Being calm and modeling that for our children will do more for them than any class at school or any extra-curricular activity. Being calm shows children and teens a way to approach problems, a way to carry an inner confidence and the strength that we need to get through life. What a wonderful start to give children and teenagers!
Many parents ask me how can I parent from a place of calm? And I ask them, what prevents you from doing that? Sometimes the answer is MY CHILDREN! LOL. With that in mind, I would like to share with you some of the ways I help myself come from a calmer place.
- Understand developmental stages – This might be the number one thing to help you realize that “this is a stage, this too shall pass” and “I can help guide, but it will most likely work out!” Understanding developmental stages makes you feel less stressed, and more connected to your child. It is much easier to connect and have empathy if you know this is a normal developmental stage.
- Let logical consequences prevail. I see too many parents bailing their children out of small things that really their older children need to fail and learn from that failure. One prime example is homework and projects, where the child procrastinates and waits until the night before it is due and then is screaming for help to get it done. Failure, and the ability to know that one can come back from failure and know one can triumph is a far bigger lesson than whatever the project was. Let them fail! Making restitution is an important part of logical consequences, no matter what the age of the child.
- Get the energy out. Many parents say their children prevent them from being calm and my guess is most of the time the children just have too much energy. Get the energy out! Be active with them, and most of all, get rid of the screens. The screens do nothing to get energy out and to help everyone be calm. Which leads to…
- Be outside. Most things are calmer outside. Especially if you have children under the age of 14, you should be outside every afternoon in some form of unstructured play. Teens need this too, but the reality is many teens do have commitments at that point and cannot be outside every afternoon like that. However, do make it a priority for those under 14. You will never, ever get those under 14 years back.
- Limit activities outside the home and plan for rest and downtime. Do not go out every day, even if it is fun things! Be home! A child and teen needs to know that the home is more than a launching pad to get to a class or activity, and that being home can be fulfilling too.
- Understand that energetic and calm are not contradictory. You can have and be both. This was important for me personally to understand when I looked at all those soft-spoken, quiet Waldorf teachers. I am energetic and dynamic. I like to work and play hard, and it was super important for me to understand being energetic wasn’t a minus and calm is carried in your heart. Being a calm parent could mean you are quiet and soft-spoken but it could also mean you are energetic and fun.
- Have a plan for inner growth and development. This is another complete game-changer. If you profess to follow a religious or spiritual path, and yet invest no time in that at all each day, then you aren’t growing toward compassion, calmness, and all the things you profess to be important. The inner path sets the inner stage for calmness. It can take as little as ten minutes a day, but DO SOMETHING.
- Have something outside of your children as they get older. As children grow, you do hit a point where you have time for some of your own interests or pursuits or to have a date night out or whatever it is that it time without your children. However, the caveat is that no matter how many children you have, they will fill your 100 percent UNLESS you really put the effort into saying, no, this is my time. I find this is especially important to do this with the early teen group who want to be driven a lot of places. I am here for more than just driving and sitting and waiting. Please show your children there is more to the world than just them.
- Know your limits and what you need for self-care! This is the most important one. If you are absolutely empty, then you cannot fulfill being calm. Self-care means different things to different people, so figure out what makes things nurturing for you.
How do you come from a place of calm?