Welcome back, we’re picking backup on our series, Discovering our Patience after taking a break to talk about Corona, Fear and Our Kids.
Over the last couple of weeks we’ve talked about triggers and rounding our personality type. I can’t understate how important it is to tackle our triggers for our lives, relationships and families. Addressing them will bring freedom; we won’t have to be self-controlled all the time, which is really exhausting. If you missed these blogs I encourage you to go back and read them.
Short Circuit Reactions Today
Meanwhile you may need some things to do that will help short circuit reactions. This is why we are discussing how we Empower our patients today. I found a good article in my research entitled: 10 Tips for Becoming a More Patient Parent. It had a number of tips we can implement today with our kids.
I’ve combined this with our research and experience tied to our faith and created a list of things we can tackle now while we work on the longer term projects of deprogramming our emotional triggers and adjusting the rough edges of our personality type.
One of the tips was take a mommy time out. The article states “taking a break isn’t just for children who need a little time to cool down and regroup, they are also for parents.” Revive family changed the whole concept of timeouts and how they’re used in our influential parenting program based on the communication issues we saw in homes especially as kids grew older.
Take Strategic Timeouts
We look at timeouts from a completely different perspective. We see timeouts as a positive, proactive thing, not something we use to send our kids to a corner when they’re misbehaving. Timeouts can become a proactive way to protect ourselves and our kids from unintentional harm. We recommend families sit down and talk about implementing a timeout strategy. These timeouts can be triggered by saying or calling a timeout with a hand gesture or some other word like easy button. Some families that have been through our Influential Parenting Academy even adopt humorous phrases to use to call a timeout.
Timeouts can be called by parents or kids. They provide a way to honor and protect each other. When someone begins to feel frustrated, threatened, hurt, or they’re sensing they might be triggered, they call a timeout. Our kids may call a timeout because they’re about to lose it or because they see frustration in us. We can do the same. Anyone can use a timeout phrase or gesture to end the interaction at that point before damage is done.
Time to Reflect with Questions To Ask Ourselves
The agreement that families need to put in place prior to implementing this strategy is to agree that all will take a 30 – 60 minute break and then come back to continue the conversation. In the interim everyone stops to reflect on:
- How am I feeling?
- What was going on?
- What’s the best way to handle this conversation strategically like the Good Shepherd would?
- What are some questions we can ask to understand the other person?
- What’s going on with the other person?
This will help everyone learn to communicate in a positive way around issues rather than simply charge forward wounding each other. Taking a timeout and giving our kids permission to call timeouts in a proactive way is essential because it allows us to stop, reflect, process, learn, come back, and develop better communication. We learn patience as we process situations, wait to resolve them and consider others’ perspectives.
When a timeout is called the conversation ends. Everyone asks themselves a couple of key questions.
- Why was I becoming frustrated, upset, hurt, or fearful?
- How is the other person viewing this situation?
- What feelings arose within me?
- Were they coming from this specific interaction or emotional triggers from my past?
- How can I share these feelings in a non-threatening non-attacking way?
Start by Asking Questions
Before getting together, write down questions you can ask those involved in order to understand their feelings and perspectives. Then come back to the conversation and work to understand each others’ feelings. When I help families do this, I always see light bulbs go on. That is how you’re feeling? This is why you react? It literally destroys the negative ways they have come to see each other. It brings about better understanding, more compassion and closer relationships. As you practice this It will radically change the way you resolve conflicts in your home.
Invest in the Relationship
Another tip suggested was spending one on one time with each child every day. Spending 10 minutes with each of your children every day will help you stay connected and will feed their sense of belonging and significance. This is something I radically changed with my kids as I did the research. As my focus went from expectations, performance and behavior to relationship, I realized I needed to spend far more time with my kids. I found this time had so many benefits, not just for the relationship, but also for my kids’ desire to listen as well as my patience.
When children feel they’re getting our attention, they don’t need to compete with each other. It increases their desire to listen and their respect for us. So when we’re investing this time with our kids, we’re really putting relational deposits into their emotional piggy banks which makes them feel more secure. I’ve also found that spending time doing fun things with our kids is when they tend to open up. We come to better understand them which helps us believe in them and trust them more and can totally change the dynamic of our relationship.
Spending time with them also gives us relational capital that we can leverage when we don’t have time to dig into something to find the root of an issue in our kids’ lives. If the relationship is going well, we can ask them just to go with the flow and trust us they will, as opposed to pushing back.
Kids who feel close to their parents will have a greater desire to help and please rather than a sense of obligation that often gets groans, moans, delays or pushback. Time spent with your kids individually each day can really help you better understand each other, improve your relationships, and that will result in more patience with each other.
Change Up Your Voice and Approach
Another suggestions from the article that I’ve seen work is changing your voice. What does that mean? It means literally changing your voice. There are times when my kids got in conflicts with each other where I’d walk into the room and whisper or say nothing at all and just by standing there silently, they got silent quickly. Or if I whispered, they quieted down quickly to listen to what I was saying. We can get into a routine of handling everything the same way which can cause our kids to tune us out especially if the route is one of frustration, displeasure or negativity. When an issue breaks out or something isn’t going the way you want it to go, step back, think creatively, change your voice and have fun with it.
Find Your Inner Child
The article states the next tip this way, “live in the child ego state more often.” It talks about what percentages of time we operate in: adult ego state being 80 to 90% of the time versus our kids who live in a child ego state 100% of the time. In a child ego state we are fun, playful, joking or goofing around; we have fun and connect with our kids on their level.
I don’t call this a child ego state, but rather our inner child, that fun, playful, joyous side that is in each of us. We find it harder to live there because we have to work to access it as parents with our busy, pressure filled lives. Given the world and our focus on success it’s easy to get locked into an adult mindset that consumes us and causes us to put more pressure on our kids which makes it more difficult to connect with them.
We can worry, we can live in fear and that’s not what God desires, is it? Right now more than ever, we need to step back, step out of the seriousness and step into trusting that God has our back. We need to allow ourselves to be a child of God and play like a child and have fun with our kids. This is so important with the Covid19 going on because it has been proven in psychological research that fear can be transmitted to our kids even when we’re doing a great job of trying to cover it up.
Another tip from the article is to adjust our busy schedules, which perhaps Covid 19 is doing for us now. If it is, the question is how are we using the extra time? Are we building relationships, opening up deeper communication and having fun with our kids or simply distracting ourselves on our phones?
Adjusting our busy schedules and taking time to yourself is so important as a parent, especially for moms. When I did the research for the Mama Bear series, it was glaring that moms put in the equivalent of two and a half full time jobs each week. It’s no wonder they’re tired. It’s no wonder they’re on edge which doesn’t help their patience at all.
Dad’s Let’s Free Up Time For Our Wives
So dads, this is where we need to step in and help our moms get breaks. We need to make sure that we’re doing our own self-care activities so that we’re not on edge, that we’re not exhausted. This may mean we must cut out some of the activities. It may mean we need to radically change our schedules and prioritize time with our kids.
At the beginning of the blog we talked about what a huge difference it makes by how we handle our voice in times when we might be on the verge of losing our patience. If we’re consistently a bit frustrated, a bit harsh, a bit directive, or a bit lecturing, our kids learn to tune us out very quickly. Our negative approach leaves our kids feeling they are not accepted, loved, listened to or understood. So when we think about our voice, we need to think about not just the volume or the pitch. We need to consider our intonation as well. Often just our tone of voice can cause our kids to become defensive because they know the tone and that we’re unhappy with them. When they get defensive, that will obviously play into our ability to maintain our patience.
Our Body Language Can Push Away or Elicit Cooperation
We also need to think about our body language because nonverbal communication can be as much as 80 to 90% of our communication. If we come in quickly, if we come in with an intense or strong body posture, our kids will pick up on that. It will automatically move them towards being defensive. And while I know it’s not fun, sometimes we need to stop when we’re getting frustrated and we’re communicating in a frustrated way and go look at ourselves in a mirror. I’ve found many times when I’m working with families, parents don’t recognize how their nonverbal is coming across and how quickly that’s triggering their kids. Getting them to see it, whether through a video or looking in the mirror, can really make them stop in their tracks.
They go, “Holy cow,” I had no idea I was looking or coming across that way nonverbally. They start to understand that this is why their kids are reacting and defensive. They begin to see why their kids are not opening up or lying to them, because it bothers them and pushes them away. Just like us, kids hate being wrong. They will naturally want to avoid it or defend themselves if approached in a strong or accusatory manner. It’s the self preservation instinct that helps the human race survive. So they start doing things like lying to avoid negative interactions with us.
It can Be Fun to Mix Things Up
I’ve had so much fun messing with this at times where my kids have been caught. I’ll go, Hey, Pinocchio, how’s it going today? How many inches did your nose just grow? And I normally get a smile or a laugh out of that. There are so many different ways to approach problems, but it means we’ve got to learn to be emotionally mature with our own responses, which is why we talked about triggers in the last blog.
Discipline is a Postive Word! ….. What?
This is essential because I found that discipline is a positive word in Biblical times not a negative one like today. This perspective of discipline can lead to some of the best, deepest, most positive interactions where we end up feeling closer to each other. That is because we’re not punishing with discipline, we’re teaching and training, which is the true definition. In the old Testament and biblical times, discipline was teaching, training, and upbringing. It didn’t mean punishment.
Punishment puts us in a negative almost impatient mindset. So when you think about the different things that are going on with your kids, the things that frustrate you, begin to make some plans even today about different voices and strategies you can use. Mix it up, keep them off guard, keep them off balance. It will be a lot more fun for you and trust me, it’ll work a lot better with them and they’ll draw closer to you if you change your approach.
I’ll never forget the time my kids were yelling and screaming at each other upstairs and I was preparing for my very first sermon. When I went upstairs there was water and soap everywhere and I didn’t say a word to them. I came in and cleaned up the water and the soap, hung up the towels, turned around, walked out. My daughter who could never admit she was wrong, followed me down the stairs as I was getting ready to start practicing for the sermon again and said, “Dad, I think I set a bad example for Paul.”
I went in there and didn’t say a word and they quickly became silent and just watched me clean it all up. That gave them time to process and the Holy spirit time to work in their hearts. That she followed me downstairs and admitted she was wrong just blew me away. It caused me to have to rewrite the opening to my sermon because that story was just so apropos for what I was talking about the next day. And in some ways, this ties to the other topic we talked about right at the end before the break in the first segment of the program. And that was living more like a child, living in that playful, joyful, um, humorous, uh, relaxed, peaceful place that kids tend to live in it way more than we do as adults. Finding this place in the midst of trials or challenges or consistent issues with a child in one area can be really strategic.
It’s Not That Serious
We don’t have to take the failure of our kids so seriously. It’s going to happen. We’re imperfect this side of heaven. So why do we expect our kids to be perfect? Why do we expect them to do well and behave well all the time?
We need to change our mindset and understand they are going to fail. We need to find ways to have some fun and discover how we are going to learn and teach through this? We’ve found that punishment and consequences aren’t causing them to learn. They get so focused on the punishment, consequences, frustration and hurt with us that they’re not really learning. So this whole child state can be really fun to play with when it comes to discipline, like the whole Pinocchio comment that I made earlier and have used that on and off with my kids for many years. When I adjust my view of our kids’ bad behavior, it really helps with my patience. If I expect them to fail, if I’m not upset or hurt by their failure and I don’t allow it to reflect on me personally, which I shouldn’t, I can have a lot of fun with it.
Take on Jesus Perspective
I try to take on the perspective I see Jesus having with all the people who were struggling, failing, and hurting. I don’t see him getting harsh with the woman at the well or getting negative or lecturing the rich young ruler. I don’t see a negative view of failure or sin in Jesus. I see Him draw closer to those who are struggling, reaching out to them with sensitivity and care, even protecting them from the consequences. So in these situations with our kids, we need to adopt Jesus’ mindset and say, wow, when my kid fails, it’s time to draw close. It’s time to put my arm around them and say, “Hey, how are you feeling about this? How are you really doing?”
Would you like my help? One of my favorite things to do with my kids is to kind of laugh and say, “How did you get yourself into the middle of this one?” And they answer, “I have no clue.” “Let’s sit down and talk about it. How were you feeling before this happened? Did something trigger that caused you to react this way? What do you think caused you to make this decision that’s not consistent with who you are or where you’re going in life?” These more lighthearted approaches are really helpful. If you want to watch a movie and try to get the mindset I’m talking about for handling failure, watch Chris Pratt in the first guardians of the galaxy movie. When he’s going to break in and get that first infinity stone, he’s dancing and singing while the animals are trying to attack him and knock him out of the way. We all love that scene.
Its All About Our Perspective
So so much of patience comes down to our perspective and how we view failure. So stop and consider how do I view failure? How do I view my kid’s failure? Do you view failure as negative and allow it to weigh you down and beat yourself up? If so we’ll tend to be hard on those around us and on our kids when they fail. If we’ve learned to accept God’s grace and forgiveness for past, present, and future sins, we can be joyful in the midst of failure and turn to God and learn from it. We can reflect on it and see growth and change happen in our hearts. We will also find it easier to take that type of approach with our kids.
So how are you viewing yourself? How are you handling your own failures? Sometimes we’ve got to stop and address that and our perspective of failure before we’re able to really change the way we interact with our kids around their failures. We need a self-check before we’re going to have that amazing patience of God, that joyful spirit that drew people to him, even though they knew he stood for right and truth and was perfect. They didn’t avoid him because they never sensed they would be condemned or judged or that he would be frustrated or angry with them. He wanted to be there to help them and that’s where we need to be for our kids when they’re struggling, when they fail. This will immensely enhance our patience. There are many things we can do to empower our patience and that is my hope for you today.
If you haven’t heard the entire series, please go back because they all work together and help us realize that patience or impatience is really on our side of the ledger. The second program dealt with our emotional triggers and how they override our best desires, our intentions and our self control. We addressed what we can do to see healing deep within and see those past issues erased. The next program was on personality type and how it plays into patience and what we can do to actually see our personality type change.
Our relationships with our kids are just too important to leave to chance.