Many of you will have heard me recommend the tool “Acting as If” when you are struggling with your challenging child. It may be for example when you are about to blow your top that you act as if you are the Dalai Lama or someone else you admire for their poise, serenity and compassion.
This morning I acted as if I was a queen.
Getting my 10 year old son off to holiday club was a bit of a challenge this morning. I had confiscated his ipod last night for a week because he simply would not get off the darn thing and had removed the control tool (for the second time)which allows you to monitor and control what they can access and how much time they can have. It is a useful tool and I recommend it, just don’t make the mistake I made and tell them about it!
He apologised this morning to me for his anger the night before (I imagine because he thought I would then change my mind which I would not) which angered him even more. So to stop the morning turning into outright war (my son can be aggressive) , I held my ground, put on my imaginary cloak and crown and acted as if I was a queen*.
*If you are a man replace the queen with king
This queen/king is:
Someone with empathy for her subjects but who is not swayed from her decision by their empassioned pleas.
Someone who sticks with her decision when she knows it is the right one and does not engage in futile discussions which become more heated and exhausting.
Someone who will hold eye contact until it is too uncomfortable for the other person, but communicates to that other person that they have been seen and heard.
Someone who clearly knows she is in charge and has the final say
Someone who wants the best for those in her family and comes from that place rather than wanting to be controlling or overbearing
Someone who remains calm and can maintain boundaries and provide order
And guess what… it worked! He settled down, got his breakfast and went off to holiday club.
Now clearly I am not always like that. On too many occasions I have blown my top or cried at how spiteful my son is being. I have been the nagging bitch, the martyr and the sarcastic cow. None of which I am proud of and most of which I am sure to repeat on occasion when I am just too darn exhausted and wrung out.
However my goal is to get it right 80% of the time and forgive myself the 20% of the time I get it wrong. That’s a pretty good ratio of great role modelling, strong safe boundaries and stress free parenting right?!
After all, us being stressed can only add to our childrens stress. In fact a recent article in the Huffington Post, suggests that what most children angst about is that their parents are stressed out.
We owe it to ourselves and our family to reduce our stress at work and within our home to create more harmony and a great place to start with this is by writing a vision for your family and how you wish to be as a parent.
I did this and realised that I owe it to my son to restrict his screen time to enrich his life with more meaningful experiences. Having an enriching family life as part of my vision, gives me the conviction to hold my ground about restrictions to screen access, especially when I act as if I am queen.
The beauty of repeating this acting as if I'm a queen habit and similar ones is that they become second nature and become such a part of who we are, that we are no longer acting as if- we are!
Go out and have fun with trying on different hats/cloaks and crowns today. Human beings are complicated and are multi-faceted, so who are you being today?
"As a relatively experienced adopter, many years in to a stressful journey, with a complex child, living with challenging, sometimes extreme behaviour, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. What could it do for me that the other numerous training courses, variety of groups and forums have failed to achieve over the years? I wondered if the course might be geared towards prospective or new adoptive parents, rather than the more battle weary amongst us. I could not have been more wrong! "
- Gill Maddison -
Member of the International Stress Management Association
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