Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Morning Meltdown: Getting out the door and still liking each other!

Some school mornings can get off to a pretty rough start. You might know what I’m talking about. You have a full day ahead of you, and it starts off with “I DON’T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL!” This morning was one of those.

I could have gotten mad and tried to force her, telling her “You are going, no matter what.” But I know from experience that when I start doing that, it gets worse and escalates into a power struggle.

Instead, I took a deep breath and remembered the most important thing to me is that she and I stay connected; our relationship is really important and being CALM is a #1 priority for me. Well, maybe I had to take more than one deep breath on this particular morning!

So what did I do? First, I just noticed that she was having a hard time. I mentally stepped back from the scene, observing her fully communicating how she did not want to go, watching her drama as she sprawled out on the bed, not going to budge. I knew for sure that she was going to school, but also know that when she is struggling, that’s not a time for me to push, push, push.

The second I was calm and not in reactive mode, the air got a little lighter. I validated her feelings … “I totally know what you’re saying and agree that I don’t always want to get up and go either.” I paused, allowing her some silence and space to take in the fact that I understood.

Then I reminded her, “And we both know that once you get going, you’re fine.” I said it calm and easy, and almost funny using a little sense of humor.

She stopped her drama for a moment and said, “Okay, that’s true. But I still don’t want to go.” Then back into a little drama, saying that she needed some help – “Could you at least put my pants on for me?” It was pretty funny to me, since she never asks for help getting dressed! I joked with her, helping her with her clothes and asking what else I could help with, being fun and playful in my tone.

I thought we were clear for takeoff, but then there she was, on the floor again with the drama! So I encouraged her …“Honey, if you need to, why don’t you go over there and scream it (I don’t want to go to school!), five times really loud.” She did; it lasted only 2 times and then she was done.

I was really clear that we were going. She had to be there at 8:00, and I had a meeting at the school at 9:00. Again, I was unwavering – if I am on the fence, she is also on the fence, and then it’s almost impossible to get going!

So then I asked for her help – please work with me so we can get there on time. Her demeanor softened. She got herself together and ready to go.

Okay, it’s 7:50 am, and it is crunch time! We are out the door. She was happy and regulated; I was happy and regulated.

You know, it may sound like this took hours, but it really was only about 30 minutes. I was still able to shower, make breakfast, make her lunch. Okay, so the mascara had to go on in the car at the stoplight.

But it was worth the extra few minutes to not fight and have both of us start our day feeling disconnected. I know without a doubt that it would have taken longer and been so exhausting if I would have tried to force her through yelling, demanding, and throwing out consequences that I know would be hard to keep.

How did it all work out? As she got out of the car to walk into school, she kissed me goodbye and cheerfully said “Have a good day, mom!”

Be Empowered,

P.S. There is no “perfect way” to parent that can make this happen. And, there’s no amount of pushing, pleading, bribing, forcing, or threatening that will get me this outcome, either. Bottom line, I have to be authentically confident, clear, and calm. It’s not always easy to do, and that’s where the WAVE™ comes in. Just a great foundational tool I can count on to help me through these kinds of challenges!
“It takes longer to argue or force than it does to connect with your child and find an empowered resolution.” 
Kim Griffith, Parent Empowerment Coach

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Was Almost a Helicopter Mom!

My daughter loves animals and decided to sign-up for a spring break camp at the Dallas Zoo.  She spent some intense, focused time creating a journal and wrote about how excited and a little scared she was to go.  Wow… she is going to camp without knowing anyone. My little daughter is growing up!
We arrived early (which is rare for us) and found the Camp Advisor. After a brief conversation, I kissed my child goodbye.  I started to drive away when something told me to wait and watch.  I could feel my stomach turn!  What was happening?  She usually connects with people right away – usually having no problem finding her place.  Not this time!  She quietly looked around as the boys were wrestling and the girls were looking at a bug.  She wandered over to a patch of grass next to the outdoor classrooms and sat down by herself!  I was feeling nervous for her.

I waited and waited – surely someone will notice that she is struggling!  No – everyone was in their own world and walked right passed her.  My nausea tripled and I wanted to throw-up!  Here goes the voice inside my head, “I should have put her in the older camp …these kids are too young.”  Then it happened; I couldn’t help myself and started to get out of my car to go rescue her from this horrible situation!

I abruptly stopped. I asked myself what is really going on here?  Is this her experience, or was it my own when I was a child?  Immediately, a picture flashed through my mind of me at school when I was a little girl.  I was feeling left out and nobody noticed.  Tears came to my eyes, as I watched my daughter in this very moment sitting on the grass looking through her bag.  I took a deep breath and allowed myself to feel my own struggle.

I knew it was important that I let her have her own experience.  I couldn’t solve this for her, and instead I envisioned her having a wonderful time with the animals and easily talking with the other kids.  And that is what I did for the next few minutes.  I would love to report that all of a sudden some little girl came over and started talking to her, but that didn’t happen.  The Camp Advisor motioned for them to form a line.  My daughter stood up from her grassy spot and simply walked over and found her place in line behind a red-headed spunky fellow and began walking toward the entrance of the Zoo.

As I drive away, I am now curious about her day and feeling very interested in hearing her side of the story when I pick her up!

Finding my trust,

P.S.  When I picked her up, she jumped in the car and said, I want to come back tomorrow!  And mom, when you dropped me off, I almost started crying.  I wanted you so bad!  But then I found a friend and things got a lot better.”

I gave my child a chance to feel uncomfortable and find her own way.  Instead of being a helicopter mom flying in to “rescue” her from an uncomfortable situation, I understood that my discomfort was simply my own unfinished business, needing to be felt and acknowledged.

NOTE: I am writing this as my daughter is feeling a little left-out at school, and I thought of this story from last spring. I shared it with her and we were both reminded that things do work themselves out and she will find her way ... no helicopter needed, thank you very much!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Parenting "Challenge-Buster" for You or A Friend

I want to help make 2013 a year of less stress and more ease for you and your child by getting you started on the right foot ... if that sounds good to you, please keep reading!
If you’ve had your fill of parenting advice books and feel you’ve tried everything but haven’t been able to help your child feel calmer, more respectful, and more self-responsible, and you’d like to turn this around once and for all, then I’d like to help you.
For a limited time I am offering a special zero-cost “Parenting Challenge-Buster” Coaching Session.

During this powerful 30 minute one-on-one coaching session, we’ll work together to ...
  • Create a crystal-clear vision of what you really want for you and your child.
  • Uncover hidden forces that may be sabotaging your efforts to feel respected and listened to.
  • Outline a "next-step" action plan for solving your biggest parenting challenge, once and for all!
You’ll leave this session feeling renewed, re-energized, and inspired to be the parent you really want to be and see your kids be the happy, healthy, successful, respectful and fun kids that they are at their core!

To claim your “Parenting Challenge-Buster” Coaching Session, simply send me an email and answer the following questions: