Systems for calm and better parenting

by Mary Ann on August 17, 2011

angry mom picture

Without a plan its hard not to lose control

‘No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it. We need to see the world anew.’ Albert Einstein

What happens when we feels pushed, disrespected, frustrated, angry, out of control, or just plain worn out and tired? Well, many of us resort to angry words, loud voices, and doing and saying things we later regret.

This type of angry, out of control response occurs when we have no plan or system for managing, to help us respond differently. We want to have better parenting but we just go to our default setting of yelling. Remaining calm comes when we know what to do when we are angry, frustrated or afraid.

I have a friend and I am in her home every week for a few hours working. I have never heard anyone yell, ever! For a while I thought I was just there on a good day. However, I have been there often enough to know that this family communicates; they do not yell and lose control.

The other day I saw a most amazing example of what happens when parents remain calm, when they have a system for handling conflict and then teach it to their children. Here is what happened.

This family has two sons ages 9 and 5. They were in the living room playing Stratigo and I was close enough to clearly hear their

picture of disappointed kid after losing a game

Losing a game is tough especially when you want to win

conversation. The game went well for a while. However, the 5 year old couldn’t understand everything about the game and it was hard for him to win.

His older brother was patiently explaining some things to him; but he is only 9 and his desire was still to win. The five year old began to quietly complain and fuss. Notice I said he did it quietly.

Finally the nine year old said, “If you continue to fuss and have a bad attitude I can’t keep playing with you.” The fussing quietly continued. After just a couple of minutes the nine year old said, “I told you I can’t play if you continue to have a bad attitude.” He cleared up the board and put the game away. The five year olds face fell but there was no yelling or crying. About five minutes later they were both playing a different game and having a good time.

I know, I know, some of you are shaking your heads and saying ‘those kids aren’t real. Kids fight. My kids would never behave like that’. I was amazed myself. Here is another example of a parent with a plan and how  she dealt with a child’s temper tantrum.

As I said I have been in this home a lot. I can make a few guesses about how mom and dad argue with each other. I can make a few guesses about how they discipline their children and talk with them. They obviously have a system which helps them have better parenting skills and self management skills.

There is great power in remaining calm and in communicating in clear terms where we stand. Children learn what they see. You cannot teach one thing and do another. If you are having conflict in your home, if you find yourself losing control and have children that do the same, then the solution is to get mastery over yourself. You need a plan and a system to help you remain calm and parent better so that you can help your children do the same.

For calm parenting here are some of my favorite classics. Read them and then begin designing a system that works for your family.

‘Insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting the different results’ Albert Einstein.

Classic Parenting Books – The Best Parenting Books

  • Becoming a Present Parent by Mary Ann Johnson
  • Anything from the Arbinger Institute (Leadership & Self Deception; The Anatomy of Peace; The Choice; Bonds that Make Us Free)
  • The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman
  • Bringing Out the Winner in your Child by John Croyle
  • Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish (Anything by these two authors is great)
  • Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood by Jim Fay & Charles Fay (I love the Love and Logic stuff, but I don’t think it’s totally complete for my taste. The other books really add to my whole system)
  • The five Love Languages of Teenagers by Gary Chapman
  • Parenting Teens with Love and Logic by Jim Fay and Charles Fay
  • Parenting A House United by Nicholeen Peck
  • Here are two links to the best talk on family relationships that I have heard. They are by Jodie Palmer. It is free at both sites and this is worth listening to. The first site is her best presentation but the second link comes with a free parent workbook.

‘If we always do what we’ve always done, we will get what we’ve always got.’ Adam Urbanski

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