The other day I was talking to another mom while watching our sons play lacrosse
and we began a conversation about the various teachers and educational
experiences my kids have had so far. In particular, we discussed how my oldest son
is having his best year yet.
New to him, and pleasing to us, he is genuinely interested in his grades. He’s excited
about learning and playfully involved with his peers and their mutual social
I very much attribute these signs of growth and confidence to the environment his
teacher Ms.’s Sol provides. She does not show the kids her emotions and her
“unshakeable” steadiness provides a sense of containment and calm for all of those
around her. She is calm so the kids are calm.
When we are calm, we relax, feel free to try new things, breathe deeper and learn
with greater ease. When we are in a calm environment we have permission to look
internally for the answers; and if we struggle we feel safe asking for help. Calm is
So here it is…..
Calm is contagious. Calm parents/”teachers” raise calm children.
Until we recognize and name our own unease, excessive worry, or out of control
thinking, we will be too anxious to see our children clearly and therefore be unable
to meet their true needs.
When filled with anxiety, we worry rather than guide. We react rather than allow a
safe holding space for our children to wrestle with their own experience and
deprive them of the chance to come to their own conclusions. We rescue rather
than allow them to learn from the game of life and build confidence in their own
problem solving capabilities.
WE HALT THEIR LEARNING AND GROWTH.
So, the remedy……
How can you BE and EXUDE calm with your child?
1) Breath. Practice the art of 4x4x4 breathing. The moment you feel anxiety,
heat in your hands, an elevated heart rate or any sign of distress stop what
you are doing and breathe IN deeply to the count of 4, then breath OUT to the
count of 4 out and do it 4 times! I promise, this alone will drop you into a different space, calm your nervous system and increase your choice to choose a more thoughtful response.
2) Stay present with what is. We often love and care so much that we wish to
protect our children from struggle and disappointment. You will experience
more calm if you accept what isn’t possible and concentrate on what is
possible, reasonable and realistic for you to do for your family. A hug and
soothing words ARE possible.
3) Know what you can control. Get real about options for change. If you are
at a loss, ask a trusted friend or counsel for help. Open your mind to the
possibility of a new solution. The old way might not be the right way. Pray.
4) Never do for your children what they can do for themselves. Young
people make determinations about themselves based on how you treat them.
If you believe in them, trust them and love them, they will believe in
themselves, trust themselves and love themselves. If they are capable of
packing their bags, making a lunch, gathering their sporting equipment, LET
THEM. Teach them as required and then allow them to grow their
confidence by doing tasks they are capable of. Trust them. Teach them.
They will rise to the occasion if you let them.
5) Focus on YOURSELF! This may sound selfish and indulgent. This may
sound impossible with 3 kids, a job and a million things to do. This idea may
actually increase your anxiety. Here’s the thing, if your kids don’t see you put
yourself first, they won’t feel secure meeting their own needs in their own
life. Focusing on yourself does NOT include taking care of your
responsibilities. It IS finding a way to make YOU a priority. In doing this you
will develop yourself, your adult relationships, your goals and aspirations.
This is a gift to you and to your children.