If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join’em! by Angelique Miller

One parent asked a key question - Can I play too?

I talk a lot about mindfulness. I consider it one of the most important tools in the parenting toolbox. But I know that for many it is just a word and the application of it is sometimes sketchy. I love hearing about concrete examples of what it looks like, how to use it, and what you can expect. Angelique Miller wrote us with one great example of just how powerful this tool can be. Try it for yourself and let us know what you come up with.

It’s really just about staying regulated, staying present, and making real connection with my kids. Only then can I truly influence them positively. But sometimes those words sound so lofty and vague, right?

Yeah, but what does that mean?? What does that look like? Here’s a great example that I found worked for me.

Our two kids sometimes get really dysregulated together. It looks like they’re playing but its way too rough. If we leave them alone, it usually escalates to one of them getting hurt and/or something broken, which fans the dysregulation flames when one of them feels like a bad kid. My husband and I usually get scared when we see this rough playing and want to break it up as quickly as possible. There’s no way our kids will go sit in a chair or anything else we might ask when they get like that, which is part of why we get so scared. It’s a seemingly out-of-control situation and we have zero influence—or at least that’s how it feels.

Feeling fairly regulated recently when that happened, I let go of the instant gotta-break-it-up feeling and casually strolled in, waiting for something brilliant to come to me. Although I wasn’t consciously planning it, I was attempting to feel present. Well, it worked because I stood there looking at them wrestling in the bunk bed and the kids, expecting me to get upset, were kind of shocked to hear me say, “Hey, can I play, too?” After a half-second pause, in stereo they replied, “SURE!” and their angry demeanor changed instantly to joy. I don’t know why, but I just really wasn’t expecting that response. I was expecting something with expletives... But anyway, I didn’t have to exert myself physically to play, just played a little bit with tickling fingers, pretend, etc. and then within about ninety seconds I could sense that I was able to Angelique Millersuggest moving them onto a calmer activity (or maybe one of them spontaneously decided to go somewhere else, can’t recall since I’ve now done this “technique” several times).

Anyway, how happy I am to find this! That old panic is so instant that I sometimes forget this idea, but when I do it, it’s a great way to handle their dysregulation. Turns out they’ve been begging me to help calm them down, but I was so wrapped up in my fear that I couldn’t hear what they were really saying. -- Angelique Miller

Choose Love,

B.

You have permission to copy this and circulate to as many people as you think can benefit. Help to bring peace on earth and goodwill toward all.

Tired of  "walking on eggshells"? Sick of being a prisoner in your own home? Many of our children have great difficulty staying regulated, as do their parents. Don’t let your frustration, fear, anger and resentments ruin the peace and harmony in your family. Use the Stress Model ™ to help bring back the love that you want for your children, your spouse and for yourself. To learn more about Bryan Post and his unique love based approach to parenting challenging children, click here.

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