Before you begin supporting your worried child through an anxious moment or trying to set a limit with your defiant little one carve out a few minutes ahead of time to prepare yourself. Use these coping ideas to get ready for tough parenting moments.
Physical strategies for anxious symptoms:
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Grounding with Senses
Cognitive strategies for boosting confidence:
- Positive Self Talk
If you forget to do these things ahead of time you can use some of these same strategies during the moment to regulate yourself as well.
If you know you are doing something that worries your child, check your own thinking and scan your body for anxious symptoms. If you’re worried, try to get your own worry under control first. Use a couple of the ideas above. If you believe your child can do it (whatever “it” is) they will be more likely to be able to!
When it comes to defiant child behaviors it is often said that you should handle the problem behaviors right when they occur, however it is also important to tackle discipline calmly. If you start to find yourself dysregulated it is okay to step away and regulate yourself, and then step back into the situation on more even ground. When parents and caregivers take time to regulate in the moment it is great role modeling for your kids. It shows them that you are doing what you hope they will do too!
If your lacking confidence despite some of these ideas, it is also okay to “fake it till you make it” so to speak. Meaning even if you’re stressed and worried on the inside try to exude a calm air of confidence on the outside. Take some deep breaths and talk yourself through it and try to give off a calm, cool and collected vibe. If you do this, it’s important to make sure you have a time and a place to deal with those anxious feelings of your own outside of those moments. Rely on your support network, exercise or journal (or any other heathy outlets that work for you) to make sure you are taking care of your own emotions.
Remember to take it easy on yourself. Parenting is hard work under the best circumstances. When you are supporting kids with emotional or behavioral struggles it requires extra time and attention. Give yourself credit for all the hard work you do everyday to keep your kids, yourself and your family happy and healthy.