Guest Blog Post: Think Smart by Kerri Yarsley, author, The Instruction Manual for Kids-Parents Edition
It can be completely overwhelming if you let it get to you. You place a whole lot of pressure on yourself and if that’s not bad enough, you start to feel pressure from your family, your friends, and society in general. As your child grows into a toddler and pre-teen, the pressure doesn’t ease off, it just changes its guise. Concerns graduate from diaper rash and colic into tantrums, bruises, and whether your child will find the right friends.
One of the first and most important lessons I had to learn as a new mother was how to calm down and relax. I know it can be hard, but for you to be the best mother you can be, you need to be in that space as much as possible. Now, I don’t mean you just chill out, sipping wine with your feet up on the lounge, ignoring your screaming child. What I do mean is that you become aware of what is happening around you; what your environment is like, and most importantly, what you are THINKING about.
I’m sure we’ve all heard of the expression – live in the present moment. But what does that really mean? Let’s face it; we are here on the planet right now, and, if you have a heartbeat, alive. So what else do we have to do? Well, the easiest way to put it is to focus on what you’re doing right now; whatever it is you are doing. So, if you are cleaning up a scraped and bleeding knee, or helping your child with their homework, focus on it completely by actually seeing it. Don’t just go into automatic pilot with your hands, while your mind is miles away.
By focusing on the job at hand, you can make good choices based on your assessment of the situation, your current knowledge or skills, and your ability to quickly formulate a plan of action to resolve the issue.
So, next time you are sitting down with your little one, observe all the little things that happen. As an example, can you remember back when you used to feed your baby? Did you notice all the signs to tell you he was aware and learning? When you laid him in your arms, he already knew which way to turn his head so he could latch on. His little mouth was already open, expectant and waiting for the nipple or teat to enter. And after he had started to feed and the sucking action brought on the “let-down” reflex, he almost choked on the flow of milk that poured down his throat. Then, after his initial hunger waned, he lay there contented and relaxed. His eyes were closed and his tongue made little sucking movements, pausing every now and again as he drifted in and out of sleep. You gazed down at this precious little one in your arms. He was completely relaxed, trusting, and unconditional. So perfect; from his eyes, ears, and mouth, all the way down to the tips of his tiny fingers and toes. You closed your eyes, took a deep breath, and felt his warmth.
Now your child is years older and is already quite independent from you. He has an opinion and is influenced by other people. His friends, his teachers, and other family members all provide a wonderful palette of experiences and knowledge from which he can draw. Encourage his freedom of expression so he can expand his mind. At the same time remind him to always show and feel respect for everything around him. This may be by showing respect for family members by always saying “Please” and “Thank you” at the appropriate times. The good manners you teach to your child from the very beginning allow you to stay relaxed and calm whether your child is at home or elsewhere. You know he will behave well because he does it naturally at home. And you are his best teacher!
Whether you know it or not, your child is watching and absorbing everything you do. This is why it is so important for you to remain calm and relaxed as much as possible. You know he will push your buttons, but these are times where the best lessons are learned. You need to show strength of character under stress and stay focused on resolving the problem, rather than affixing blame for it. We can say such hurtful things if we let ourselves react to some situations. Once they are said, they cannot be unsaid. They will come back to haunt us and can be used to manipulate us in the future. It is far better to recognize our current mind-set, take a deep breath, and think about the words that should come out of our mouths. Focus on what has gone wrong; not on your bruised ego. And remember, it’s okay for you to admit to your child that you’re not happy with their behavior because it has hurt your feelings. Let them recognize that they have done something to upset you. Angry responses just make a child scared of you. Calm, but saddened or quizzical responses allow for a sharing of emotions and a new learning experience.
What you need to know is that you can manifest this mind-set anytime you want to. One of the easiest and quickest ways to calm yourself is to take a few long, deep breaths. Close your eyes, relax your neck and shoulders, breathe in for four seconds, breathe out for 6 seconds, and do this action twice, you will cause a physiological reaction in your body that slows your heart rate and immediately calms your body. When your body is calm, then your mind can also start to calm down and de-stress.
I’m not saying it’s always easy or at the right time or place, but it is possible for everyone who makes that choice. You just need to realize it is possible, decide you want to do so, and then do it.
The choice is entirely up to you.
Kerri Yarsley is the author of the new parenting guide “The Instruction Manual for Kids-Parent’s Edition.” Over the span of six years Kerri Yarsley and her husband had four children, who are all following their dreams and contributing to society in their own unique way. Yarsley has a love of learning and keeping active as she trains and teaches kids and their parents Taekwondo. Yarsley and her husband are still actively involved in the corporate world with their Business Solutions for IT (information technology) and Empower Change Consulting companies in Gold Coast, Australia. For more information on her new guide, visit http://instructionmanual4kids.com.