I just encountered a woman at the supermarket, trying to do a large weekly shop with two toddlers, who seems to be managing well and it reminded me of the importance of being PROACTIVE in our parenting.
Steve Covey outlines this concept in his 7 Habit’s book outlines the Habit 1: Be Proactive
Be Proactive, or you will be REACTIVE in your Parenting
There is an EVENT and each parent brings their RESPONSE to it and depending on their response, that determines the OUTCOME, in other words E+R=O. In the case of the supermarket, the mum actively engaged her children in looking for items, allowed them some feeedom to move and was positive and encouraging in her responses. She was relaxed and patient, accepting help from the checkout girl who helped her to pack bags and was allowing time recognising that it could be stressful or an enjoyable activity.
Reduce Parental Stress
I know that there are times we are under stress, however if we are always rushing an racing, we need ask the question ‘How is it that I am always under pressure?’ Do I need to learn to say No, to know my limits and stay within them, to ask for help or seek some much needed support, to learn to do less and take more care of self.
Allow adequate time & keep children engaged for less trying times
Allowing adequate time to do something reduces the stress on parents and for me to reduced considerable stress when I learned to : Go to bed ;earlier, get up earlier, allow extra time to deal more calmly with last minute emergencies that inevitably happen with small children and plan on keeping them busy, engaged and occupied as bored children can be very trying !
When you change your Parenting Responses, you can improve your Parenting Outcomes
If you don’t like your OUTCOMES, instead of blaming the EVENT (the child spilled the milk and I lose it), you can change your RESPONSE (‘Ann; that was a silly thing to do, get a cloth and we’ll mop it up). Being PROACTIVE may even mean I think ahead and keep milk in a sturdy jug in the fridge for easy poring for small hands. In other words, between whatever happens to you and your response, there is a space. In that space is the freedom for you to choose you own response. You can choose to breathe deeply, count to 10, leave the room for a moment to calm down & ask your partner/husband to take over. I find when I take an action for myself; then i don’t take an action against the other person.
Hitting your PAUSE button means you respond better to your children
Choose your response today – and if you forget – that’s okay too – just apologise as you are human; and when we have time to reflect many of us would do things differently. That’s where the PAUSE button comes in, if you want to be more PROACTIVE instead of being REACTIVE, hit your PAUSE button so you get to choose your RESPONSE, which is usually a better one.
Observe your parenting – much conflict is from the parent being overstressed
Observe yourself today and you will respond better – and take care of yourself, so you can take care of everything and everyone else.