This may be stopping you from becoming a calmer, happier parent.
Is something stopping you from being a present, mindful parent?
Every week I get emails in my inbox from parents struggling.
Struggling to overcome anger.
Struggling to feel confident.
Struggling to get along with their in-laws.
Struggling to get their husband on board.
Struggling with disrespectful kids.
Struggling with self doubt.
Struggling with daily overwhelm.
Struggling with change. Change is hard for everyone. Overcoming anger, feeling confident in your decisions, getting others on board with your parenting, raising respectful kids and simplifying your life all require some changes to occur.
Often there is something blocking us even when we know some change must happen. Doing the same thing over and over again isn't working...something has to give. But, how?
When we feel overwhelmed change can seem damn near impossible!
Why is making small changes so hard though? Especially when we KNOW deep down that those changes will bring countless benefits and happiness?
The answer is simple.
We are too busy holding onto stories. Stories are our comforter on a cold night. We hold on tight and in return they protect us.
When the brain feels confused or uncertain it searches for the easiest, simplest way to feel better... More often than not it creates a story. These are usually stories of blame. Blame has a way of redistributing feelings of guilt or shame and we naturally accept stories of blame in our unconscious, desperate attempt to feel less overwhelmed.
Stories can include:
My child behaves this way because she doesn't like me.
My husband won't listen because he thinks I'm incapable.
I keep making mistakes because I'm inadequate.
That person hurt my feelings because they are not a good person.
I can't be a confident parent until there is more peace in my life.
There is too much to learn I can't possibly take this on!
My children are disrespectful because they are spoiled.
My in-laws ignore me because they think they can parent better than I can.
Stories. We all have them.
We all use stories as a safety net. Once we create the ideal story we tell ourselves over and over again until we believe it. And while this may be licking our wounds in the moment story telling prevents us from being truly present and practicing a growth mindset. Story telling comes from a fixed mindset. The mindset that says, "There is nothing to learn here! Avoid this at all cost."
Avoid trying again.
Avoid forgiving people.
Avoid meaningful conversations.
Avoid listening to your children.
Avoid your in-laws!
Avoid self care.
Avoidance is safer. Avoidance feels better than change. Because change means a lot of hard work.
Here's the thing, we can't stop the mind from creating these stories. That's its job! But, we can practice being present. We CAN choose what we listen to and what we let go.
Try this: think of a time where you felt overwhelmed, anxious, angry, worried etc. What was happening? What story comes to mind as you visualise the event? Your stories are always just below the surface and find their way through quickly when we practice visualisation.
Stories are what keep us reliving the emotion. Emotions have a way of interrupting our progress. They keep us in a cycle. "This event doesn't feel good. This story must be true. I'll avoid this so I don't feel discomfort." and on and on it goes.
Event > Feeling (Story) > Avoid.
So, how do we break the cycle? How do we make decisions that are uncomfortable? How can we change?
The first step is by being fully present. Stories have a way of pulling us in away from the present and into the cycle. Being fully present can awaken our positive, growth mindset.
"What is happening right now?"
"What can I see?"
"What sounds can I hear?"
Then catch yourself:
"What am I thinking about?"
"Are my thoughts true?"
"Are they helpful?"
"What is one thing I can do right now?"
Amazingly our feelings follow our action but it's those feelings that so often keep us from moving! Taking one step forward can make all the difference.
In my programs I help families find those steps forward. It may be a daily practice of self awareness, a lesson in their child's behaviour development or an evidence based tool for confident, mindful discipline. When we know better we do better and finding those steps forward becomes a clearer path.
But, it all starts with you. It's okay to have stories. It's natural and necessary. We can learn how to navigate through the stories and choose which ones benefit us and which ones to let go. The most powerful way to move forward is replacing false stories with true stories.
Learn WHY anger is a natural response to your child's difficult behaviours.
Learn WHY you sometimes question your parenting.
Learn WHY children behave disrespectfully.
Learn HOW to be calmer when the kids are acting out.
Learn HOW to get other on board your parenting regime.
Learn HOW to raise confident, respectful kids.
These true stories replace guilt and shame around discipline and parenting. We replace them with mindful, intentional daily decisions. Are you ready to choose helpful stories? Let’s chat!
About the author
Stephanie Wicker is a child behaviour expert, parenting educator, counsellor and speaker - who has successfully guided families through early childhood for over 15 years. Through her experience with private consultancy, as a preschool teacher and special needs therapist - she has worked across the many facets of early childhood behaviour.
Stephanie's evidence-based programs are grounded in behaviour science and her passion for Relational Frame Theory (RFT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and developmental psychology all play a big role in her programs.
Stephanie’s experience covers early intensive behaviour intervention programs for children with special needs and for families newly diagnosed. She hosts live training events all over Australia, where she shares her practical solutions and language techniques, along with providing private, in-home therapy sessions for those seeking more personalised support.
Through her company, Simply Kids she provides family resources such as digital books and educational activities, designed to keep behaviour simple.
"By helping parents place emphasis on connection, empowerment and encouragement, I believe that all children have the ability to reach their full potential." - Stephanie Wicker