[headline_arial_large_centered color=”#CC0000″]Imagine if you could close your eyes for just 10 minutes and all of your stress and worries for the day would simply melt away and disappear.[/headline_arial_large_centered]
Parenting can be very stressful. The constant power struggles, arguments and conflicts end up making you feel like you are repeating yourself over and over and over again. Sometimes the behavior happens or our parenting becomes ineffective because we are so stressed out and overwhelmed and just suffer such a complete breakdown. It’s important to understand where this stress comes from. Why does it happen? We’re viewing the world through our lenses, our own eyes. We have this idea of how things should be.
For example, I asked my child to go and set the table for dinner. Five, ten minutes go by and the table is still not set. So I have this expectation of how things should be. The table should be set. But it’s not how it really is. The table is not set, and so there is this gap between my perception of how it should be and how it really is. This gap is what causes the stress. Below is a picture which illustrates this point.
We’re having this internal conflict, this battle within ourselves where we are resisting against how it should be and how it really is. Again, we can argue, we can fight, we become impatient. Or we can choose other, more effective ways to go and communicate and find out what’s going on. So much of the stress can be eliminated simply by understanding why the gap is there in the first place. Why is it not as it should be? How come it is this way?
Sometimes it might be because your child was watching TV instead of setting the table for supper. Or maybe there was another reason. And so when you are completely stressed out and overwhelmed, you’re probably not going to be thinking that rationally. One of the things that I teach you in this program is a number of stress-relieving strategies that you can do to keep yourself in that state of relaxation and calm. When you’re calm, it’s easier to think of solutions.
Conversely, when you’re stressed and overwhelmed, it’s almost impossible. Did you know there are some actual physical reasons for that? When you become emotional and get upset, your brain temporarily disconnects from the part of itself that thinks of solutions and carrying on relationships.
You’ll be able to read a lot more about it later on, but for now, understand that this is hardwired. It’s very difficult to intelligently solve a problem when you’re stressed out, overwhelmed, or in breakdown. So we have to learn how to take good care of ourselves. We have to learn how to be proactive so that we can stay calm, cool, and collected, that we manage our stress. This isn’t a one time deal either, it’s something that has to become a habit, part of your lifestyle if you will.
It’s one of the things I help coach people on, working these stress-management techniques into their lifestyle so that it’s no longer a factor. When it is no longer a factor, how much better are you going to feel? How much easier are you going to deal with problems that you might encounter?
How Parents Get Stressed Out
There are several ways that parents get themselves stressed out and have a difficult time get getting rid of that stress.
Some of the ways include:
- Repeating the same battles over and over again while somehow expecting a different result. For some of you this might sound familiar.
- Focusing their attention on changing their kids, so when the behavior happens, they focus on changing the behavior instead figuring out what they can change about themselves or the environment that will make this behavior better.
- Taking care of everyone else’s needs while completely ignoring their own. They become tired, weary, stressed out. It’s very difficult to function this way.
In my live workshops, I relate this to our cell phones. Must have a cell phone or an iPhone or a Blackberry or some sort of communication device. We text and we talk and we’re able to communicate with one another. The more we talk and the more we use it, what happens to the battery? It starts to wear down. When the battery in your phone gets low, what do you do? You plug it in, right? You plug your phone it, and it recharges the battery. If you don’t plug it in, your phone dies and you can’t talk anymore. It shuts down.
We are the same way. We have a battery inside us. We need to be constantly recharging our batteries so that we can deal with things, so that when life happens, we can handle it. But how many of us are trying to go through each day, working and taking care of our families with a dead battery? We’re not taking care of ourselves. We’re not taking care of our own needs so that we can be there for someone else.
I’ve had conversations with people saying, “Well, I would really love to take care of myself, but I’m so busy taking care of everyone else.” What if I said it to you this way: “What if you couldn’t be there 100% for someone else unless you take care of yourself first?” So when you’re in an airplane, when the stewardess is doing her whole safety spiel, who do they say to put the oxygen mask on first? Even if you’re traveling with small children, you’re supposed to put your mask on first. Why? Because if you pass out, you’re not doing your kid any favors and putting them at risk. You put your mask on first, you take care of your needs first so that way you can be in a position to take care of someone else 100%.
It’s the same thing in life. It’s the same thing at home. We need to take care of ourselves just as much as we need to take care of everyone else. When we don’t, we start to have problems. So many parents get stuck in this problem-solving mode and one of the things that can happen when you start to take this positive approach and when you start to implement the things that the Blissful Parenting program teach, is that a lot of the problems that you thought were huge, insurmountable, start to fade away. It really is that simple – when you start to really look at your problems and poke holes in them, you realize that they were not that big a deal in the first place.