You might be tired, stressed, distracted and words come out... not as intended. You see the look on your child's face, wishing that you were able to rewind that moment, but the remote control for that simply isn't there.
It can feel uncomfortable, embarrassing, confusing and... wait for it... liberating.
It can be a wake up call you've been waiting for. It can help you to get off the autopilot and to choose how YOU want to be with your child.
So what's next?
Here are 3 steps that will help you to turn that opportunity into a real moment of connection:
Step 1. Take a pause, give yourself space, notice and welcome whatever is going on for you right now.
There might be a lot of thoughts rushing through your mind right now (I am a ... parent, Why can't I ..., I do this because...). If you've been through this story many MANY times and still find yourself in the exact same place - you will know exactly what I am talking about.
Try this instead:
Focus on your breath and the sensations in your body. Take a dive from your story into your body.
There is a good reason why you said what you said and your body is telling you that story. The way it knows how - through getting tighter, heaver or super active in certain areas.
Staying with the body sensations will help you arrive into the present moment - that place in which you can make your own choice about what to do next.
Step 2. Tell your child what's happening, for example: 'I am feeling really grumpy right now, I need some time for myself.'
As you do that you set your child free. It is important to remember that children are quick to make things mean about themselves - 'mummy/daddy don't look their usual self, so I must be doing something wrong.'
By being owning where you are at, you send a clear message:
'It's my stuff, it's not your stuff. I am going to look after myself now, so that you don't have too. I'm still here, I'm just going to take a bit easy. I trust you are capable enough to manage until I am ready to be present and available again'.
Do whatever you need to do to find the ground underneath your feet again: lie down on the sofa, lock yourself in the bathroom, sneak in some chocolate, call your partner/friend, read your little person a book...
Wait until you are feeling like your usual self to take the third step.
Step 3. This is the most beautiful step, where the magic of connection happens.
Ask yourself: WHAT DOES MY CHILD NEED FROM ME RIGHT NOW?
The only way you can find the answer to this question is by observing your child:
- Does she need comfort?
- Is she excited to show you her latest creation?
- Is she overwhelmed by what is happening and needs some peace and quiet?
- Would it mean a world to her if you had a tea party picnic with her?
Asking yourself this simple question and is your parenting super power.
Look for cues in the present moment.
It helps you to move away from templates, prepackaged responses, away from the habit. It helps you to go right into the heart of the moment and meet your child there. It helps you to show up in a way that means the world to your child. It is the moment when the happy memories are made.
P.s. If you would like support to implement those ideas in your day-to-day parenting – head to my calendar to book a consultation.