You Have a Choice. It all Starts with Awareness.

by GoParents on March 30, 2015 · 0 comments

in Communication that creates connections,Empowered GoParents,Family Connections and Relationships,Values

Last week, I wrote about the emotional challenges that I faced when my young infant daughter became unsettled, demanding and clingy. That behaviour really challenged my patience and triggered my stress tolerance.

It is always easier to say, looking back, I should have done this and that… so for today's blog, I have a question to ask you. What have you learned from your past? Think about what you have experienced in the past, whether it was yesterday, the day before or even a month before. What would you have done any differently? It can be anything, but today let's stick with a parenting issue:

For example, remembering how you reacted to your child's defiance with an outburst, yelling, or worse – physical punishment. Afterwards, both of you feel really bad about it, especially the parent. I know firsthand how it felt – it was not pretty.

However today, both of you have settled; yet both of you still feeling really crappy about it. And I bet you would not want to experience such anger towards your children again, if you can help it.

Let me explain the scenario a little… this is what actually happens:

  • No one pushes your buttons / triggers you better and faster than your own children.
  • When you buttons are pushed/emotions triggered – it reminds you of your own pain and fear, which you had experienced from your own childhood, but forgotten about.
  • When your raw wound is triggered, in order to protect yourself – You lose it! You react by punishing them or yelleing at them. Why? Could it be because you want your child to know how angry he or she was making you and you did not know how to respond effectively?

When we are angry, our mind is "swamped" by emotions; our actions can override our best intentions of being a loving and empowered parent.

Here are five simple steps that I do when I am in the situation of being triggered, and provide a very quick way to diffuse it before it escalates to uncontrollable rage. It all start with AWARENESS.

  1. BE AWARE when you are triggered – this is when you feel your stress, anger and temper rising.
  2. STOP and take several deep breaths.
  3. Sit with your emotions and BE OK with them.
  4. LABEL and identify your emotions – what are you feeling? Anger? Stress? Resentment?
  5. Make a CHOICE on how are you going to react. Be in control.

You will notice that once you have labeled your emotions, you will start to calm down and be more aware of your feelings.  This is an important step to diffuse your raging emotions.

Once you are more settled, take out your journal and start to write about your emotions and where they come from. What was the cause etc.

Example: I was feeling really angry when so and so was talking to me, in fact I was really very very upset. I felt like so and so was actually trying to "insult" me….. or judged me for my actions…..

I felt like punching him, but did not…..

The gold nugget – finding the source of your buried emotion:

Why was I so angry? What was the cause of the anger?…….Did I feel embarrassed from what was being said? Why? Why was I embarrassed? Under what circumstances was I made to feel embarrassed? Did something happen that caused me to look bad when I was a child? Was that why I feel embarrassed under similar circumstances?……What were my beliefs about this circumstance/situation?….

Keep writing, keep exploring…

I hope the 5 simple steps help. I know it can be hard when you are in a challenged emotional state; but remember, you have a choice – it all starts with awareness!

Have a fun day with your family!

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