This is a common question from parents in private practice. It might not be surprising that we may be shouting even more in Lockdown. So here are some compassionate focused ideas to help you now.
Is it okay to be angry and start shouting!?
We are all hardwired to express, anger, joy, disgust fear, distress, and of course love. This means we are born to feel all of them! It indicates you are human and realizing this, you can be self-compassionate and stop blaming yourself.
What is Self-Compassion?
We all go through life suffering. During the lockdown, many of us will be in varying states of suffering. Compassion is a natural response to suffering. However, it is not self-pity ( aka poor me). It’s showing ourselves warmth and concern, just like you would for someone else, we are often so much kinder to our friends than ourselves. Parenting is challenging at the best of times, extreme self-care is warranted now and It does not mean you are selfish.
Taking Responsibility for our Actions
It’s right to compassionate and show your humanity with those ” hot feelings” however, we do need to take responsibility for the behaviour. Remember the behaviour is not the whole of you, nevertheless, take yourself away from the situation if the shouting escalates. Discover an alternative mechanism to regulate and then return to your child, say sorry and you may have to give them a logical consequence. Occasionally, your children trigger a hot button or pain body, this means that we will react more than the situation may justify.
What might be an example of a “hot button” or “pain body”?
It’s safe to say that parenting is a deeply emotional experience. We can have feelings of love, joy, worry, compassion, and more. However, we can also suffer from feelings of stress, fear, disgust and shame. This might be very different from the caring parent construct in your mind. I work with many parents who’ve experienced unmanageable stress early in life and a difficult relationship with their parents. This impacts our amygdala ( the threat response system) and sometimes we react to a threat when there isn’t one, and take it very personally.
Hot Button Ideas triggers
- Your child may not listen to you ( Were you seen, attended to emotionally as a child?)
- You feel constantly overwhelmed by your child ( You felt engulfed by one of your parents, they soaked you with their emotions)
- Your child may reject you ( Did one of your parents invalidate you or where negative feelings, especially anger not allowed?)
- Your child may mock you (One our parents may have been controlling or sibling bullying occurred and minimized?)
What you can do to help to regulate the “shouting”
- If you feel that your child is triggering you more you would like, and is impacting on your relationship, then seek help from someone like me.
- Bring the feelings into awareness and give it a name ( it’s not the whole of you). Moreover, inform your child that you will move away and return when you are calm. Discipline is far more effective when we keep shouting and anger out of the relationship.
- Try not to take it personally, they are responding from their amygdala too and lockdown is strange and scary for all of us.
- Tell yourself that this moment will pass and take a deep breath. Everything passes in life.
- Ask your partner to support you, and stay away from social media. Believe me, there are no perfect parents, there are only real ones!
- Have clear expectations, boundaries, and family rules. Then everyone knows where they are.
- Ensure you have enough sleep! It is just as important as diet and exercise.
- When you have a positive interaction or feeling, breathe it in. It can be anything, a flower, your child saying something nice to you, some nice food. When you have a negative moment, bring the positivity into your mind.
- Ensure you dedicate “special time” with your children. During the lockdown, the shape of the day and week has completely changed forms, so quality time may be more important than the quantity we spend. Click on the video below:
Lockdown is new, uncertain, and with no end in sight. Therefore it is not surprising and normal we are scared and threatened. Ensure that each day consists of a balance of Dr Dan Siegel’s mind platter. He suggests you have:
Seven daily essential mental activities to optimize brain matter and create well-being
|Focus Time||When we closely focus on tasks in a goal-oriented way, we take on challenges that make deep connections in the brain.|
|Play Time||When we allow ourselves to be spontaneous or creative, playfully enjoying novel experiences, we help make new connections in the brain.|
|Connecting Time||When we connect with other people, ideally in person, and when we take time to appreciate our connection to the natural world around us, we activate and reinforce the brain’s relational circuitry.|
|Physical Time||When we move our bodies, aerobically if medically possible, we strengthen the brain in many ways.|
|Time In||When we quietly reflect internally, focusing on sensations, images, feelings and thoughts, we help to better integrate the brain.|
|Down Time||When we are non-focused, without any specific goal, and let our mind wander or simply relax, we help the brain recharge.|
|Sleep Time||When we give the brain the rest it needs, we consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day.|
The only way through this is to be kind, loving, compassionate, and clear. If you are interested in learning more about the brain, yours, and your children, I am delighted to offer a free workshop below: https://bristolchildparentsupport.co.uk/event/brain-changing-parenting-free-online-workshop/ and how to help your child if they are having meltdowns in lockdown https://bristolchildparentsupport.co.uk/event/tantrums-meltdowns-and-anger-parenting-during-hot-moments/. I hope to see you there or contact me for a consultation. With Love Catherine, stay healthy, safe and live in love.