You vowed this school year would be different.
You got blind-sided again when your kid became a hot mess doing homework.
You tried to help. Things got heated. You yelled. You wish you could take back the angry hurtful words.
Your kid feels like a failure at school.
You feel like a failure at parenting.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could:
- Stop reacting to your child’s behavior and become curious about what is causing it instead? Allow yourself to ask questions to understand what is getting in your kid’s way?
- See your child really does want to please you? More importantly, he wants to please himself?
- Control your emotions and filter those catastrophic thoughts of, “My kid is never gonna get through life if she can’t do this math worksheet”, that create unnecessary worry and anxiety
- Push your initial judgements aside? Eliminate any pre-misconceptions? Open yourself up to new perspectives? Hear your child needs longer to process things or learns with repetition or learns different than you?
- Learn compassion and empathy for your kids and yourself! Acknowledge how your kid is feeling so he feels understood and cared for, especially in challenging moments?
It is possible. If you use your Pause Button.
When we react in opposition to a situation it only fuels the fire. The difference between the negative reaction and the positive response is a “pause“.
Stimulus – Reaction
That little dash or the pause is our choice, to use however we want. We can choose to react in a way that makes a situation worse, or better.
It’s our choice, our freedom to do with what we want.
You’re thinking you don’t have time to pause.
The odds are against you. You’re outnumbered by your 3 kids and absent husband. There’s dinner to make, carpools to drive, laundry to fold, bills to pay, blah, blah, blah.
I’ve heard from Mom’s who work their fannies off at home and those who do the same outside of the home. You just don’t have the time or energy.
I hear you loud and clear.
Can I ask you something?
What will change if you don’t take time to pause?
………thinking, thinking, thinking…….
Everyone’s on board with pausing? Great. Come along.
Before we ever get to the “how to pause” or “what to do during pause”, we first have to condition ourselves for the pause.
Let’s say you’re going to run a marathon. You don’t just sign up and go run. You condition your body, your mind. You learn to pace yourself so you can finish the marathon. You set yourself up for success.
Conditioning yourself to pause is much the same. Your ability to pause is directly affected by your state of mind, which is directly affected by how you feel.
Use these 4 conditioning strategies every day to prepare your pause muscle.
1. Put yourself first. Taking care of “you” is the greatest gift you can give you and your family. What is it that re-centers and re-energizes you? Some ideas:
- Exercise: An hour kick-boxing class isn’t necessary. Stretch several times throughout your day. Go for a walk on your lunch hour or after dinner.
- Meditate: Again, short spurts. Find 3-5 minutes during your day to sit and pay attention to nothing but your breathing.
- Listen to a favorite song or two.
- Read just one article for 10 minutes from those magazines piling up.
A few minutes for yourself every day is critical to build a positive mindset. You can’t give your kids your best if you are not AT your best.
2. Focus! You know the hours after school you will bounce from chef to chauffeur, to sports spectator, to tutor. Don’t expect to pay the bills, take a phone call from your mother-in-law, or fold 3 loads of laundry. You don’t have to do it all at once.
What other things are you doing between 3pm and bedtime that can get done when your kids are NOT at their peek stress points?
Write them down noting a better time you will commit to tackling them.
3. Let it go! Stop being a control freak. Hey, if your kids need help with homework that’s all fine and well. Who the heck is helping you? Yes, it is ok to get help. Especially from your kids. I know what your kids say. Mine say it too. “Mom, I have so much to do. You don’t understand. I don’t have time for anything but homework.”
Kids, especially those with ADHD, need to take breaks to fend off hyper-focus, perfectionism, and frustration. Have them do 20-30 minutes of homework. Take a break to wash and snap the green beans for dinner. Go back to homework. Take a break to set the table.
After dinner, the kids do the dishes and you go for that walk! This is key…when you return, don’t critique how the dishes got done. Acknowledge the effort and say thank you! Of course, it won’t ever be as good as you do the dishes. And that is ok.
4. Weave in special one-on-one time. Every child, with ADHD or not, needs to spend time alone with each parent. It doesn’t mean being in the same room together, with you each doing your own thing. It doesn’t mean taking them out for a treat.
It means doing something you both enjoy that doesn’t cost money. Make this special time a tradition. They are predictable times of structure and connection your child comes to count on for comfort and support.
You need only 10 minutes a day for huge benefits of reducing your kids resistance to getting help with homework, negative attention-seeking behavior and whining and fussing.
It’s important to spend time just being with your kid, with no expectations, no agenda.
-Turn off the radio in the car and play 20 questions.
-Make dinner together.
-Get silly and dance to a couple favorite songs.
-Go for a walk together.
Use these 4 conditioning strategies every day to set yourself up for success when you press your pause button.
Next posts, I’ll share HOW to use your pause button to replace the after school chaos with calm.
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