Career & Education

Calm parenting leads to smarter kids

Sunday, July 02, 2017

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Kids can be a handful. I know! They can lead to enormous stress, especially if they know just how to “push your buttons”. They throw tantrums, they misbehave, and can have you chasing them all over the house, or restaurant, or supermarket. Such is the the frustration and exhaustion involved in child rearing

When faced with these trials, it is critical to remain unruffled and focused. That may seem like a tall order especially if your child is disobedient and defiant. Nevertheless, it is crucial that you understand that establishing and maintaining a stable and happy home environment generally translates to increased academic performance and this necessitates calm parenting.

Calm is a sense of internal composure that allows you to perform and function at your best. The most effective way to become a calm parent is to focus more on yourself rather than on the child. This means having total control over yourself. Sometimes your response to your kid's actions can be quite automatic; you can move from zero to 60 in seconds. This is where the problem lies. Recognise that you are getting angry while you are in the process and employ methods to deflect this anger. Remember that you are the adult and have control over your emotions.

Calmness is contagious and so are anxiety and anger. If you learn how to remain calm, you will create a calm family. One of the fundamental ways to ensure this is to:

SET RULES AND EXPECT RESPECT

It is necessary for kids to know that there are well-defined boundaries; otherwise, they may believe that they can do anything they please. This leads to poor behaviour, which is likely to lead to your anger.

• Explain your rules

While this does not have to be an elaborate explanation, it is helpful to briefly offer an explanation for your rules. For example, “You have to put away your toys so that we know where to find them the next time you want to play with them.”

• Offer praise

If your child followed a rule that you have been trying to implement, then celebrate this success. Make sure your child knows that you observed their obedience and that you are proud.

• Be consistent with consequences

There must be a penalty for breaking rules. Be unswerving with consequences, but remain calm during the process.

TIPS TO HELP KEEP YOU CALM

Remaining composed when your kids test you is easier said than done. Even though you may know the correct path to take, your emotional brain gets stirred up and your logical brain could disappear. This is when one reacts in an unfavourable manner which does not help the situation.

Remember that positive parenting is not about perfection. However, if your kids test you, here are some ideas that may help you to remain composed.

• Take a moment to stop and breathe

When you feel that sense of anger and annoyance coming on, pause and then breathe slowly. Take long deep breaths as you count to ten. Leave the room if necessary.

• Identify your feelings

Pause and think about your feelings. Are you feeling irritated, frustrated, overwhelmed or hurt? Name how you are feeling and think before you address your child.

• Change your point of view

If you change your thinking, you will be less angry at your child. Rather than viewing your child's behaviour as a deliberate attempt to annoy you or to anger you, try to figure out the cause of the behaviour. Empathise with your child and try to understand his or her perspective.

• Use clear, simple commands

If your child is doing something that irritates you, do not show anger. Instead, in a calm but firm voice, tell him to stop what he is doing.

• Find a common ground

This simply means to find a compromise rather than to demand that things go exactly the way you want it to go. Remember your child is a human with feelings also.

• Think positively

When your child is causing stress, try to remember their positive attributes and remind yourself that 'this too will pass'.

• Take time for yourself

Self-care is valuable time spent taking care of you. This allows you to recharge and come back stronger.

• Apologise

If you lost your temper, learn to forgive yourself and to also apologise to your child. There is nothing wrong with saying you are sorry to your child. This shows that you are human and we all make mistakes.

Dr Karla Hylton is the author of Yes! You Can Help Your Child Achieve Academic Success and Complete Chemistry for Caribbean High Schools . She operates Bio & Chem Tutoring, which specialises in secondary level biology and chemistry. Reach her at (876) 564-1347, biochemtutor100@gmail.com or khylton.com .

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