prior to take off his shoes when he came in and, sheesh, cleaning up this avoidable mess will take up your entire evening.
Or (B) understand that even though this mess truly sucks, it happened. No one benefits from screaming here. You need to fix this issue and figure out how to avoid it in the future.
While many of us admittedly answer option A, if we can control our own emotions with this calm parenting technique, we can eliminate the pointless power struggles and arguing and get to a solution quicker.
Looking for a calm parenting podcast? Check out Calm Founder Kirk Martin practical strategies here.
The Difference Between Reactive Parenting and Calm Parenting
A reactive parent, or a parent that yells often, is focused on the problem, not the solution. There is mud on the floor. Your child didn’t listen. They made a gigantic mess.
It is only human nature to be angry about what happens. When you are problem-oriented, it feels like your only option is to yell and express your disappointment from your point of view.
On the other hand, if you take a big deep breath and focus on a solution, you can control the situation in a peaceful and patient way. Calm parents accept the issue at hand and work to fix it.
This may sound easier said than done; however, with these three calm and patient parenting tips, you can easily grasp this new mindset.
Kids addicted to Screen time? Learn 7 Steps to Limiting Screen Time in Your Home
You may also like: 5 Ways to Raise a Resilient and Happy Kid
3 Steps for Calm Parenting
No one wants to yell and screen, so changing your parenting style takes some work.
Luckily, transitioning to a calm parent only take three simple steps:
Step One: Understand WHY You Feel Explosive
When you are experience a tough moment, there is a good reason why your heart pounds, your face feels red, and your voice gets shrill.
You can thank your amygdala, or the part of the brain that handles the stress response.
The amygdala receives input from your 5 senses, evaluates the level of danger, and ramps up your fight or flight response.
While this primitive response can be useful (if we are being attacked or chased), it often triggers when we don’t need it.
For example, the mud smooshed into your carpet can trigger your amygdala to send you to your breaking point.
The first step is to understand that while your brain is signaling DISTRESS, you can calm it down with some simple self-talk.
For example, “It is just mud. It will get clean. My child is more important than a carpet. I need to teach them why this is upsetting for me.”
Step Two: Initiate Mindful Parenting
Understanding the amygdala is all well and good, but actively remaining calm takes some practice.
This is where mindfulness comes into play.
Mindful parenting, intentional parenting, refers to bringing your focus to what’s happening in the moment, instead of getting hijacked by your emotions.
Give yourself a moment to calm yourself down before approaching your child.
Step away and try this quick, powerful tool that mindful parents use to quiet negative emotions.
Young kids do not respond well to an angry parent. In fact, their own amygdala only sees a threat and jumps into fight or flight mode if you don’t approach them calmly.
You can’t scream at your kid for running away at the grocery store and instantly expect good behavior. That is where step three comes into play.
Do your kids need help learning how to be calm? Try these free printable calming cards.
Step Three: Use Natural Consequences to Focus on a Solution
As mentioned earlier, a calm parent accepts an issue and focuses on how to fix it.
Positive discipline is the best way to do this.
In positive discipline, you focus on a logical positive consequence (or solution), not harp on the problem.
- Focusing on a problem: Why didn’t you take off your shoes? Look at this mess! This is disgusting
- Focusing on a solution: I am going to need your help cleaning up this mud.
Being a ‘calm parent’ does NOT mean eliminating discipline or avoiding negative emotions. It is all about approaching them with a plan on how to fix the situation and learn from it.
Final Thoughts on Calm Parenting
To answer the first question: when my son tracked a bucket full of mud through my house my first instinct was to yell.
I forced myself to respond with logic instead of unchecked emotion, and never regretted it for a second.
All parents will yell from time to time. We are only human.
However, when you adopt the calm parenting mindset, you can shift from yelling and arguing to finding solutions in a positive way.
Learn what I do after I yell to hit the reset button with my kid.
Follow us on Facebook for more tips on raising kids who are healthy at home and strong in the world.