Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Being a Condition Setter
This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org as part of their #talkearly campaign.
In January, I got to hear a parenting coach named Meghan Leahy give a talk about what she does and how she helps parents. I was mildly in love with her by the end of her seminar but also a little put out because she is so much smarter, funnier, and cooler than me, while also being like me in many ways. You can find Meghan on Facebook or read her column in the Washington Post. I found her stuff to be really helpful, honest, and reassuring.
I had two big take-aways from her talk and I want to noodle them here with you. They felt really TRUE and I know when I get that spidey-sense prickly feeling of truth, I need to do something. Here they are:
As parents, we are the condition-setters. What we do is what's important. If we're stressed and anxious, our kids will be. If we try and give ourselves a break - our kids will not only do the same for us but for themselves.
We need to be there when we are there. When we're with our kids, we need to really be present. We can't be checked out and that is truly so much harder than it sounds.
I know these two things apply to me. They may in fact be my greatest parenting challenges. I know that I get stressed, anxious, and snappish and that my kids feel it and respond to it. There's a direct line that can be drawn from how calm and mindful I am to how they behave, how they treat each other, and how they handle what life is throwing at them.
The main problem I have with being truly present with my kids is technology. I know that I spend too much time on my phone, on my laptop, and messing around with social media under the guise of it being "my job" (when no sane person thinks Buzzfeed videos about kittens or Filipino food have anything to do with this blog). The bottom line is that I am not always there, even when I'm there. I need to do a better job with that.
One of the things Meghan discussed was how when we're positive and connected "condition-setters", we give our children the opportunity to feel secure. When kids feel secure, they grow from acorns into the big, strong trees they were meant to be. She also said the best way to do that is for us to RELAX and be honest. The honesty part is easy for me. The relaxing part - not so much.
We've been so over-scheduled for the past year that being relaxed hasn't just been hard, it's been impossible. I take responsibility for that. I have a bad case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), and it applies to both me and the kids. There's so many things going on, so many wonderful opportunities to do and learn cool stuff, and I worry if I don't work to make this things happen - that we will have lost out on something.
I know. I have issues.
But I'm going to approach this summer a little differently. We're going to do less. We're going to go to the pool and do crafts and read books and turn off the wifi (that last one is not for the kids - that's for me). I'm going to make slowing down a priority and set the conditions for a less stressful life for my family.
What are some of the things that you do to be a condition setter and to be there when you're there? I really want to know! Do you put your phone away when you get home from work? Do you go in a closet and count to ten when you feel like yelling at your kids? What works for you?
This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org as part of their #TalkEarly campaigns, encouraging families to talk early, talk often, and be healthy. All the opinions are my own because no one is the boss of me. I'm very, very proud to be part of the #TalkEarly blogger team this year.
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