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Welcome back to The Unconditional Love Challenge. For those of you just joining me here is a little background on what this challenge is all about: Inspired by Dr. Laura at Aha Parenting, I have created The Unconditional Love Challenge. This is a 10 part challenge based on Dr. Laura’s series on Ten Steps to Unconditional Love. I will be posting challenges and results on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month giving you two weeks to tackle each step. You can work as quickly or as slowly as needed.
Got it? Good!
Sooooooo….how did the most recent challenge go? Anger in parenting is a tough one especially when the anger is typically triggered by our children but really has nothing at all to do with them.
I loved this challenge because it has been something that I have continued to work on. I don’t get angry per say but I am certainly known for being less than patient and having some not so gentle reactions to something Tiny did even though the action itself did not warrant me getting upset.
I have been doing two things for many months now. When I feel my temper rising or feel myself getting irritated or impatient, I take the time to tell Tiny how I am feeling. I simply state that “mama is getting frustrated and it has nothing to do with you.” Historically Tiny will tell me she loves me and “don’t worry about it mama.” That’s Tiny speak for “chill out.” And guess what – it does help me. How can you not take a deep breath and chill out when your wee one gives you such sage advice?
I have also been mastering the art of the “growl.” I warn Tiny that I need to get some bad energy out of my system and that I am going to roar and growl like an animal in the wild. She actually thinks this is funny and I try to make it as positive and light as possible whilst getting the release I need. It really does help me and Tiny has not been phased by it. Sometimes she growls with me. In fact, she has taken to growling and roaring when she gets frustrated. I like that. I like that she has an outlet she can feel good about.
I think it is so important that no matter how you release your anger that you ALWAYS check in with your child to make sure that he or she knows that they are NOT the source or the cause of your emotion. The guilt and long term repercussions of this are too horrid to allow. So reconnecting is so important.
On to Challenge # 8 – Lighten Up and Show Up.
As always, you can read Dr. Laura’s original post here.
This challenge is one that every parent needs. Period. I don’t care how perfect you are. Why do I feel that this challenge is so important? Because it addresses the idea of parenting mistakes. Along with mistakes comes that horrific mama guilt that consumes so many of us. So yes, this challenge is vital in my eyes.
From Dr. Laura: Have you made mistakes as a parent? Join the club. They aren’t mistakes if you use them to guide you toward a better way in the future. In fact, you can’t simultaneously feel bad about what you’ve done and feel good enough to do better.
Powerful stuff eh? Even more powerful is this quote:
“Understanding alone cannot prevent disrupted connections from occurring. Some will inevitably happen. The challenge we all share is to embrace our humanity with humor and patience so that we can in turn relate to our children with openness and kindness. To continually chastise ourselves for our “errors” with our children keeps us involved in our own emotional issues and out of relationship with our children..” — Daniel J. Siegel
So how can you let go of the idea of mistakes and mishaps and developer a closer, warmer connection with your child during those trying times?
Take the pressure off of yourself! Don’t worry about being perfect. Worry about genuine connection. Trust that your child will be ok even if you do have a less than stellar parenting moment. Allow yourself to move on after a sincere apology to your child. Most importantly – ENJOY your child!
Please do go read Dr. Laura’s original post as I believe that she has some really powerful suggestions as to how you can get away from the emotions surrounding parenting mistakes.
Your challenge this week is to take those moments where your parenting could have been better and give yourself permission to learn from the misstep, reconnect, move on, and simply love your child. So go – do this know and take the weight off of your heart.