Thursday, July 7, 2011

Calming the Storm

The first word in Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting (CEHP) is calmer. Calmness is something most harried parents can't even imagine, let alone bring to bear in everyday life. How is it possible to stay calm in the storm of a temper tantrum, tirade or turmoil of a tumultuous schedule? Parents are pressured by daily chores, expectations, adult concerns and the ongoing needs of their children. Yet, calm is the foundation and gift of CEHP.

Calmness comes from vision and having strategies that you know are effective. For example, I was having difficulty with yelling and talking back in my home. My teenage daughter and I were both under a lot of stress having just lost my husband, her father, to cancer. She and I would find ourselves in screaming matches. It was emotionally and physically draining and not productive at all. I was not in control of myself or my child. The cycle of yelling had to stop.

First I stopped yelling and remained calm--at least externally in the beginning. I followed the CEHP strategies. I established a new rule: no more yelling. Second, I took advantage of the eye of the storm and used descriptive praise with my daughter the minute she paused in screaming. "You've stopped yelling. Now we can talk.", I said. It took a few times for my daughter to believe that I wasn't going to yell back at her, but perseverance paid off. Yelling is a rarity in our home now. Once I had a successful experience with the CEHP skills, it was easier to remain calm and generate many more positive outcomes. Now I had strategies that work.

Having a parenting vision and the tools to achieve it makes all the difference in the world. The calm and ease result in a happier home life. I ran into a mother in a store the other day. She had attended one of my CEHP presentations a week or so prior. "Amanda,", she said, "You changed my life. I have been practicing those skills and things have been going so much smoother in the mornings. No more power struggles. No more fighting and screaming to get out the door."

"That's great!", I said.

"My children started saying "I love you, Mommy", she said.

I smiled at her happiness.

"But no!" She interrupted my response. With a touch to my arm, she leaned in a little closer and softly said, "Then they started saying, "We like you, Mommy."

She had calmed her storm.

Amanda Deverich (see profile below)
Williamsburg, VA