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When You Live With Kids And Want To Be A Good Role Model
A big thank you to Dr. Laura for sharing her ideas on how to be a good role model in front of the kids. Especially in times of stress, or a relationship disagreement that the kids are inadvertently watching.
Here are some ideas worth thinking about;
When you or your partner start to get irritated, that's your cue to do exactly what you would hope to do if you were irritated with your child – Stop, Drop and Breathe! That's your pause button. It gives you a chance to notice that you're moving into fight, flight or freeze, and your partner is starting to look like the enemy. Remind yourself that you love your partner and you can work this out. It's not an emergency.
If you can both keep your equilibrium to discuss the issue, go ahead. Your kids will benefit from watching you:
- Acknowledge the issue. “Hmm…I get stressed out when we're late going someplace. I wish we could leave the house on time.”
- Listen to your partner's upset. Breathe. Bite your tongue. You'll get a chance to express your view. Everyone has a valid perspective and needs to feel heard.
- Empathize with your partner's view. “It sounds like you think I'm the one making us late. I hear you were in the car waiting for me and the kids. That must have been frustrating for you, watching it get later and later and we didn't come out of the house.”
- Express your view without blaming or attacking. “I was frustrated, too. I had to help the kids get their shoes on, plus wrap the pie to take with us, plus get myself ready. I would have loved to have help getting all that ready, and I would have gotten to the car sooner.”
- Be sure to acknowledge your contribution to the problem. “You're so right that I didn't start getting ready in time. The time just got away from me this afternoon. I know that didn't help matters.”
- Resist “piling on” like “I do all the work around here…If you just helped once in a while, things would work better.” Deal only with the issue at hand at this moment.
- If one of you starts blaming, that's a sign that you need more safety. Stop and restore safety to the discussion. “This is upsetting for both of us. But we love each other and we can work this out.”
- Agree on a solution for the future. “Let's agree that we'll always set a timer half an hour before we have to leave the house and then we'll all work together to get ready to go. If we're ready early, we can play a quick game of tag in the yard once we load the car.” It helps to write your solution down and post it, so you can implement it and keep refining it.
That evening after the kids are in bed, listen to each other. Express your upset by talking about what you feel, and what you need, without attacking your partner: “Getting the kids ready and out of the house in the morning always feels stressful and overwhelming to me…I would like to brainstorm about how we can make the whole thing easier…right now I feel very alone with it, like I have to be the one to make it all happen…I need your help….I would love to feel like we are equal partners in this.”
Resist trying to “win.” Remember that “expressing anger” by attacking the other person shuts down the safety, and therefore the chances of a successful resolution. Instead, notice the feelings in your body, and breathe through them, without giving in to your desire to attack. No, you're not being less “authentic.” What's authentic is the tears and fears under the anger. If you can express your hurt and fear, the anger will melt away. If you really want to work things out, research shows that the best way to do it is to do a lot of listening, and to express what you need without judging or criticizing your partner.
For more wonderful advice and ideas, check out the original source to this article at Ahaparenting.com
With all hard fought battles, everyone in the family can get a little weary and sometimes when a child hears an argument the night before. It's important that they get to see the resolution.According to research, kids learn valuable lessons about working through conflicts constructively.
Make sure you explain to your kids the next morning that the argument from the previous day had been resolved.