Parents’ Night Out!!! Keeping your cool as a parent: The STOP Technique
Are your responsibilities bleaching the fun out of parenting?
Are you too bogged down with work and household chores or too stressed out with power struggles to actually enjoy your children?
Here’s our double dipping solution: Use a parenting workshop as an excuse for an evening out! Have fun while improving your parenting skills! Make it a triple dip and grab dinner out too! (We all need to eat!)
Cara and I are all about creating a safe, fun, interactive learning opportunity!
Power struggles are everywhere in families and the workplace. Our focus will be on parenting, but all of the tools we discuss to diffuse power struggles will apply in all settings. The first area of discussion and practice will be for parents to keep their cool, rather than escalating and erupting along with the kids. A good place to start! Right?!!!
How do you calm, “regulate” yourself when you feel your breath shallow and fast, your heart racing toward recklessness, you chest tight and blood pressure increasing as if your blood vessels will explode, your jaw tightening and fists clenching so that you can barely hold them back. Well if you are that far gone, it will be very difficult to keep your cool until you increase awareness of these bodily changes and learn and practice some skills for self-soothing, early enough to shift gears before you are careening out of control.
We need to take a step back before we even start. We all know we need to calm down in order to respond intentionally, positively, and productively with our kids. But how?
The STOP technique is helpful to do just that: STOP before reacting and making the situation worse. Often doing nothing is better than doing something that you will regret and have to go back and fix after the fact. When the heat is up and you are about to meltdown:
1. Step back (literally).
2. Take a breath. Breathing into the belly slowly and evenly for three full breaths is a good place to start. (We’ll provide more breathing tips in our parenting playgroups, as well as future blogs.)
3. Observe yourself and the situation.
4. Plan an intentional response rather than reacting. (Act rather than react. Make an intentional choice.)
Although this technique sounds simple, it is not in the heat of the moment. In order to be able to use this technique when you need it most, you must practice it when you are calm and in control. When our bodies are stirred up, stopping, pausing, even just slowing down, can allow for an intentional, positive, productive response. But it does take practice to calm the mind and body in the midst of swirling emotions and sensations that press us toward impulsive reactions. We will be teaching and practicing many wonderful tricks for keeping cool, as a first step in preventing power struggles! Come practice with us!!!